South Australia, Australia
Everything starts about hundred years, in 1915, when the New Colorado Gold Prospecting Syndicate, consisting of a Mr Jim Hutchison, his 14 years old son William and two other men had been unsuccessfully prospecting for gold out in the middle of nowhere in South Australia. The young Willie had been left in camp to look after their supplies but disobeyed orders and wandered off to search for water around the foothills of a nearby range. There was a degree of apprehension among the men when he failed to turn up after dark. But a short time later, he strode into camp with a grin on his face. Over his shoulder was slung a sugar bag full of opal. Now this was a very fortuitous find for the young William - not only did he come across the opal, but he also discovered something equally as precious out there - a supply of fresh water. This was on the 1st February 1915 - 8 days later, they pegged the first opal claim. The catalyst for the existence of the future town of Coober Pedy had been discovered. Word of the find spread quickly and by the middle of 1916, miners had moved to the area. Young Willie did not live long enough to see the fruits of his discovery and see what this place was going to become. He drowned five years later while driving cattle across the Georgina River, on the Birdsville Track. The town of Coober Pedy takes its name from the aborigines words « Kupa Piti » translated by « boys' water » but it is commonly assumed to mean « white man in a hole ».
* « The White Man’s Hole » is the second chapter of a project titled « Outback Mythologies » consisting of six chapters all taking place in the so-called Australian Outback. Two chapters out of six have been made so far.