This time on Back Roads, guest presenter, artist and cook, Poh Ling Yeow, busts out of the kitchen to explore the place they call the ‘opal capital of the world’, Coober Pedy in South Australia.
For Poh, it’s a big leap from city life. There’s dust, tumbleweeds, rusty signs, and a lunar-like landscape. There are no trees and it’s no tidy town, but for the people who live in this remote outpost, they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Poh discovers that even though Coober Pedy (Antakirinja Matu Yankunytjatjara Country) is in the middle of nowhere, it attracts people from everywhere.
Poh begins her journey on a power-walk around town with the man they call ‘Jimmy the Runner’. Jimmy’s part of the Greek community here, one of the 45 different nationalities that call Coober Pedy home.
Next, Poh heads out to the Coober Pedy opal fields, the largest in the world, to meet Tanja Burk and Dale Price. They are serious miners who’ve been battling the blinding heat and dust and the gamble of opal mining for decades. They lure Poh into their mysterious dark room where they search for opal using ultraviolet light.
Other Coober Pedians, like Aboriginal Elder George Cooley, love the level of freedom.
He sings a song for Poh, about when he first caught ‘opal fever’. After a lifetime of mining George admits he’s never struck it big, but he still has a glint in his eye.
He treasures the freedom and the tolerance in Coober Pedy, and the freedom to be who you want to be.
Join Poh as she discovers a town connected by their love of opal but also each other.
Production credits: Executive Producer, Brigid Donovan. Story Producer, Louise Turley.