death by paper cut

{July 13, 2007}   Coober Pedy aka Tatooine

arriving at coober pedy on the last leg of the road trip was surreal to say the least, and not because its all weird and unfamiliar, but because i could fit it perfectly into the set or rather the locality of tatooine in star wars – desert planet where luke skywalker was brought up.

even the description of tatooine from the sw data bank resounds uncannily to coober pedy.

Tatooine rests in the distant Outer Rim, beyond the reaches of Republic and Imperial law. Even the Trade Federation lacked a presence on the desert planet. Poor, with very little industry to boast, Tatooine is a mixture of hard-working locals attempting to extract a living from the unforgiving environment and transients visiting the world for illegal ventures.

the opal capital of the world, coober pedy’s only industry is opal minining. the guide informed us that anyone can change their name and identity, purchase a dugout and get by with the hope of striking it rich. only individuals are allowed to get a mining license that isn’t expensive to start with. corporations are not allowed on coober pedy. putting a figure on the population of coober pedy is impossible because most people are transient.

determining where people live is also a challenge because the only sustainable environment is underground where the temperature hovers at 24 degree celcius all the time. the underground houses are called dugouts and there isn’t much town planning for dugouts to be located. we were informed that in increasing the area of their dugout, some people found themselves in their “neighbor’s” bedroom.

besides the close mirroring of the environment and shadiness of coober pedy in relation to tatooine, the line between the fact and fiction is further blurred with the abandonment of movie props along the main street of coober pedy.

this prop of a space craft was used in pitch black where it was filmed on location in coober pedy. needless to say, pitch black was pitched on another desert planet. check out a picture of the space craft in tact as used in the movie.

another 20 minutes further north of cooper pedy is were the breakways are located. the geographical phenomenon is the attraction in itself. used to be an ancient sea bed some 70 million years ago, the site is presently used for more hollywood filming including mad max beyond thunder doom.

more pictures of coober pedy


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