|Location:||Coober Pedy, 850km north of Adelaide and 680km south of Alice Springs. Crowders Gully Road, Coober Pedy.|
All year daily 9-18.
Adults AUD 15.
Family (2+2) AUD 30 (online booking only).
|Guided tours:||D=35min, self guided. Written guides in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Dutch and Hebrew. Audio Guides available.|
|Address:||Old Timers Mine, Crowders Gully Road, Coober Pedy, South Australia 5723, Tel: +61-8-8672-5555. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|07-JUL-1987||mine opened to the public.|
As the name says, this is one of the early opal mines of Coober Pedy. One day it was abandoned by the owner, the shafts were closed and the mine completely forgotten. It was rediscovered, when the excavation for a new dugout hit the old shafts. This historic mine was then restored and opened as a show mine. There is some of the old equipment on display, which was used in the early years. And of course there is an opal reef.
Old Timers Mine is located on Crowders Gully, named after Charlie Crowder who was the first miner to work this claim. He worked for the New Colorado Prospecting Syndicate, which was responsible for the first discovery of opal in Coober Pedy. They searched for gold in the area, when the youngest member of the group, Willie Hutchinson discovered a piece of opal.
The story of the mine as a tourist attraction is conected with the name of Ron Gough. He visited Coober Pedy the first time in 1954 with his friend Bert Wilson whose parents owned and operated the General Store and Post Office. Bert was the first white who was born in Coober Pedy. The following year Ron purchased the business lease of the General Store with its four dugouts for 65 pounds and Ron and Bert run it together. He also mined opal in various mines, at this time all the work was done by hand with simple, often self-made tools. Then he became attracted by the growing tourist industry, and his opal shop and the mine he currently worked at was on the route of Jeff Findley's Back of Beyond Tours.
The Old Timer Mine had been originally worked by miners in the very first years. Once they closed he mine by filling the entrance shafts, left and never returned. Ron tried to make it a tourist venue, but he failed at first because of bureaucratic problems. A miner leased the claim nearby and destroyed half of the historic mine in his search for opal. But finally he partnered with Rod Wells who financed the development. Opal discoveries made during the construction work were also used to finance the tourist mine.
The self guided mine tour starts at the opal shop, which has an impressive vertical seam of opal, which was discovered while this cave was dug. Visitors take a hard hat, which must be worn in the mine. The mine shows old mining tools, pockets of opal, opalized fossils of sea shells and many displays of old time miners of the area and the techniques they used. The mine has two levels and includes original dugouts with furniture. There are even some sculptures cut into the sandstone by miners.