Umoona Opal Mine and Museum

08 Oct

We left our tour of the underground Catholic church and emerged back into the sunlight, the temperature had risen by now and was just over 40 degrees. The afternoon of our last day in this unique opal mining town , was to be a visit to Umoona opal mine and museum.

Umoona is an original opal mine located in the centre of town, that has been converted into Coober Pedy’s largest single underground tourist attraction. Comprising an original opal mine, an underground home, an aboriginal interpretive centre, heritage museum, showroom and opal retail shop.

This was to prove to be quite an experience, not only for the opal mine itself, but the amount of ancient fossils that had been unearthed, either through the drilling processes for opal, or through archaeological excavations.

The story behind this is that approximately 150 million years ago, the ocean covered the Coober Pedy region.

After the sea water receded, there were climatic changes that caused the lowering of the underground water tables. Silica solutions were carried down to deposit in cavities, faults and fractures in the ground, and now, millions of years later, these Silica solutions have formed opal and are also home to the variety of ancient fossils.

The pictures I share give you an idea of the size of this mine, and the museum display gives a great indication of the diversity and huge creatures that inhabited that piece of Australia over 150 million years ago.

Tomorrow we depart Coober Pedy, and head to a different and beautiful part of the South Australian outback a different climate and a beautiful display of Mother natures might, the volcanic crater in the Flinders ranges, known as Wilpena Pound.



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Posted by on October 8, 2014 in Uncategorized



28 responses to “Umoona Opal Mine and Museum

  1. Sue Dreamwalker

    October 18, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Emu.. these are amazing photo… We forget how nature has changed over time.. What is now underwater was perhaps land.. And now what is desert was once the bed of a vast ocean… Love viewing those fossils.. And casting our mind back to the days when those huge creatures roamed our earth..
    I am so enjoying your Walk-about Emu… Thank you for sharing and allowing us to come with you on your journey… Loving it.. 🙂
    Thank you

    • The Emu

      October 19, 2014 at 7:03 am

      Thanks Sue, everything is changing I have noticed, but some of natures changes takes hundreds of thousands of years.
      The next post on our journey was, to me, a rather sad ending, trying to relive a past that mankind has encroached on.
      Sad in one way but a farewell to an old friend, its the post I want to use your Winds poem in, thank you for allowing me to use it Sue.

      • Sue Dreamwalker

        October 19, 2014 at 1:35 pm

        I will look forward to your post Emu. Sometimes revisiting the past can be a little sad.. But saying farewell often allows renewal to take place.. Just like the wind and the trees loosing their leaves.. All for a purpose … 🙂

        • The Emu

          October 22, 2014 at 1:30 am

          Thanks Sue, hope my last post on the journey closes our adventure aptly.
          I used your poem and believe it really was suitable for the ending,
          it summed up everything I tried to portray.
          Thanks Sue

  2. lscotthoughts

    October 17, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    This is just so cool and interesting, Ian! You are fortunate to have been able to experience this…and it’s great of you to share with us, too! I’m really enjoying this even though I show up late to the party. 🙂 Take care!

    • The Emu

      October 19, 2014 at 6:13 am

      I’m forever late on catching up on posts Lauren, we do tend to try to do the right thing
      but it does get hard at times to follow everyones writings, I enjoy your visits
      and appreciate your comments on my posts.
      I wish you much love and happiness Lauren.

  3. natswans

    October 13, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Wow those fossils are quite something , what a journey thank you for sharing your great experience Ian.
    What’s next I am wondering mmm
    Sheila 🙂

    • The Emu

      October 13, 2014 at 11:54 pm

      Hope you enjoy my latest episodes Sheila.

  4. suzjones

    October 12, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    I have been in an opal mine in Lightning Ridge but not an underground museum. Very cool indeed.

    • The Emu

      October 13, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      We didnt make it to Lightning Ridge, maybe next trip we can.
      I think Lightning Ridge was where they first found the Black Opal.

      • suzjones

        October 14, 2014 at 8:33 pm

        Yes. They call Lightning Ridge “The Home of the Black Opal” so you would be right.

        • The Emu

          October 17, 2014 at 9:07 am

          Thanks Sue, I wasnt sure, I believe there’s not much to see at lightning ridge and it is really an outback opal mining camp.
          Next trip it will be on my itinerary.

          • suzjones

            October 17, 2014 at 8:44 pm

            There is a bit of a town and the rest is just an outback mining camp. It’s interesting. I did a ‘Through my Lens’ post about it once.

          • The Emu

            October 19, 2014 at 6:09 am

            I believe it is a small town and a couple of large mounds.
            Wonder if its big enough for a pub, will make it a point on my next trip to visit it.
            It has a very colourful historical background, been mentioned in early Australian writings of discovery.

          • suzjones

            October 19, 2014 at 6:51 am

            Can’t remember if there was a pub or not but there was a pretty good RSL. 🙂

          • The Emu

            October 19, 2014 at 11:58 am

            Would have been quite a unique RSL out that way Sue, being an ex army guy I hunt down RSL’s.
            The one at Coober Pedy was a tin construction.
            The RSL members at Lightning ridge must be a few old feral diggers, escaping society, half their luck,
            wanted to do that back a few years ago myself.

          • suzjones

            October 19, 2014 at 8:45 pm

            I just looked it up and found it closed its doors a year or so ago however there is a really cool Bowl’s club there as well. lol

          • The Emu

            October 22, 2014 at 2:09 am

            I just checked it out Sue, closed down due to financial problems.
            It would have needed a good boost to income to be viable.
            I dont think it had the consistent tourism turnover to keep going.
            I will check out the Coober Pedy one to see how thats faring.

  5. giselzitrone

    October 9, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Wünsche einen schönen Donnerstag wunderschöne Bilder und altes Gemäuer Ein gutes und schönes wee-kend für dich Grüße und Freundschaft.Gislinde

    • The Emu

      October 11, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      Danke für Gislinde nach meiner australischen Outback Safari Geschichte.
      Gut, dass Sie genossen meine Beiträge hofft, dass Sie bei bester Gesundheit sind.
      Wir wünschen Ihnen viel Liebe und Glück.
      Emu aka Ian

  6. Clowie

    October 9, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Those fossils are amazing!

    • The Emu

      October 11, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      The certainly are Clowie, hard to imagine this dry arid land was once a seabed.
      Wishing you a great Sunday.
      Emu aka Ian

  7. cat

    October 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    … just so amazing, Ian … thanks again for sharing … reminds me a bit of our Drumheller fossil findings. On a different note, harvest is in full swing here … working the combines and grain trucks for long hours … saw the beautiful, “ginormous” harvest moon yesterday … today we’ll be looking for the blood moon eclipse … you too? Love, cat

    • The Emu

      October 11, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      Good morning Cat, how are you this bright sunny Sunday ?
      Sounds like you are very busy with the harvesting, can imagine you up there driving the big rigs.
      Your harvest moon coincided with our blood red moon, where the sun, moon and earth were all in alignment.
      Bit disappointing for me as I cant figure out night pics on my camera, by the time I did the bloody thing was over.
      Emu aka Ian

  8. Eddie Two Hawks

    October 8, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    You hit it again with this one. These are priceless photos Ian from your remarkable and unforgettable journey. Thanks for taking us along. enjoy your day, Eddie

    • The Emu

      October 11, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      Thanks for keeping up on my outback safari Eddie, I regret not getting more close up pictures of a lot of things.
      I hope today to post about the next leg of the journey, but life keeps interrupting with trivialities.
      Enjoy your Sunday Eddie.

  9. wonkywizard

    October 8, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Interesting writing with pictures – have never visit an opal mine.

    • The Emu

      October 11, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      Quite an experience my friend, Australia’s outback is a very interesting and unique area.
      Country and life change dramatically.


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