First Opal Buyer To Coober Pedy
Both Sherman and Brady claimed to be the first buyer to visit Coober Pedy. According to Ernie Sherman, his first visit was in 1919. He left a record of his trip, Brady never did. The following story was written by Greg Sherman from his father’s records of the event and gives an insight into life on the field at the time.
‘Journeying to the Stuart Range Opal Field by my father Ernie from Sydney in 1919 entailed a considerable amount of time and rough living. Leaving Sydney on the Melbourne Express at 7.30 in the evening and arriving the following day at 2 p.m. left little time to relax before boarding the train again at 4 p.m. for Adelaide, arriving there at 11 o’clock the following morning.”
“From there he took the Northern Territory train to Quorn, arriving there that same evening, where the train stayed for the night. Due to line failure, there was no nightly service and was used only three times a week. Dust storms were a common occurrence and the rails often disappeared under shifting sands. This meant all hands, including passengers, getting to work with shovels conveniently carried on the train so it could proceed.”