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Well, I reckon Andamooka, a small, opal mining town in outback South Australia, would have to be near on the roughest little town on Earth. Any kids that make it through childhood and adolescence, unscathed, are either pretty tough, lucky or destined to survive.

 Andamooka opal miner's hut

Ya see, there's scarcely a blade of grass for miles, just rocks, dirt and salt bush.

Where there might be a lawn and garden in the front yard, there would be an open mine shaft and mullock heaps, old mining equipment, maybe a bulldozer with the tracks off or a backhoe with the back wheels missing and balanced on a few old pallets.

There are old, left hand drive, American trucks left over from wartime, that have been used in the mining operations.

In one front yard is the shell of one of the buggies used in the movie, Mad Max.

The early opal miners must have done it tough in many ways including their living conditions.

In the heart of the town of Andamooka are a couple of early miner's cottages that have been preserved; a tourist attraction, and a good one at that.

But way over beyond the cemetery, down in the gully, is a larger group of original miners cottages or huts if you're less generous.

They're in pretty bad order and a sign warns of the danger and prohibits entry.

There's a lot of rubbish littering the surrounds of the huts, the most common item being old kerosene fridges.

The huts are mostly built with a dirt floor, walls of local stone mortared with local mud and roofs of poles, wire netting, tared paper and covered with a few inches of dirt.

I spent an hour or two wandering through these old huts, taking in the sights of the lifestyle of the early Andamooka miners.