The first Coober Pedy opal claim (not Cooper Pedy) was pegged in 1915 and based on floaters found at the base of the escarpment, near the site of the present day town. Since that first discovery, Coober Pedy has evolved into a modern outback town.
Whilst mining the world renowned Coober Pedy opal, almost half of the population lives underground in dugouts with all the modern conveniences of above-ground homes. Spas, squash courts, swimming pools and even small cinemas are quite common in the modern-day dugouts. Precious Australian opal even runs across the walls of some dugouts and is often left exposed, creating a beautiful feature. The town of Coober Pedy has underground restaurants, churches, tourist mines and boasts the first underground motels in the world.