P.O. Box 162
MOUNT GAMBIER, SA 5290
Ph: (08) 8724 2876
Fax: (08) 8724 2885
Book online. Pickup Site Access Key from Lady Nelson Visitor and Discovery Centre using issued Forestry SA diving permit.
Iddlebiddy Cave (official CEGSA cave reference number 5L250) was reportedly first explored by a small party of unqualified Mount Gambier cave divers in late 1983 or early 1984, and it was immediately recognised as being an important and relatively fragile virgin cave system which probably harboured many valuable scientific secrets.
Originally known only by its official number, "5L250" was felt to be a bit unwieldy, so one of the cave's discoverers chose the name "Iddlebiddy" - a hybrid of the cute names "Itty-bitty" and "Little- biddy" - in early 1985 because its long, wide passage and large areas of flat ceiling and huge boulders vaguely resembled the mighty Cocklebiddy Cave of the Nullarbor, in which the world- record cave dives of late 1983 were undertaken.
Iddlebiddy received considerable official attention from both the South Australian Environment and Planning Department's Aboriginal Heritage Branch and the State Coroner's Office in 1988, when fragments of a human skull (probably a young Aboriginal) were retrieved from the mud-cone beneath the entrance. Carbon dating and other forms of investigation indicated that the remains appeared to be up to 100 years or so old, and the nature of the entrance tube tended to imply that the body had fallen or been dropped into the cave rather than respectfully placed there as would be the case in a formal burial. With these aspects in mind, the Aboriginal Heritage Branch's archaeologist approved of regulated and responsible cave diver access to the site, PROVIDED that no interference to the debris cone was made by any divers.
The dirt cone is littered with bones from many animals as well, and it would in all likelihood also contain many rare extinct species as is often the case in caves of this region. However, appropriate techniques for properly recovering and recording such material are not yet available to us, and because divers must not in any way disturb the mound or any fragments, all underwater gear adjustments must be done away from the entrance to ensure that finning or body movements do not disturb anything there.
While the dive is currently rated as being of Advanced Cave level, it is actually a very easy dive for competent cave divers as it only has a couple of minor areas where divers can't swim side by side. The cave takes the form of a single large passage running south-east for about 250 metres or so from the entrance chamber, and ends in a small and extremely silty room which appears to be a cavity in a large clay deposit.
Because there are many delicate features (especially areas of easily-damaged tessellated clay and very soft walls) in the passage, divers should take their time and not hurry through, as they will see much more and will be better placed to avoid causing finning or physical damage.
The multi-layered clay blocks are often precariously perched on wall ledges or at the very edge of sharp-edged boulders, and the slightest disturbance will destroy any important scientific information they may contain about the deposition of the various sediments in the caves and around the surface of the lower South East during the previous few thousand years, so please take care!
Iddlebiddy Cave has been accessible to Advanced Cave level members of the Australian cave diving community since late 1990. Please be aware of your responsibilities whilst visiting this unique cave diving site and have a safe and enjoyable dive!