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Today we took a leisurely drive around the streets and opal diggings of Andamooka in outback South Australia.

Andamooka is definitely a one of a kind town. It's a working town. An opal mining town.

Andamooka is in the arid region with around 175mm or seven inches annual rainfall. Needless to say, there's not much grass in the town and the surrounding sheep and cattle grazing country is largely saltbush and other arid land plants.

View Map - Drive Around Andamooka, Outback South Australia in a larger map
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It's not hard out in this country to find a place where there's scarcely a tree to be seen to the horizon.

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Where I'm used to seeing a lawn, garden beds and shrubs in the front yard, homes here are more likely to have old, broken down mining machinery such as a bulldozer, backhoe, mobile drilling rig, blower truck or any amount of smaller equipment.

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Homes, in some cases, are squeezed between open cut mines and huge heaps of overburden, sometimes with an open shaft in the front yard, covered with a sheet of iron, an old bed or similar.

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I reckon any kids who make it through childhood and adolescence unscathed are either pretty lucky, pretty tough or destined for great things.

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But still, I find Andamooka an attractive place to be, not for any beauty, but for it's honesty and integrity as a hard place where hard people make a go of it.

The character of Andamooka really does reflect my abrasive and uncompromising personality, so from an artist's perspective, it's my second home.

Photography Notes - P&S (Point and Shoot) Camera

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I shot this series of images with a basic P&S camera, mostly held out the window of the ute and some without stopping as we slowly drove around Andamooka.

One time when we did stop, Lesley got worried because the people were looking at us through the curtains, not a good experience in a rough and tough opal mining town.

In the dusty conditions, I zoomed a couple of times so I suppose that's how I got dust on the censor. It's not possible to clean the censor on a P&S camera. Ah well, not an expensive camera!

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