Australia - The Land Down Under

Heh... Coober Pedy. That's where the Hobbit opal hunters live.

Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy (/ˈkuːbər ˈpiːdi/) is a town in northern South Australia, 846 km (526 mi) north of Adelaide on the Stuart Highway. The town is sometimes referred to as the "opal capital of the world" because of the quantity of precious opals that are mined there. Coober Pedy is renowned for its below-ground dwellings, called "dugouts", which are built in this fashion due to the scorching daytime heat.

The name "Coober Pedy" is thought to derive from the Aboriginal term kupa-piti, which means "whitefellas' hole", but in 1975 the local Aboriginal people of the town adopted the name Umoona, which means "long life" and is also their name for the mulga tree.

In the 2016 Australian census, there were 1,762 people in Coober Pedy.

Coober Pedy is a small town about halfway between Adelaide and Alice Springs. It is situated on the edge of the erosional scarp of the Stuart Ranges, on beds of sandstone and siltstone 30 metres (98 ft) deep and topped with a stony, treeless desert. Very little plant life exists in town due to the region's low rainfall, high cost of water, and lack of topsoil.[citation needed]

Coober Pedy – sunset on the breakways
The harsh summer desert temperatures mean that many residents prefer to live in caves bored into the hillsides ("dugouts"). A standard three-bedroom cave home with lounge, kitchen, and bathroom can be excavated out of the rock in the hillside for a similar price to building a house on the surface. However, dugouts remain at a constant temperature, while surface buildings need air conditioning, especially during the summer months, when temperatures often exceed 40 °C (104 °F). The relative humidity rarely gets over 20% on these hot days, and the skies are usually cloud-free. The average maximum temperature is 30–32 °C (86–90 °F), but it can get quite cool in the winter.[citation needed]

The town's water supply, managed by the District Council which operates a bore and associated treatment plant, comes from the Great Artesian Basin. Problems with ageing pipes, high water losses, and lack of subsidies contribute to consumer water charges being the highest in South Australia.[11]


Opalised mollusc shell



Coober Pedy underground motel room, 2007. The inverted umbrella in the ceiling catches loose dirt that falls down the ventilation shaft from the surface.


An underground jewellery shop in Coober Pedy



Yup! That's the place! They're pretty awesome, and unusual.

Tallulah Moon's family raises money for research into hereditary spastic paraplegia type 56​

was 14 months old and beginning to walk and talk — when suddenly her laughter and dancing stopped.

Her legs stiffened, and when her previously confident stride faltered she reverted back to crawling.

Her parents were distraught and at a loss.

After a long run of tests, they got a blessing and a curse of a diagnosis, hereditary spastic paraplegia type 56 or SPG56.


Rarest of the rare​

Professor Alan Mackay-Sim and his team at Griffith University and the University of Queensland are global leaders in researching treatments for hereditary spastic paraplegia.

Sadly, for Tullulah, the outlook isn't good.

Professor Mackay-Sim said despite it being unknown how the genetic disease will manifest, the only way to know what her future will look like is to compare her to other childhood onset HSP sufferers.

"It's very unfortunate, there is just more spasticity and weakness, and quite possibly early death."

He says because of the rarity, there is no way of providing a timeline on Tallulah's decline as it varies so greatly between cases and there isn't enough information about her particular mutation.

Treatment in the works​

The hunt for a treatment is making great progress.

Professor Alan Mackay-Sim is already doing clinical trials on a treatment for SPG4, which could become a treatment for SPG56.

"Tallulah literally has a full-time job with therapy every day, struggling to keep her disease at bay.
"We loved our life in Darwin where our kids were born and our son Finn was just starting pre-school, but we moved to Queensland to give Tallulah the early intervention support she needs: intensive specialist paediatric physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy."

Professor Alan Mackay-Sim

Australian of the Year: Professor Alan Mackay-Sim linked nerve cells in your nose to spinal cord repairs​


For thousands of years it was thought impossible to regenerate the spinal cord.

Now we know it's both possible and safe — and that's thanks to the pioneering work of Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, the 2017 Australian of the Year.

It was a breakthrough described as the scientific equivalent of the moon landing.

It started with the nose​

in 2002, after many years of research, Professor Mackay-Sim took the step of being the first in the world to try this therapy.

Cells were taken from the nose, they were purified and then put back into a spinal cord to repair an injury.

He found it was indeed safe to inject the human spinal cord with olfactory ensheathing cells, and spinal repair was possible.

This was a huge moment and other research teams around the world followed his lead.

Australian of the Year, Alan MacKay Sims (Professor)
"We must, as Australians, prioritise our spending so that we can afford not only to look after the disabled and the diseased in our community, but to look at future radical treatments that will reduce future health costs," he said.

"As a nation, we must be part of this and we must invest in young scientists and give them great careers. Researchers need a long view, much longer than the political horizon."

That approach may be the only long term hope for Tallulah Moon

Sydney Opera House illuminates life and career of late NT actor David Gulpilil​

(David Dalaithngu)



One of Australia's greatest actors has illuminated what may be his grandest ever screen — the eastern Bennelong sails of the Sydney Opera House.

Key points:​

  • Sydney Opera House sails depicted moments from David Gulpilil's illustrious cinematic career
  • The tribute coincides with a posthumous honour Gulpilil is set to receive at the AACTA awards
  • The NT government says plans for a state funeral remain in negotiation

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this article contains images of a person who has died.

The late actor's family has granted permission to use his image.

A week since the death of David Gulpilil, whose family have now permitted the usage of his famous surname, the nation continues to pay tribute to the Northern Territory movie star's life and films.

The Rabbit Proof Fence, Crocodile Dundee, Australia and Storm Boy actor — a Yolngu man of the Mandhalpuyngu clan — passed away last week in regional South Australia after a lengthy battle with lung cancer.
(Sam Kerr is a female Australian Soccer Player....she Captains the Australian Matildas. She is currently playing for the Chelsea Club in England, in the UEFA Women's Champions League, Group A.)


Matildas and Chelsea star Sam Kerr has barged a pitch invader off his feet, earning herself a yellow card on the field, but praise and admiration online.

The male spectator made his way onto the field during Chelsea's Champions League game against Juventus on Thursday morning with his camera in the air taking selfies, but it was Kerr who delivered the money shot, delivering a shoulder charge that flattened him.



Onya Sam !

Samantha May Kerr is an Australian soccer player who plays as a forward for Chelsea in the FA Women's Super League and the Australia women's national soccer team, which she also captains. As of 2021, Kerr is the all-time leading scorer in the National Women's Soccer League in the United States and until the 2020–21 season, held the record in the Australian W-League.Wikipedia


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Pics from all over Australia....Birds, Animals, Sunsets etc etc...add infinitum....

Click on the first pic....and then on the arrow on the right hand side of that pic to continue on...

Australian NRL (rugby league) Club Newcastle Knights cheerleaders calling on men — and fresh dance styles — for 2022


The match-day entertainment at the Newcastle Knights home games will look very different next season, with the cheerleading squad looking to recruit men for the first time.

Key points:​

  • The Newcastle Knights cheerleaders are rebranding as a "dance squad"
  • The squad wants to make the match-day experience more inclusive
  • Some NRL clubs are moving away from cheerleading performances at games
There will still be pom-poms, but the squad's director Alex Tsambos feels it is time to open up the auditions and experiment with new dance styles for the Knights' faithful supporters.

"It's more attractive to men to come and be a part of team that has a broad range of styles, rather than sticking to one," Ms Tsambos said.

"Instead of just being pom-pom-based, we're actually bringing another two styles, hip hop and jazz."

"Why can't we just have it all? Why does it have to be so distinctively towards females?"

With the Knights also introducing a women's side into the NRLW, it marks a new chapter for gender inclusivity at the club.


Circus Oz is to close after 44 years. They irrevocably changed Australian circus, and brought it to the world

Circus Oz has been a special gift to Australia and the World. We will all miss it deeply.

A joyous celebration of the human form​

Established in December 1977, Circus Oz showed the world Australia was unique, Australians were capable of doing incredible things, and they had something special to offer on the world stage.

It brought to the stage a model of circus that didn’t exploit animals but joyously celebrated the human form.

Outstanding individuals such as Jonno Hawkes, Robyn Laurie, Tim Coldwell, Anni Davey, Sue Broadway and numerous other wonderful performers, designers, musicians and directors were part of this world.

Then there were the individuals on the administrative side, such as Linda Mickleborough, who committed herself to nurturing and supporting the company for more than 20 years.

This week, we heard Circus Oz is to be no more. Why this is happening, I am not sure. The official statement is rather full of management language that obfuscates rather than clarifies.

No doubt a backstory will come out, but nevertheless it is very sad. It suggests the funders want the company to become something that is against its very nature.

It may also be another arts victim of the past two years.


Circus Oz has celebrated Indigenous culture, and protested about the things Australia is least proud of.


Business, or creativity?​

Circus Oz was a pioneer in being acknowledged as a major player in Australian performing arts by being accepted into the hallowed framework of the Major Performing Arts Framework at the Australia Council.

This meant it joined the opera companies, ballet and theatre companies and was granted on-going guaranteed funding.

But perhaps this acceptance into the mainstream has also been its downfall. It then had to conform to management expectations, that as an entity, are foreign to its own culture and framing.


In a year where Australians sought consolation in statistical models and predictions, one thing became clear: you just can't predict the future.

And that's exactly what's on display at this year's Behind the Lines political cartoon exhibition.

The annual exhibition offers up a satirical summary of the year that was in politics with 126 different artworks from more than 40 cartoonists.

"How do we remind people that this is a fabulously safe country, we're doing well, the sun is still shining?

The bogged truck/campervan/mobile home is Out !!!

related story:

Campervan belonging to Perth family bogged in Simpson Desert recovered by outback publican​

A customised campervan belonging to a Perth family who got stuck in the Simpson Desert has finally been recovered, more than a month after the rescue.

Key points:​

  • The Zavros family was rescued from the Simpson Desert last month
  • Their campervan became bogged after torrential rain
  • It's been retrieved, but still needs to be transported to Perth

Perth couple Ori and Lindsey Zavros, and their two young children Zane and Zoe, had been enjoying an outback road trip around Australia when their campervan became bogged following torrential rain.

After spending a week stranded in the Simpson Desert -- about 150 kilometres north-east of Oodnadatta – they were winched to safety by helicopter on November 17.

But their purpose-built campervan, complete with an entertainment system, was left behind – with the ground too muddy to dislodge it.


Zoe, Ori, Lindsey and Zane Zavros in Coober Pedy spent five days stranded in their bogged campervan in the Simpson Desert.(ABC News: Haidarr Jones)

Publican dug out truck​

The campervan was recovered by Simpson Desert publican, Graham Scott, who said it took all day to dig the campervan out of the mud.

"Obviously we couldn't do anything when they first got bogged, because no-one could drive on that country, it was unpassable, so we had to wait until the country dried out," he said.

"It was fairly well embedded in mud but with a bit of digging and a bit of help from our Unimog, it popped out," he said.


Mr Scott, who runs the Mt Dare Hotel, about 10 kilometres from the Northern Territory border, said it took “about four hours” to drive to the scene.

“We spent about, let's say an hour and a half to two hours, digging it out, then pulled it out with our big recovery truck,” he said.

“It is now back at Mt Dare waiting for arrangements to be made to get it back to WA.”

Mr Zavros thanked Mr Scott for his efforts.

"Huge thank you to Graham, he's even offered to take it to Alice Springs for us. He's been really, really helpful."

'Whole life' still in van​

After spending a month living with their in-laws, the Zavros family said they had finally moved into an apartment.

"Our whole life is still in the campervan, so we need it back as soon as possible," Mr Zavros said.
help from our Unimog,

On my list of vehicles to acquire, one not yet in my collection, is the almighty Unimog. I have body preferences, but I'll work with any body style.

Edit: Fixed my quote. I blame wine for not noticing.
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The babies have emerged with the classic blue-grey bilby fur.(Supplied: Danielle Lancaster)

Christmas has come early in outback Queensland with twin bilbies emerging from their mother's pouch at Charleville's Bilby Experience.
(whats that you said?....where's Charleville ??......Have a gander below....It is located in the middle of nowhere in Queensland, Australia !

Key points:​

  • Twins have been born at the Charleville Bilby Experience for the first time
  • The native Australian animal is endangered
  • The Save the Bilby Fund says every new bilby is "a really important animal" for conservation

Information centre coordinator Danielle Lancaster said they were the first set of twins they've had in the nocturnal house, emerging from mum Ruby's pouch yesterday.

"That's been a fabulous pre-Chistmas gift here in Charleville," Ms Lancaster said.

"They just look like miniature bilbies; they're fully haired, got that striking stripe on their tail, big ears."

'R-rated show, but this is nature'

The breeding program within the nocturnal house has been labelled a success with two other male bilbies being born earlier this year.

"We have to warn people when we have the male in there, it's often an R-rated show but this is nature and wildlife and that's what happens," Ms Landcaster said.

"Obviously the bilby is still very, very threatened. It's an endangered animal and the flagship really for the endangered species of Australia."


"It's a bit like Married At First Sight," Ms Lancaster said.
"They don't really get a chance to pick who they are going to go with and that's purely to increase that genetic pool because it is so, so low."
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Qld strikes again.....

Bin day not half rubbish for Mackay man doing his neighbour a favour​


The views from the Mackay Harbour wall were anything but rubbish.(Supplied: Carl Stanojevic)

When you ask your neighbour to take your rubbish out for you, you don't expect them to literally take the bin around town.

Key points:​

  • Nick Doherty was at work when he asked his neighbour to take his bin out
  • Carl Stanojevic indeed took the bin out — to locations around Mackay
  • He says he did it to hopefully bring a smile to people's faces

But that is exactly what happened when Mackay's Nick Doherty forgot to put his bin out before work and asked neighbour Carl Stanojevic for a favour.

"I can't remember what time of the morning it was, but he asked me if I could take his bin out," Mr Stanojevic said.

He said he suggested several Mackay nightclubs and bars as potential locations to which to "take the bin out".

"He is going, 'Yep, go everywhere' … so I thought, Yep, I'd go everywhere.

"That's what you do for your neighbours."



The bin needed a coldie after a day exploring Mackay. (Supplied: Carl Stanojevic)


The duo had bin shopping together on their day off. (Supplied: Carl Stanojevic)

Mr Doherty said he was concerned by how the bin would now feel about him.

"[Carl has] definitely raised the expectations of my bin now," he said.

"I'm going to have to start taking it out regularly or it'll find another owner.


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