Andamooka - SA



DEG: -30.44972 137.16365
DMS: 30º 26' 58.99" S 137º 09' 49.14" E
UTM: 53 J 6629392mN 707756mE
Altitude: 94.97m


Place Type

Population - Town


514.6kms North of Adelaide - Driving 590 km (6 hours 24 mins)

Address & Contact

Andamooka SA 5710
Phone: N/A
Email: N/A
Web: N/A


Originally known as ‘Arndoo-moka', the name Andamooka is made up of two local Aboriginal (Kuyani) words, which combined; refer to the ‘loaded (or powerful) bone' of Aboriginal traditional lore and retribution. Another story about the origin of the name is a reference to a waterhole pointed out by John McDouall Stuart on 21st June 1858.

In 1872 a pastoral lease was taken out for Andamooka Station, 58 years later in 1930 two boundary riders; Sam Brooks and Roy Shepherd found opal at the site now known as Treloar's Hill. The story goes that they were caught in a thunderstorm and whilst sheltering under a tree a pretty coloured rock caught their eye. The rock was taken back and later identified as being opal. They attempted to keep the find a secret but the word did get out and a rush of miners then headed for Andamooka in the 1930's.

Whilst the lure of opal did entice the first settlers to Andamooka some others came for more complex reasons. It seems the "free"' and largely ungoverned lifestyle of this outback town held an attraction for many people who were leaving Europe after experiencing the horrors and constrictions of war. An interesting interview by George Negus highlights this for us (read more here)

Early living conditions during the Depression years were to say the least, difficult but certainly practical, with miners and dealers making use of local materials in the construction of their early semi-dugout homes, typified by the Heritage Listed Cottages in the Historical Reserve.

This mix of reasons helped to create a multi-cultural environment that gives Andamooka a distinctively unique feel even to this day. While conditions have improved over the years, Andamooka has never lost its unique character or Characters.

Famous Opal

One of the largest and most famous opal stones is the Andamooka Opal, also known as the ‘Queen's Opal'. In 1954, The Andamooka Opal was cut and polished by John Altmann of Sydney to a weight of 203 carats. It displays a magnificent array of reds, blues, and greens and was set with diamonds into an 18-karat palladium choker necklace. This one-of-a-kind ensemble was presented to Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her first official state visit to Australia, a gift truly fit for a queen! Today, the Andamooka Opal and its attendant pieces form part of Queen Elizabeth II's personal crown jewels.

Historical Character

Bill McDougall

Before his death, Bill McDougall, owner of Bill's Pub, raised funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).For a small donation visitor's were treated to a glass of Port (‘plonk' as Bill referred to it) and stories of Old. Bill raised in excess of $240,000 for the RFDS, and is remembered with much admiration and respect by locals and those that passed his way over the years and recall visiting Bill and his Ettomogah Pub.
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Closest Weather Station

Andamooka at 21/09:00am CST
Distance from Andamooka 0.54km E
TemperatureFeels LikeRel. HumidityDew PointPressureRainfallWind DirectionWind SpeedGusts

Closest Climatic Station

Distance from Andamooka 0.54km E
Mean Max. °C36.535.632.227.322.318.618.420.624.628.131.834.4
Mean Min. °C21.321.
Mean Rain mm17.425.414.014.815.516.012.513.012.919.214.618.6

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