A Stranger Came to the Mine by Mavis Thorpe Clark

Melbourne: Hutchinson, 1980.
184 pages; hard-cover; 22cm; 11 b/w illus. by Jane Walker.

More publishing information


"In 1980 A Stranger Came to the Mine was published by Hutchinson; this book was my only excursion into fantasy, though still with a factual background. When opportunity offers I still go back to Coober Pedy, but the town has changed. The story today, with the background of a tourist town, would be a different story."

- Trust the Dream (1999) page 219.

About the story

"Pete and his two brothers always spent their school holidays at their father's opal mine in the central Australian desert.

This year, an inexplicable glow in the night sky; the stranger, Lu, who comes from nowhere; the weird perentie, appearing like a creature from the past; and the superstitious miners on the neighbouring claim combine to present a mystery which only Pete can understand.

This is a compelling story - a fascinating picture of family relationships, a straight-forward adventure with a touch of science fiction - will not let you go."

- A Stranger Came to the Mine (1980) blurb.


"The fuel for return was sent in a separate unmanned carrier. But there was an error of judgement … My vehicle and the fuel carrier didn't rendezvous. There was some disturbance in the magnetic fields. Until now I haven't been able to find the carrier. While my energy source has enough in reserve to keep hovering within the earth's atmosphere for a short while yet - perhaps another ten centuries in your concept of time - it is not enough to lift me back over that 20,000 light years of travel. If I don't recover it, I'm trapped here."

- A Stranger Came to the Mine (1980) page 98.

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Cover: illustration of young man using a ladder to enter a mine.

Cover of 1980 edition of A Stranger Came to the Mine.

Illustration of one young man lowering another into a mine using a winch.

"Down they went, Pete operating the sling for the other three - warning Lu to use his feet to keep from bumping the sides."
A Stranger Came to the Mine (1980) page 69-71.