ABOUT: THE NEWSPAPER
The Coober Pedy Regional Times is a free independent newspaper established in 1982 by the dedicated volunteer work of everyday, local residents in the town, mostly of whom were unqualified.
Prior to 1982 Coober Pedy’s newspaper history dates back to it’s original title of “Opal Chips” which later became the “Coober Pedy Times”, then incorporated into the Coober Pedy Regional Times Association Inc.
In 2006 the Coober Pedy Regional Times was sold locally. The newspaper remains independent and in local hands maintaining the traditional signature of both title and content. The CPRT continues it’s vital function as an information source for the local area to the wider region and to travellers that target the newspaper as a valued souvenir of the town.
The Coober Pedy Regional Times has long served in the region as a “voice of the people” a regular form of communicating opinions for those in remote areas who may otherwise be overlooked, underestimated or marginalised.
Indeed the purchasing (salvaging) of the newspaper archives will give rise to the future republishing of the landmark articles contained in the those archives. This asset forms the foundation for a decade by decade encyclopedia of volumes that will serve to finance the owner’s ability to keep the newspaper free.
The history contained within the Newspaper archives was abandoned by the well-meaning (then) volunteer committee at the time of liquidation and resale by public tender in 2006. This episode in the remarkable history of the Coober Pedy Pedy Regional Times Newspaper will be reported on in depth in the future and those facts placed on the public record where they belong. In the meantime the town centenary is coming along in a few years and all energy is focused there.
During the transition from liquidation to private ownership the Coober Pedy Regional Times did not miss a beat and is experiencing a steady following both locally and overseas as an ambassador for remote tourist destinations. Whilst the outback may appear far away from the mainstream populations geographically, the remote areas are linked closely by growing digital mediums, families and other common factors.
Coober Pedy is a notable central point for many living in opal mining outposts and small communities. The town is a major hub and essential service provider, a destination and/or a stopover for those travelling throughout the Far North.
THE COOBER PEDY REGIONAL TIMES CIRCULATION:
Includes world wide internet access. It is delivered fortnightly to all local supermarkets and other local venues and road houses. The newspaper is also distributed from its base in Coober Pedy by the Outback Mail Run service and north bound buses to remote regions and stations mid and far north tourist destinations, caravan parks, bus terminals and tourist information centres.
CPRT is the only Far Northern S.A. newspaper with this far reaching, all encompassing distribution, enhancing the opportunities that advertisers and businesses present to the overall South Australian regions. Its advantage and support being in the paper’s long history.
Distribution begins in Adelaide, then ranges to major stopping points from the mid to far north including the Flinders Ranges; west to coastal towns then along the Stuart Highway incorporating Port Augusta, through to Uluru and other locations in the Northern Territory.
The Coober Pedy Regional Times is the only newspaper that delivers to the APY Lands and many other remote communities in the Far North of South Australia, serving to enhance family connections and provide other vital indigenous information and opportunities.
MAJOR DISTRIBUTION AREA
By transport to: ADELAIDE CENTRAL; Suburbs., Cavan, Bute, Pt. Pirie, Dublin, Minlaton, Pt. Broughton, Pt. Augusta, Snowtown, Pt. Wakefield, Streaky Bay, Ceduna/Thevenard, Pt. Lincoln, Woomera, Roxby Downs, Hawker, Leigh Creek, Arkaroola, Marree, Copley, Parachilna, Lyndhurst and Stations, Innamincka, Andamooka, Pimba, Glendambo, Kingoonya, Tarcoola, Cook, Prominent Hill Village, COOBER PEDY, Cadney Park and Stations, Marla, Mintabie, Oodnadatta, William Creek and Stations, Witjira – Dalhousie, All Communities: APY LANDS.
Kulgera, Erldunda, Yulara Stuart Well, ALICE SPRINGS, Aileron, Kings Canyon, Tennant Creek, sister opal fields and many others, including national and state libraries, government departments. The Coober Pedy Regional Times is carried by tourists to all parts of the country and overseas, a great many using the internet download option. It is also mailed fortnightly through Australia Post by locals and visitors.
ABOUT THE REGION:
MINING AND EXPLORATION IN THE MARKETPLACE
The Far North of South Australia is the largest statistical area in the state. It boasts a variety of mining industries such as the Allied Opal Fields of South Australia; Andamooka, Coober Pedy, Lambina and Mintabie, all of historical interest and destinations in their own right.
Opal mining families from each field have pioneered and mapped a significant presence in the far north of South Australia dating back to the turn of the century.
These opal communities have historically consisted of true, blue hard working individuals unaltered by time.
OPAL AND TOURISM:
Has been the life blood and motivation of the opal mining towns of South Australia being very reason for their existence. Andamooka, Coober Pedy, Mintabie and Lambina all have separately interesting and spectacular formations of opal.
Allan’s Rise, an old field recently revisited near Coober Pedy is producing a popular strain of dark based opal, similar to that of both Mintabie and Lightning Ridge.
The opal is hard, stable, flashy and dark based creating a lot of interest locally and overseas. There is a great deal of excitement about Allan’s Rise opal amongst miners in South Australia along with interstate and overseas buyers. Visitors to the town are now targeting this beautiful solid gem quality stone.
Coober Pedy is one of Australia’s best known opal mining areas – the Opal Capital of the World is the only major town on the Stuart Highway midway between Port Augusta and Alice Springs. It has long been a curiosity and a major tourist attraction for travellers packaging the remote regions of South Australia. Gem hunters and interstate visitors find great pleasure in taking in the Opal Trail, starting at Andamooka, Coober Pedy and onto Mintabie.
In the last decade or more, Lambina has developed as a field in its own right. There is much to see of this historical region that involves a great deal of untouched and intriguing Australian history that visitors admit is beyond the obvious. The South Australian opal fields combined, produce approximately 90% of the world’s opal. Coober Pedy hosts an annual Opal Festival each Easter, which is a major draw card to visitors nationally.
SERVICES IN COOBER PEDY
Coober Pedy is the only large town in the far north of South Australia which has a fully fledged District Council.
Many government departments have been positioned in Coober Pedy including PIRSA, Regional Development Australia, Centrelink and a variety of Health services. Australia Post in the CBD has online banking facilities and billpay etc. Other conveniences are Westpac Bank; Families SA office; Coober Pedy Area School; Child Care Services and Kindergartens, an interstate airport; bus terminal and nearby rail.
Coober Pedy also provides major allied health services for various sectors of the community, including an Aged Care Facility; a Mine Rescue/SES, Ambulance, Country Fire Service, South Australian Police Force, District Court House and many youth projects.
These services offer alternative employment opportunities to Coober Pedy residents and students leaving school. The town is relatively self sufficient with adequate services to accommodate its own growing needs.
THE ETYMOLOGY OF COOBER PEDY – by Petter Naessan
The aim of this paper is to outline and assess the diverging etymologies of ‘Coober Pedy’ in northern South Australia, in the search for original and post-contact local Indigenous significance associated with the name and the region. At the interface of contemporary Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara opinion (mainly in the Coober Pedy region, where I have conducted fieldwork since 1999) and other sources, an interesting picture emerges: in the current use by Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people as well as non-Indigenous people in Coober Pedy, the name ‘Coober Pedy’ – as ‘white man’s hole (in the ground)’ – does not seem to reflect or point toward a pre-contact Indigenous presence. read more
PRE-HISTORIC COOBER PEDY –
In recent years the Coober Pedy region has become a further curiosity as one of the most important prehistoric fossil sites in Australia.
A mutual alliance was formed between the South Australian Museum and the Umoona Opal Mine and Museum in Coober Pedy
Dr. Tim Flannery was the curator of the South Australian Museum in earlier times and conducted extensive Paleo-research work from Coober Pedy.
Paleontologist Dr. Ben Kear accompanied by taxidermist Jo Bain continued on the work from Dr. Flannery, doing field research, educating the public and setting up an Annexe to the main South Australian Museum in Coober Pedy.
The recent identification of the Umoonasaurus found in Coober Pedy and the Opallionectes from Andamooka, has shone new light on the mysterious outback of South Australia as scientists search for evoluntionary clues.
The unveiling of the Umoonasaurus at the April Opal Festival in 2007 drew large crowds to the town.
Both Umoonasaurus and Opallionectes date back 115 millions years and are believed to be the last of the prehistoric marine creatures known to survive the ice age. The two species were found by opal miners in their respective areas.
THE GREAT INLAND SEA declined and created the miracle of opal and the GREAT ARTESIAN BASIN. It is now thought that the sea itself was once a breeding ground for prehistoric marine creatures and holds vital evidence as to what created the last demise of planet earth.
There is undeniable evidence in the aftermath of the subsided seas that massive icebergs swept across South Australia many millions of years ago. The only legacy from this era is the existence of the spectacular inland salt lakes like Lake Eyre and smaller remnants, which are frequented by visitors to the area.
When the original Inland Sea subsided it created that which is known as the Great Artesian Basin.
The magnificent and vast Moon Plain is a mass of polished and other interesting rocks and are native to the Gawler and Flinders ranges.
THE COOBER PEDY GOLF COURSE:
is the only golf club in the world with reciprocal rights to the famous home of golf, St. Andrews in Scotland. In 2007, Channel 7’s Great Outdoors put to air their documentary on the history of the union. Only the hardy are prepared to put their clubs on the line at the Coober Pedy Golf course.
THE COOBER PEDY FOOTBALL CLUB:
is a member of The Woomera and District Football Association recently won the SA Great Regional Sport Award. The Coober Pedy Regional Times supports many not for profit organisations through media exposure, highlighting local, regional and multicultural activities.
THE FILM INDUSTRY
Coober Pedy has a diverse and unique terrain, subject to an atmospherically changing landscape causing its popularity as a sought after location by local and international film companies, with high profile movie credits including:
- 1973 Mad Max 3 Beyond Thunderdome – Mel Gibson, Tina Turner
- 1984 Fire In The Stone – Alan Cassell, Linda Hartley
- 1984 Where The Green Ants Dream – Bruce Spence, Ray Barrett
- 1987 Ground Zero – Jack Thompson, Donald Pleasance
- 1989 Salute of the Jugger – Rutger Hauer, Joan Chen
- 1991 Until The End Of The World – William Hurt, Ernie Dingo, Sam Neill
- 1993 Stark – Colin Friels, Ben Elton, Bill Hunter
- 1994 Priscilla Queen of the Desert – Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce
- 1999 Siam Sunset – Linus Roache, Henry Sveps
- 2000 Red Planet – Val Kilmer, Carrie-Ann Moss
- 2000 Pitch Black – Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell
- 2003 Kangaroo Jack – Dyan Cannon, Bill Hunter
- 2004 Opal Dream – Vince Colosimo, Jacqueline McKenzie released 2006
- 2005 “Stranded With Cash Peters” – USA Travel Channel
The unusual landscape lends itself as a constant port of call for local and overseas advertising campaigns and documentary filmmakers who are attracted to locations such as the nearby Painted Desert, The Breakaways, The Moon Plain and of course the Opal Fields which bear a strong resemblance to a Lunar Moonscape.