Thursday, 24 June 2010

Whitefella's Burrow

Today has been the best day of touring at Cooper Pedy so far. We visited "Faye's Underground Home". "Faye" arrived in Cooper Pedy from Melbourne when she was in her late twenties and she and two other women dug out the home over the course of ten years. She lived there until she was in her late fifties and has now retired to Queensland.

The current owners are a lovely older couple who live in the house full time, and for a small entry fee ($5 each) gave us a full guided tour of the home. It was SO interesting, and far better than the "model" underground home we had seen complete with mannequins in residence. Should you find yourself in Coober Pedy, we would highly recommend you stop in and have a look for yourself. We both thoroughly enjoyed both the tour and chatting with the home's owners.

As you can see from the front entrance of the home, it is dug into the hill behind it.  Take note of the vents (pipes) sticking out of the hill.

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Audrey said...

Wow! These homes are amazing. I can't believe that entire hotels are underground. Do they have any type of cooling system underground? Air conditioning? Mom was wondering. Is it damp underground or is it too dry?

I hope the questions aren't stupid. I find it fascinating.

Sheryl said...

Not stupid at all - we found it fascinating too!

It's too dry there to be damp. They get only 30mm of rain a year! Water is very scarce and it was the only place we've stayed where there wasn't a water hookup (to fill caravan/camper water tanks) provided each site. There was a coin operated place to fill up in town (only 20 cents for about 30 liters).

There is no heating or cooling in the homes. It stays at "room temp" all year round in spite of the cold winters and brutal summers.

They are also soundproof and there are no windows which felt odd. They had touch lamps by their bed, as it's pitch black in the middle of the night.

This house did have one above ground room (with an indoor swimming pool) for use in the cooler months. We were told that the pool was originally meant to be outside but the water would evaporate very quickly and water is too precious to keep topping it up, so they added a room around it with thick shade cloth that could be pulled down over the windows to block out the summer sun.

Strange to think that millions of years ago the whole area was under water.