Andamooka looks to grey nomads to fill mining ‘void’

Published: August 19, 2015

With the mining downturn hitting plenty of rural communities hard, a clear pattern is emerging with many of them looking to grey nomads to help fill the economic void.

The old opal mining town of Andamooka in outback South Australia is one such community. A lot of mining families used the place as a base while they worked 30 kilometres away at Roxby Downs. But since BHP Billiton shelved plans for a multi-billion-dollar Olympic Dam mine expansion back in 2012, things have changed. The town’s population has plummeted from 1,100 to just 450 in a few short years, and businesses are hurting.

“We’ve had the hotel close the local Mobil close which was also like our takeaway,” Rob Hancock from the Andamooka Progress Association told the ABC. “We had about $23 million worth of building projects that had been approved waiting to go, obviously they’ve all fallen into a heap.

Now Andamooka, with its rich opal mining history and historic miners’ cottages, is looking for the grey nomads to give the local economy a lift.

The campsite in the town is to be upgraded and a new café is to open, and that is just the start. To fund the town improvements, residents have started contributing $400 a year to a scheme, which effectively works like council rates.

The road to Andamooka is currently a dead end and Mr Hancock said the town wanted the State Government to build a new ring route to capture more visitors.

“It would also be a good tourist trap,” he told the ABC. “We could divert people off the main road for two or three days and significantly add to their experience of the Outback.”

  • Do you applaud Andamooka’s initiative? Have you – or will you – put the town on your Big Lap itinerary? Comment below.
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Josie Hill
6 years ago

We already have Andamooka on our bucket list. Towns like Andamooka need to do something to keep it going & I take my hat off for their enthusiasm and wish them best of luck.

Pete Gladman
6 years ago

Sound like a good idea, we will definitely be looking to go there when we pass through. I would prefer to stay somewhere like this than in a caravan park owned by someone who thinks he owns the rights to our dollars.

robert wheat
6 years ago

great idea will call in one day may be stay a while

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