I was not sure of the time when I awoke on the 13th September, on our trip to the opal mining town of Coober Pedy, outback South Australia.
My body alarm told me it was morning time, however after a long sleep in the silent catacomb style motel room, time was easily overlooked.
I made my way to the front of the motel room, aided by the light from the bathroom , which I had left on overnight, this was located at the entrance to the motel, the bathroom was added on to the front of the underground accommodation at a later date well after the mine was bored and turned into accommodation. There is actually a home up there with an inbuilt swimming pool, new rooms are also added by drilling, with the hope of finding opal as you go, guess it would cover the cost of the renovations.
Opening the door I was immediately struck by a very bright and hot Coober Pedy morning, a hot morning with a promise of an even hotter day in the offing.
The only sounds I heard was the rustle of a gentle breeze in the trees of the sparse trees around the motel, a few birds were raising a chorus as they audibly disputed the coolest places beneath the leaves on the trees.
We drove down the street, and the only people we saw at that hour, were a few people getting their early morning shopping at one of the two supermarkets, there were a few people waiting for the bottle shop to open, I had actually purchased beer there the day before, and its the first time I had been asked to produce my driving licence before purchase, appears its a rule in Aboriginal societies up that way, which is a sore point with me, but thats a different political subject which I wont go into here
This was to be our last day in this outback Aussie town, so we had to make the most of it, there was no way we could have experienced it all in three days.
We opted for the underground sites again, the morning visit was to be another underground church, this time it was Saint Peters and Paul’s Catholic church.
It is designed much as the previous church, the Anglican church I wrote about, it is drilled in the form of a cross, it has the Stations of the Cross mounted on the rough walls surrounding the inner church.
The Priest who administers out of Coober Pedy, has a diocese that covers thousands of miles, right up to Uluru, or Ayers Rock as its commonly known, through to Alice Springs in the centre of Australia and even further into the great Northern Territory.
The priest also services all isolated outstations and provides a great service for all occasions, births , deaths and marriages in between.
We spent a cool enjoyable time in the quietness of this underground Catholic church, it was easy to absorb the spiritual ambience of this place of worship.
This afternoon we will be exploring the underground caverns, showing details and relics from the days when this vast tract of land was actually a sea bed, and now, opal mining and archaeological work has bought its history to life.
I leave you with pictures of Coober Pedy, Saint Peter and Paul’s Catholic church.