1500 Underground Homes - Coober Pedy Australia - Cheaper And Efficient
Categories: Home Stories
"The tunneling machines leave an attractive pattern on the walls, and the sandstone itself hasbeautiful maroon and rose coloured swirls, so warm and friendly, it's absolutely gorgeous"
Coober Pedy underground homes are not what you expect. The idea of living underground usually triggers thoughts of dark, damp and cramped spaces.
It doesn't help that those underground homes are called "dugouts" in Coober Pedy... Or that people are told that they are abandoned mine shafts...
But as I said, Coober Pedy dugouts are not what you think...
You really have to go and have a look at some of those homes yourself, or stay in underground accommodation in Coober Pedy. You'll probably end up dreaming of an underground home yourself. I certainly did.
Historic Coober Pedy Dugouts
The early Coober Pedy dugouts were indeed the holes that had been dug in search for opal.
Back then opal mining was back breaking manual labour, so the earliest Coober Pedy homes were no bigger than they absolutely needed to be.
(Neither were the churches. The image shows the hand dug St Peter And Paul Catholic Underground Church in Coober Pedy.)
But people kept digging, always in search for the next big opal find, and the homes were constantly expanded.
A wonderful example of an early dugout that has been expanded into an impressive underground residence is Faye's Underground Home.
It started out over 60 years ago, as a one room dugout, used by the mail truck driver. Faye Nayler bought it of him, and that original room is now the kitchen.
The home you see today was built over ten years, by hand, using only picks and shovels, by Faye and two of her lady friends.
And they did at an excellent job.
Three bedrooms with walk in robes, living room, bar, wine cellar... What else could you want?
Billiard room and swimming pool? Believe it or not, she added it!
Faye is still alive and lives in Queensland now. Luckily there is a lovely caretaker couple living in her Coober Pedy underground home.
And even though it is a private residence visitors are welcome. Faye's is the only Coober Pedy underground home open to all visitors that is actually lived in.
(There are other, museum style display homes, for example in the Old Timers Mine.)
Of all the things I saw and did in Coober Pedy, Faye's home and her life story (you'll hear it when you visit her home) made the biggest impression on me. This one is definitely not to be missed!!
Follow the signs on the Old Water Tank Road and just knock on the door. (The entrance fee is $4.50.)