Saturday, 10 November 2012

Broken Hill - 06/11/12 to 10/11/12

We are embarking on our longest drive today 600 k’s to Bourke, having spent 4 days in Broken Hill. Not much out here except sheep, emus, goats and road trains. The boys have been reading (we stocked up on books from op shops in Broken Hill), Doug is listening to the cricket, Australia v South Africa from the Gabba, (currently raining) and I’m doing the blog.

Broken Hill is a very old town full of history, having been settled in the 1880’s after 3 station hands pegged out the original mine lease in 1883. BHP was later formed in 1885. Broken Hill's famous mineral deposit, “The Line of Lode”, contained the world’s richest source of silver, lead and zinc.

I loved the diversity of the buildings and homes in Broken Hill. In one street you can see palatial Federation and Victorian buildings to the classic tin cottage and art deco style homes. These show how Broken Hill has evolved with the booms and the busts, and individual fortunes made and lost. I also did a walking tour of the town which was very informative, giving history of the local identities and buildings. There were over 70 pubs in its hay day. These are now gone, deserted or converted to churches, accommodation or offices, with only 17 pubs still operating.

Streets of Broken Hill

An old pub which is now a church

As well as mining Broken Hill is also known for its art.  There are over 30 art galleries and we visited two; Pro Hart and Howard William Steer. The boys enjoyed Howard Steer’s work which depicted out back Australian scene’s using bright colours and each painting having a quirky title. At the Pro Hart gallery the boys got to watch his carpet commercials; you know the ones, where he shoots/blastes food and paint etc onto the carpet to make his signature picture of a dragon fly, with the cleaner stating “Oh Mr Hart, what have you done”. They loved them.

One of the Rolls Royce's Pro Hart has painted

Howard Steer's work. The boys really enjoyed these

Old time car in front of Howard Steer's gallery

Murals on walls at town train station. Broken Hill has a lot of murals painted around town.

Day our at the Mining and Mineral Museum
Huge silver nugget

Museum also had an "Oddities" section full of, surprisingly, odd things.

We left Melrose early as we wanted to get to Broken Hill and set up so we could find somewhere to watch the Melbourne Cup. We ended up in the famous Palace Hotel, which featured in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. A beautiful old pub which started its life as a coffee palace. It had some amazing paintings on the walls and ceiling. As I was placing all of our bets at the TAB another horse caught my eye, Green Moon, As green is my favourite colour I just had to put a bet on but unfortunately only a $1 each way. The end result for the family was a spend of $34 for a collect of $27.

The famous Palace Hotel

Getting set for the start of the great race

And there off

And the winner is ..... Vicki

Bell's Milk Bar. Like stepping back into the 1950's

We did a day trip out to Silverton, which was settled 1882 but only a few years later just about everybody upped and left for Broken hill as there were more minerals to be mined there. Silverton fell into decline. It’s now mainly known for it’s use as a movie location. There have been over 30 different movies filmed in and around Silverton, the most famous production being Mad Max 2. Other notables are A Town Like Alice, Razor Back and numerous XXXX commercials.  We were looking forward to visiting the Mad Max 2 museum, but it was closed. Boy were we mad.  

There are not many buildings left in Silverton. As building materials were in short supply in Broken Hill, many of the buildings in Silverton were transported there. They were moved on jinkers pulled by teams of camels, bullocks or donkeys.

Mad Max 2 Museum

Replica of Max' car. The original is actually in some museum in London??

After walking around town (10 minutes) checking out the ruins, patting the donkeys and swatting the flies, we enjoyed a cool beverage in the beer garden of the Silverton Pub, which apparently goes off the day after the Broken Hill St Patty’s day races when it hosts the “Recovery”. Weddings and other functions also keep it busy. The pub has a great collection of photos from the different movies being filmed in the area.

Boys using jail toilets . When ya gotta go ya gotta go.

A 130 year old horse drawn cart (and Jacob)

The stage in pub beer garden

Mundi Mundi plain where filming of Mad Max 2 road scenes took place

The last afternooon we were there we drove out to The Living Desert and the Broken Hill Sculptures. The living desert would have been better if we had visited after rain, as there were no wild flowers and it would been a nicer experience to view the Broken Hill Sculptures at sunrise or sunset.

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