During the tour of Coober Pedy city, Boyd,The tour guide,drives us to the cemetery to see the beer-keg headstone of Karl Bratz, 1940-1992, dead from cancer.
"Mourners drank the keg dry at the wake while the minister manned the tap", he says. This town lives by its colourful legends, clinging to the recent days when lucky miners would shout the bar, Crocodile Harry ran amok while drunk on a mixture of Tawny Port and Bundaberg Rum, and an angry miner mistakenly blew up two Adelaide-based police patrol cars (he meant to blow up the Port Augusta police cars).
The local council's not keen to talk about explosions. A spokeswoman explains that the local golf club (will post a picture of Coober Pedy so-called "Gold Club") was burnt down by an electrical fire in the refrigeration system, and not by a disgruntled hacker. But in a town where explosives are advertised for sale outside the supermarket, locals prefer the scandalous version of the story.
Coober Pedy today is still colourful, just not so reckless. Rainbow-flecked opal seems to be on sale everywhere on the dirt main road. Locals talk of spending their days in the mine fields and their weekends noodling (sifting through mullock heaps for pieces of opal missed by the miners). In Coober Pedy, only the reckless and the brave might come out during the hot days. But only a fool would remain underground at night.
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Josh69 (1437) 2004-02-28 3:33
I'm giving you the two points just for the very informative and funny note! I think there's a lot to be said for plain, conservative gravestones. Having a beer keg on one just goes too far.
Oh the photo. It's a good documentary photo, but it is lacking in contrast and could also have done with fill in flash to show some detail on the gravesto.. err, keg.