The First Opal Find.

The accommodation at the Oodnadatta caravan park is adequate, clean and budget friendly, with a great camp kitchen.

The road was open, albeit to 4WD vehicles.

The road was open, albeit to 4WD vehicles.

Left early next day to head back to Coober Pedy.  The Track, was dry and dusty.  A great road to give a real feel of the outback and its vast expanses.  I did consider taking the route via Painted Desert, but alas, time would not allow it.

The Stuart Range....

The Stuart Range….

.... along the Oodnadatta Track.

…. along the Oodnadatta Track.

Back in Coober Pedy it was back to the same accommodation, same service station, same supermarket. Not a great deal of choice in these outback places, and when you have had good service, why look for another.

Next morning I stopped at the cairn to commemorate the first opal found in the area – just south of the town.  (Here too there is an extensive dry roadside camping area.)

Commemorating first opal find.

Commemorating the first opal find.

“ON 1st FEBRUARY 1915, WILLIAM (WILL) HUTCHINSON FIRST DISCOVERED OPAL IN THIS AREA OF THE STUART RANGE, WHICH LED TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE COOBER PEDY OPAL FIELDS.

Will, fourteen years old at the time, was a member of a small gold prospecting party led by his father.  The party were forced to look for drinking water on that day and Will found a small waterhole as well as the opal. At the time he thought more of the water find than the opal.

The Hutchinson family never profited from their opal discovery.  Tragically, five years later when he was taking cattle to Queensland, Will drowned while swimming in the Georgina River.”