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Welcome to White Cliffs: The outback opal mining town so hot locals live underground to escape the blistering heat and face a 300km trek to the supermarket - but they love the peace and quiet (48 Pics)

  • Photographer shows people who live in tiny outback community of White Cliffs in western NSW
  • White Cliffs is a opal mining town where people live underground to escape blistering summer temperatures
  • The closest supermarket is in Broken Hill - the people of White Cliff's rely on the local general store


  • 'Lakey' has lived in an old hut in town for four years and makes a living fossicking and painting the occasional picture


    Bush humour displayed in a street sign that leads to nowhere - the town is set on an opal field in western NSW


    Paul Wardrop fought in Afghanistan and now lives in a caravan with his assistance dog who helps him cope with his injuries

    The Fenns and McDades  families drove up from Victoria for a two week camping holiday with their children


    Adrian Portch was a policeman in Broken Hill but now mines opal at his lease on the main field - he is pictured here with his truck


    An abandoned caravan outside of town with a cheeks 'budget B&B' sign painted on the side - the caravan appears to have been left to rot

    Rick Heales has been living in town for two years with his Blue Healer 'Polly'- both pictured together in town 


    Maxine Harris has lived in White Cliffs on and off for 30 years. She has an amazing and huge dugout with a very exotic raised toilet


    Andy Zerbst (pictured) and Rosie Chandler run Toms Hut, selling collectibles and opal at the edge of town for the last four years

    Greg Cleary is a dugout dweller in town. He also works as a nurse in Wilcannia hospital 100kms away


    Paul Wardrop with his dog - he has been living in town for two years after visiting on and off for six years


    Resident Hayden Drenikow (pictured) has been opal mining in White Cliffs for 40 years and enjoys the lifestyle


    Hiedee Harris pictured with her grandmother's collection of African parrots - the birds live in a series of underground averies


    John Van Horen has lived and mined in White Cliffs for 35 years. Now retired he has great stories of making hundreds of thousands of pounds and losing it all


    Kim and Karen, pictured outside the only pub in town, have a holiday hut on the opal field and support the Rabbitohs


    The annual yabby races at the pub. The crustaceans are dumped in the middle of a marked circle and the first one to reach the perimeter is the winner. Punters bet on their chosen number and the proceeds go to charity. This year they raised $1200


    Marking the yabbies is serious business - the animals are auctioned off at the end of the day once the races have finished


    John Van Horen sits at the table of his modest home - he has spent most of his life as an opal miner and likes to keep busy


    Aerial views of White Cliffs and the thousands of holes drilled in the opal field the red dirt roads can be seen stretching into distance


    Linda George is a famous jeweller who lives and works from her dugout in White Cliffs - she is pictured here with her new dog


    The jeweller hanging out in her dugout which is decorated with antique furniture and cultural artworks


    Dick Wagner, a 20 year resident with a huge piece of opal rich rock and in his dugout at Southern Cross Opal

    'Lakey' has lived in an old hut in town for four years and makes a living fossicking and painting the occasional picture


    Andy Zerbst and Rosie Chandler run Toms Hut selling collectibles and pieces of opal at the edge of town for the last four years


    Greg Cleary on his 'Ditch Witch'. The nurse spends his weekends in White Cliffs and works in a country hospital 100kms away


    Maxine Harris has lived in White Cliffs on and off for 30 years. She has an amazing and huge dugout and a collection of African parrots


    Adrian Portch was a policeman in Broken Hill but now mines opal at his lease on the main field - he is pictured looking down one of his mine shafts


    Old vehicles left to rot on the opal fields just outside of the main town - the vehicles are missing doors, wheels and light globes


    The Underground Motel offers a bit of comfort and luxury in a barren landscape where summer days can become unbearable


    The dugouts are carved beneath the earth's surface - and are cooler than being above ground - their walls are often rough


    A full moon rises over White Cliffs - the glowing moon looks red when compared with the desert landscape


    An abandoned double-decker bus left to rot outside the town near the opal fields - there are many dumped cars in the area


    A visitor from Adelaide shows off her one legged dance moves. She jokes that a shark took her leg but it was actually a car crash


    Aerial views of White Cliffs and the thousands of holes drilled in the opal field - the dugouts are quite distinctive from the air


    Bill Hoskins is a long time resident and tour guide in White Cliffs. He settled here with his wife after retiring from the police force


    No one appears to live in this caravan anymore - but it was once inhabited by a regular visitor

    The outdoor toilet experience is one many people must come across if visiting the town - this is 'Somebody's toilet'


    Kim and Karen's holiday hut on the opal field has a flag to show their support of the Rabbitohs - the fence is to keep animals out of the vegetable garden


    A tongue in cheek sign outside a private house - No trespassing violators will be shot and survivors shot again

    Robyn Adams lives in and runs Joe's Opals at the 'Stubby House' for the last eight years and enjoys living in the outback


    Honor Taylor and Lynette Zeigler run the Outback store. It is the only shop in town - the closest supermarket is 300 kilometres away


    Animals on the road are a constant danger in the outback - this cow decided to cross near a warning sign



    An old utility truck with an oil barrel welded to the frame serves as the welcome sign to the town

    Maxine Harris has a huge home - dug in deep beneath the earth where it is cooler - her home is decked out with antique furniture and elaborate decorations


    An ancient opal blowing vehicle in operation, it sucks up the rocks rather than blowing them like the newer machines


    Ken has been mining opals in White Cliffs for the last 20 years. The 80-year-old also plays golf - he is pictured here in his golf cart


    The 'greens' have to be raked withing three rake widths around the hole after playing - this is to keep it serviceable for the next person 

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