It is believed that the soldiers who returned from the trenches of France during the First World War introduced the idea of living underground in homes commonly known as “dugouts”. The miners quickly discovered the advantages of living underground to escape the heat of the summer and winter’s cool desert nights.
No matter how harsh the climate, the underground rooms maintain a comfortable, even temperature ranging from 23ºC to 25ºC day and night throughout the year.
It is estimated that about 50% of the population live underground now. Most
dugout homes are excavated into hillsides rather than dug from shafts. The soil in the Coober Pedy hillside is stable enough to allow huge ceiling spans in rooms and it is not unusual for a mining family to buy an adjoining property and tunnel to link two dwellings, or even three or four. Some mansion style homes spread up to 450 square metres underground.