Early 1950’s most mining done by sinking shafts with pick and shovel, some explosives and using a windlass to raise buckets of mullock to the surface.

Jack and Edna Brewster opened a store (app. locality of rotunda)

1950 Bert and Ethel Wilson owned the store and above ground Post Office (app locality of Desert Cave)

   George Marks and Nan Field had a store on site of the present hotel

   Jack and Edna Brewster relocated their store to be opposite Marks and Fields.

1956 Olympic Australis, world’s largest gem opal was found by Bert Wilson and Frank Titheradge at 8 Mile

Late 1950’s Italian miners from Harts Range mica mines settle in Coober Pedy bringing compressors and               traction winches so were able to work deeper levels

1958 Christianos family arrived in Coober Pedy

1959 Lutheran Pastor Fred Traeger and wife Gertie arrive to minister to the spiritual and physical

needs of  Aboriginal people

1959 Community Hall erected. Films screened

Bill McDougall arrived


Population increased dramatically, especially toward the end of the 1960’s and demand for services increased. Water often rationed

The Yorke hoist was brought to the field by Lija Tichy and readily adopted by miners to raise mullock. The first bulldozers appeared on the field

1960  School began in Community Hall with teachers Geoff Byrnes and Anatoly Waniarcha Traeger’s first Mission Store opens

1960  Beppi Coro bought the store from George Marks and Nan Field – renamed it The Miners Store,

his brother Atillio transported supplies

1961   Faye Nayler arrived to work in Brewsters Madras Motel

1962   First School building transported to the site

1962   First Greek church constructed

1963   Faye Nayler’s Opal Cave commenced business

Warwick Goldsworthy commenced Opal Air service flying passengers and freight from  Adelaide to Andamooka   and Coober Pedy

1964   Medical Centre built, staffed by Bush Church Aid Society nurses

Italian Club opened in Jewellers Shop Field

1965  First Class Constable Eric (Dusty) Rhodes stationed at Coober Pedy

Drive-In opened

Catholic Church dugout made. Fr Frank Cresp took up residence

John and Betty Roufos took over Brewster’s shop and opened the restaurant next door

1966  The Solar distillation plant built

The Opal Motel constructed and run by Umberto Coro

1967  Catholic Church officially opened

1969  New Italian Club opened

Opal Hotel opened

Midwifery wing added to the Hospital

First Coober Pedy Race Day


The population continued to increase to an all-time high with many miners moving from Andamooka to Coober Pedy with their families

Increased mechanisation in mining with the widespread use of Calweld Drills, Blowers, Tunnelling Machines, Boggers, Self Tippers, Elevators

Opal Production soared

First Reverse Osmosis Plant installed in the early 1970’s, vital to supply potable water for the growing population

1972 New Miners Store opened

Mine Rescue Squad officially formed

First Pre-school opened in the Lutheran Church Hall

John Roufos supplied limited 240-volt town power

1973  St Johns Ambulance Brigade formed

Coober Pedy Hospital Board took over the administration of the Hospital from BCA

1973-74  Very wet years. Lake Phillipson filled with water. Yacht club formed

1975  Opal Hotel and Motel gutted by fire

1976  Butcher Fleming Jenson took out a small lease at Rock Hill Bore to run stock and for a slaughterhouse. Lease               abandoned by 1990

Community Health Centre opened

Electricity Trust of SA took over the power supply

First burial in Boot Hill Cemetery

1977  Catacombs Church excavated

1978  Dr Ernie Kamitakahara began his practice

1979  Greek Hall constructed

Coober Pedy Golf Club founded

The main stores were Coro’s Miners Store and Lucas’s Discount House