Emu Expedition Outback Australia Part 2 Continued

01 Oct

Continuing our outback adventure to Coober Pedy South Australia. First of all I was remiss in not explaining the name of Coober Pedy and how it was so named.

Coober Pedy is the white mans version of the Aboriginal name.

The name in Aboriginal language is Kupa Piti, which means White mans hole in the ground, which sounds better to me than the white mans version.

The morning of the 12th saw us awakening to a hot warm day with the potential to get really hot.

We spent the morning browsing the local opal shops and Aboriginal artefacts shops, the wallet was starting to get a little thin, we purchased some opal jewellery and then proceeded to spend a little on my interests, which is original Aboriginal crafts, I was able to purchase Aboriginal singing sticks and a bull roarer which I will elaborate on later.

Back on the main street we realised the heat had really climbed, it was now over 40 degrees, we had the choice to either go back to our underground apartment or keep playing tourist.

We opted to continue exploring, but decided to take a leaf out of the locals book, and head underground, yet still see the sites.

 photo IMG_0185_zps8993ec9f.jpg photo IMG_0187_zps3c6bba3e.jpgWe chose to visit the underground Anglican church. We were met at the door by a very amicable Minister who took the time to show us around his church.

The church is in the design of the cross and extremely unique and spiritual.

The Catacomb Underground Church was dug out in the mid 1970’s and dedicated by the Anglican Church thereafter. It is very quiet and a great place to meditate, pray, or just sit and be still.

There is a regular Sunday service with an average attendance of 40 people from nine denominations, and visitors are most welcome.

The interior of the church is natural rock, coated with sealer to stop it getting dusty. It features an actual windlass from an old mine site, and two Caldwell drill holes that open to the sky. These help give visitors an idea of what it is like from the base of the two million-odd holes around Coober Pedy.

The temperature in the church is 24 to 27 degrees Celsius all year round – which is one of the reasons why so many people live underground.

The Catacomb Church is regarded as an important part of the town’s social structure, being called upon for support in times of trouble by the town as a whole. Its weekly service regularly has around 30 adults and 20 children, with numbers increasing significantly from May-September when the tourists move northwards for the southern winter. The ministry is to the town (including the mining camps), involves patrols to the pastoral properties around Coober Pedy and extends to the remote centres of Mintabie, Marla, Oodnadatta and William Creek.

The church is so named in honour of the Catacombs of Rome. It was easy to envisage the catacombs of Rome with the earthen walls and cool air, enveloped in silence from centuries ago.

The first thing that caught my attention was four great paintings on the wall, our guide, the amicable Minister explained that they were original copies from the engravings on the walls of the catacombs in Rome.

 photo IMG_0191_zps03f65733.jpg photo IMG_0190_zps189a532f.jpg photo IMG_0189_zpsbd054add.jpg photo IMG_0188_zps235c6b50.jpgThese copies were exact right down to the colouring, as they blended into the rock walls in this church.

I leave you to enjoy two pictures of the inside of the church, one with the friendly helpful minister, who I am ashamed to admit, forgot his name.


 photo IMG_0192_zps74a6e25e.jpg photo IMG_0199_zps7ac483f6.jpg

We now move onto our second underground experience of the day.

The Coober Pedy underground book store.

Now I love books, I love book stores and old musty smelling antique book stores, but never having been in an underground book store this was a must, plus the fact that the temperature above ground had now reached 44 degrees.

We stepped down into a beautiful laid out, cool book store, there were shelves of books off all descriptions, but I noticed many were predominantly pertaining to the outback and Coober Pedy with many touching on the subject of Aboriginal history and culture.

 photo IMG_0125_zps2f5da322.jpg photo IMG_0126_zpsea68f047.jpgThe lovely lady was very friendly and informative.

I noticed that bookings could be made here for those people who wanted a ride to Oodnadatta on the mail/milk run, this trip is done a couple of times a week and is over 400 kilometres on a dirt/gravel road. Oodnadatta is an Aboriginal settlement boasting a small township, one pub, a hospital with no doctor and a roadhouse. Medical emergencies from Oodnadatta are by flying Doctor service.

Back to the book store.

 photo IMG_0124_zps4c63b471.jpg photo IMG_0127_zpsa42e72bf.jpgWe spent an enjoyable time with the lovely owner and made a few purchases and headed back to the coolness of our underground cave.

Hope you enjoy my story and pictures, to be continued.

Catch you around the traps



Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Uncategorized


27 responses to “Emu Expedition Outback Australia Part 2 Continued

  1. thecontentedcrafter

    October 5, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I wandered over from Robin’s blog and found myself deep in the red catacombs of Coober Pedy! They do look like the ones in Rome except they are not red, they were grey and very dark and I was fascinated by all the fish symbols scratched into the rock. The bookstore looks like fun. I should love to experience living underground for a day or two….. but the heat? That would be a challenge!

    • The Emu

      October 7, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      Many thanks for visiting my site and taking the time to comment.
      Glad you liked my pictures, it was certainly an experience sleeping underground for a few nights.
      The minister in the Anglican church interpreted the fish symbols for me.
      Apparently back in the biblical days when Christians were persecuted, the fish became a secret symbol of your faith.
      One Christian would draw the top half of the fish in the sand, and if the other person could complete the lower half it identified them both as Christians, I had originally thought it was to do with the Loaves and Fishes story.
      Thank you again for your interest in my site.
      Emu aka Ian

  2. natswans

    October 5, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Lovely story Ian amazing in fact especially as I knew nothing of this. The book shop looks fully equipped , wonder if you bought any books. Thank you for sharing your journey with us , it is a pleasure to read about it.
    Have a good week , look forward to the next episode.
    Sheila 🙂

    • The Emu

      October 7, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      Good evening Sheila, glad you enjoyed my underground story of Coober Pedy.
      It was quite an experience, we never bought any books at the book store but certainly bought a few local art works.
      Wishing you happiness.
      Emu aka Ian

  3. michiko

    October 5, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Dodnadatta was an Aboriginal settlement boasing a small township one pub a hospital. but no doctor but Joe told me flying Doctor service..that was very nice idea.
    I am enjoy about about very nice small township that was comeforteble place.
    Have a lovely time Ian!

    • The Emu

      October 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      Hi Michiko, yes Oodnadatta is a very small Aboriginal township.
      It has a small pub, a roadhouse and a small bush hospital.
      Patients needing a Doctor rely on the Flying Doctor service
      and if they need to go to a bigger hospital, they are flown to Port Augusta.
      It was a great experience, glad you enjoyed my post.
      Emu aka Ian

  4. Monica

    October 4, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Ian, this is an incredible journey. Thank you for sharing it with us. I love the idea of an underground and cool church with 40 people of nine denominations. That’s what a prayer service should be about! And the underground bookstore! What a great trip you have had.

    • The Emu

      October 7, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      Hi Monica, not sure if it was the coolness or solitude of the underground churches,
      but it seemed to give just a little bit more to the spirituality of the environment.

  5. giselzitrone

    October 2, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Hallo lieber Emu schöne Bilder nur von den Kirchen die Bilder sind schlimm wie kann man so etwas schönes und Malerei so verkommen lassen ist schade.Wünsche dir einen schönen Abend und ein gutes wee-kend Grüße und Freundschaft.Gislinde

    • The Emu

      October 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      Hallo Gislinde, vielen Dank für das Sehen meiner Bilder.
      Meine Bilder sind Kopien der Kupferstiche in den Katakomben in Rom.
      Leider sind die Gravuren in Rom über die Jahrhunderte verschlechtert, sind aber immer noch schön Erinnerungen eines alten Vergangenheit.
      Wir wünschen Ihnen auch mein Freund und ein schönes Wochenende.
      Emu aka Ian

  6. Sue Dreamwalker

    October 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Wonderful Ian, loved my travels with you this past half hour or so… You wouldn’t have got me out of the book store.. 🙂 And marvel at the temp’s consistency.. I would imagine outside is boiling by day freezing by night… Did you notice the fishes on the wall too in the church Ian?.. Would love to know what they said in Hieroglyphs 🙂 I enjoyed every picture and every detail Ian.. MORE PLEASE!.. Loved it..
    Have a great weekend both of you..
    Hugs Sue xox

    • The Emu

      October 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      Hi Sue, pleased you liked that post, the minister did interpret the fishes on the wall.
      Apparently back in the biblical days of the persecutions of the Christians, the fish was a secret symbol of identifying a fellow Christian, the Christian would draw the top half of the fish in the ground or soil, and if the other person recognized it, he would complete the lower half of the fish, thereby both identifying their Christianity.
      Something I never knew but now know.
      Emu aka Ian

      • Sue Dreamwalker

        October 4, 2014 at 1:49 pm

        Yes I didn’t know about that particular aspect, but I do know that the fish has been a symbol for them, It crops up in various ways… I thought it stemmed in the beginning from the ‘Fishes of Men’ 🙂

  7. gpcox

    October 2, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Very interesting, Ian. The entire experience is intriguing. I’m only jealous I’m not there! Did you buy any of the books? How about opals or Aboriginal objects?

    • The Emu

      October 2, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Good evening gp, no we didnt buy any books but did buy a few opals, until I found that if I put in a few hows digging away in the 40 degrees heat, I could unearth my own, nothing spectacular, enough to make a beautiful ring though.
      I did buy authentic Aboriginal artifacts though, not tourist stuff, got some great singing sticks and a great bullroar , which I will post about later.
      If you saw the movie Crocodile Dundee with Paul Hogan, you will see him use a bull roarer, its an Aboriginal method of communicating, much like a phone.
      Emu aka Ian

      • gpcox

        October 2, 2014 at 1:04 pm

        Okay, yes – now I know what you mean by the bull roarer, thanks for clearing that up.

        • The Emu

          October 4, 2014 at 1:27 pm

          Good evening gpcox, I will post a little later on the bull roarer, I actually can use mine as its authentic, most of them are made for tourists these days, and are primarily for show.
          I only touch true authentic Aboriginal artifacts as I have a great respect for its history.
          Emu aka Ian

  8. Sue Dreamwalker

    October 1, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Emu.. My oh my.. I am just working my way down my email list and come across this excellent post. Just as My eyes are about to close with lack of sleep at the end of a long hard day… So I promise this is the first post I will return to tomorrow..
    See you soon.. 🙂 Sue

    • The Emu

      October 1, 2014 at 11:32 pm

      Good morning Sue, hope you find time to follow my adventure from the first blog a week ago.
      We fitted a lot into seven days and 2,800 kilometres at the start of September.
      I have a few more posts to publish on this great experience.
      Hoping you are well my friend.
      Kind regards
      Emu and Ana

  9. cat

    October 1, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    … now I know why I live “underground” year round … cuz it’s either too cold or too hot up there … literally and in other aspects as well … your travel adventure blog is awesome, Ian … tears … smiles … and all that … Love, cat.

    • The Emu

      October 1, 2014 at 11:29 pm

      Good morning Cat, its really great that you are enjoying my posts on my last adventure.
      I think I could adapt to underground living quite easily, water is precious up there but there is one pub with beer
      so I would fit in okay.
      Emu aka Ian

  10. prenin

    October 1, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks for this Ian! 🙂

    Fascinating to see how people handle their environment!!!! 🙂

    God Bless!


    • The Emu

      October 1, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Good morning Prenin.
      The people in that part of Australia, certainly do know how to adapt to the environment.
      Underground living is a normal part of life up there.
      Emu aka Ian

  11. Clowie

    October 1, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Those places are fascinating. I can see the appeal of being underground with temperatures like those outside!

    • The Emu

      October 1, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      Hi Clowie, it was a really great experience and fascinating as you say.
      Underground living is an accepted part of life in that part of Australia.
      Emu aka Ian

  12. Eddie Two Hawks

    October 1, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Thank you Emu for continuing to share your outstanding adventure in such a magical place. It is amazing that life underground is the answer to the oppressive heat. Obviously these ‘man made caves’ are dry. enjoy your day, Eddie

    • The Emu

      October 1, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      Good morning Eddie, great to know my posts are giving you an insight into our beautiful country.
      The man made caves are definitely very dry, but very cool.
      Not sure if it has ever rained in that part of the country, I know water is very precious up there.
      Emu aka Ian


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