Umoona Underground Museum Coober Pedy

28 Oct

After settling in to our accommodation, we took a leisurely drive down through the main street of Coober Pedy, there is only one main street. The first point of note from the Dash cam is the Drive in on the left hand side of the road, my research came up with the following historical notes on the Drive in.

Along with opals, underground dugout living and unique mining machinery, the Drive–in is a feature of Coober Pedy. It is one of the last surviving drive-ins in Australia and one of the longest running outdoor theatres in the state. Before the drive-in was built in 1965, the only regular gathering point for people to meet and greet was at the store on truck day. Films had been shown previously in the town hall using projectors mounted on a platform hung from the rafters. Before that there had been showings of cartoons projected on the wall of Brewster’s Store. The Drive-In provided a multicultural venue for people to regularly get together to share news, gossip and entertainment. Families used to come when the gates opened prepared to have a picnic meal before the films started. Opal miners came in their work utes, initially with gelignite among their other daily mining tools. As beer drinking was allowed, the operators decided it would be prudent to ban explosives. The Progress and Miners Association built the Drive-in with money raised from donations and the raffle of a new Holden ute. Volunteer labour did the construction work. The original projection room was a two-storey corrugated iron shed with the two Tokiwa projectors up top and a canteen below. The monies raised from the films showings were a major source of revenue for the town. In 1969 the Drive-In was upgraded. The old cone speakers mounted on the projection booth, were replaced with the classic drive-in speakers that could be hung on the car window. In its heyday, 8 different films were shown each week, giving Coober Pedy the highest rate of film turnover in Australia. Television arrived in 1980 and with it came the end of the Drive In’s monopoly on cinematic entertainment. It was closed down in 1984 except for occasional special screenings. In 1986, 500 vehicles packed in to see Crocodile Dundee. But, by 1995 the drive-in was nearly derelict, the screen a favourite nesting place for pigeons.

Along the main street to the right are a number of Opal shops and souvenir shops, most displaying a wide selection of local Aboriginal art and craft work. You will notice one shop in particular dealing in didgeridoos, a lot of didgeridoos are machine worked these days, but here they are the real local item. A real digeridoo is rough on the inside, much like sandpaper, this comes about from the ants gnawing the inside of the piece of tree or branch.

Next of note on the Dash cam, is a police car with flashing lights, appears a few local Aboriginal boys and their car, had fallen foul of the law.

Just past the police we turned into the Umoona underground museum, we were only looking at the outside, on a later visit, as I have previously posted, we toured the inside, it appeared before us as a vast underground cave, as we drove up to it, on the left of the screen, you will see a large ugly looking monster. This is one of the props from the Mad Max 2 film that also starred Tina Turner.

Hope you enjoyed that narrative and short Dash cam video clip.




Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


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10 responses to “Umoona Underground Museum Coober Pedy

  1. Sue Dreamwalker

    November 26, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    seems I get memorised with your vid clips Emu.. and tell Cat lol.. We drive on the left too 🙂 😀 xxx

    • The Emu

      December 1, 2014 at 5:07 am

      The car videos do tend to become mesmerising after a while, so they are best kept short I think.
      I have learnt to try and concentrate on just recording points of interest, or anything of interest that may appear in the car cam.

  2. giselzitrone

    October 28, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Schöner Videoclip lustig und schöner Interessanter Text, mir geht es gut hoffe dir auch,ich wünsche dir noch einen wunderschönen Dienstag lieber Gruß von mir:Küsse Gislinde

    • The Emu

      October 29, 2014 at 3:26 am

      Hallo Gislinde, danke für die Wertschätzung meinem Blog und froh, dass du es genossen.
      Ich wünsche Ihnen einen schönen Tag mein Freund.

  3. prenin

    October 28, 2014 at 5:18 am

    Thanks for this Ian! 🙂

    You can almost feel the heat out there!!! 🙂

    God Bless!


    • The Emu

      October 28, 2014 at 5:47 am

      Was over 44 degrees that day Prenin, I understand now why the locals mine underground and prefer to live underground.

  4. cat

    October 28, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Still drivin on da wrong side of da road … slowly getting used to dat … 🙂 … Love, cat.

    • The Emu

      October 28, 2014 at 3:21 am

      Okay okay okay, next video clip will have no sides of the road, just to stop ya naggin.

      • cat

        October 28, 2014 at 4:09 am


        • The Emu

          October 28, 2014 at 5:48 am

          Haven’t figured out how to add funny faces yet.


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