Andamooka – Opal was discovered here in 1930 by tank sinkers Roy Shepard and Tim Brooks. Nearby Andamooka station was named in 1858 by John McDouall Stuart, after an Aboriginal word meaning 'large waterhole' which refers to Lake Torrens 20 km away.
The township of Andamooka is located 593 km north of Adelaide and has a population of 400 to 500 people depending on the season.
The road into Andamooka off the Stuart highway, was sealed in the 1990's, however the streets within the town remain unsealed and unnamed. The first semi dug-out permanent homes of the early miners and opal buyers are preserved and have been placed on the national heritage list.
During the heydays of the 1960’s and early 1970’s Andamooka was second only to Coober Pedy in the production of Light Opal. In 1962 population peaked with an estimated 800 miners working on the surrounding fields which cover an area of just over 50 square kilometers. The main fields are close to the town, Stuart Creek discovered in 1947 is the farthest satelite field. There are 24 named fields such as; Five Mile, Nine Mile, Brookes' Hill, Willis Hill, Boudary Riders, Black Boy, perhaps the most famous find is The Bank of England or German Gully.
Andamooka crystal is still regarded by many as being the finest quality ever found. Opal occurs here in a variety of forms including gem crystal, black or ‘smokey’ crystal, jelly ‘blobs’, matrix, painted ladies and Opalised fossils including dinosaur bones.
The climate is arid, with daytime temperatures in summer (December to Febuary) regularly topping 40 C (104 F) and night temperatures in winter often dropping to zero (32 F) or below. Annual rainfall is extremely low, the average is just 160 mm per year.
Local tours include inspections of working mines, the historical cottages and magnificent Lake Torrens - the longest salt lake in the southern hemisphere.