Trip 20, part 15 – Broken Hill

Well we can now say we’ve been to both Bourke and Broken Hill.  Two towns in the middle of nowhere that are well known to us, but that we’d never visited.

We had planned to spend a couple of nights in Bourke, but after some Googling we determined there probably wasn’t enough going on to warrant a full day there so we made it a lunch stop, grabbing great locally made pies, vanilla slices and coffee at the bakery.  It was here that Jules discovered she’d lost one of her brand-new Opal earrings which she’d bought just a few days earlier in Lightning Ridge.  We did a couple of extra laps of the town, retracing our steps but couldn’t find the missing ear dangler.  With a bit of luck, it’ll turn up somewhere in the car when we do our clean after getting home.

Bourke was a nice enough town, but as per Google’s prediction not a lot going on, so following lunch we drove through on to Cobar, pulling up for the night at the Glenhope freecamp, a few km’s out of town.  A nice enough spot, flat, with plenty of firewood for a small campfire, however, there were shit loads of various and vicious grass seeds.  The double-g’s were the biggest you’d ever seen, with man killing spikes up to 8mm long.  After only a couple of minutes walking around in our Japanese Work Boots, aka Thongs, aka Flip Flops, the bottoms of said Flip Flop were covered in these seeds, all trying to poke their way through the sole to spike us.  Luckily Jules and I both had a reasonably new pair of Thongs so the rubber was thick enough to save us from certain “death by seed spike”, it’s a real medical term, I saw it on CSI one time..  De-seeding the Thongs, we consigned them to the car and donned the hiking boots for the rest of the stay.

<< Photo credit: Rod – One of the many feral goats around the place >>


From Cobar it was a lazy 470kms out to Broken Hill which seems to suddenly appear as an outback metropolis in the middle of the plains of nothingness.  We managed to score some campsites at the new Starview Primitive Campsite, just outside the Living Sculptures Display Park.  Great value at $10/night which includes a bituminised site, with new and clean toilet showers ensuites.  No power or drinking water, but that was OK as our Goldy is self-sufficient.

<< Photo credit: Rod – Our campsite >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – Jules taking a pic of a Euro just outside of our van >>


<< Photo credit: Rod – One of the local roos >>


That evening, Thursday 27th Sept., we drove up to the sculptures area to view the sunset, sharing it with about 50 other sunset and/or sculpture keen tourists.  It was a great spot to watch the sun descend but wasn’t our favourite end of day location.


<< Photo credit: Rod – The sun setting behind a sculpture >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – Early sunset pic, below the sculpture area >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – The sun went behind some clouds but managed to find three cloud holes to create some excellent god bolts down to the ground >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – The sun sitting perfectly between the clouds and the horizon >>


<< Photo credit: Rod – And the sun sets for the day >>


Today, Friday 28th Sept. was a day of intended car servicing and sight-seeing.  BJ had booked his new car in for a service using Toyota’s online booking service a few days earlier, so he shot off to town early to drop it off, whilst Jules, Rod and I had a lazy morning.  As we were about to leave for town, BJ called to advise that as his service booking had never been confirmed they were unable to service his car today, so we drove in, picked up BJ and spent the day taking in the sights around Broken Hill.

1st stop Silverton, about 25kms out of Broken Hill.  Once a booming town of over 3000 people and the nation’s busiest inland port from paddle steamers up the river.  It took off in the late 1800’s due to the, yep you guessed it, Silver, they’d found, but it’s now a decaying town of about 40 residents.  However, diminishing and decaying as it may be, it has plenty to keep the tourist happy and we were among the many sightseers driving in, or through town, to check out the old ruins, galleries and museums.  Top of the list for us was the Mad Max II museum as it was filmed out here in the 1980’s.  There are lots of cool set pics and short videos to see in the main room, but unfortunately and reasonably, you are not allowed to photo or video them.  Out back of the main room there are original pieces and replicas of the movie vehicles, including the Interceptor, GyroCopter and Truck.


<< Photo credit: Jules – The Silverton Hotel with a VW based Interceptor lookalike >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – One of the remaining churches >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – One of the boarded up church windows >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – A paint splattered VW outside the John Dylon art studio where you can watch him paint and buy his work >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – Why??  Another oddity outside the John Dylon art studio >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – What I think is an old aircraft propeller, mounted in the bush >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – A derelict car and ruin >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – A derelict car and ruin >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – A local ‘bits’ sculpture mounted on the side of a shed >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – A tin Camel’s head, bursting out the side of one of the gallery buildings >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – A couple of sad looking donkeys, standing in the main street >>


Whilst out at Silverton, we also took the opportunity to drive a little further out to visit the Mundi Mundi Plains lookout.  Standing there looking out, there’s not much to see other than dry orange dirt for as far as the eye can see.


<< Photo credit: Tony – At the lookout >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – Looking down the road from the lookout towards the Mundi Mundi Plains >>


From Silverton we headed back into Broken Hill, partaking in a famous Bells Diner Milkshake en-route.  Bells is still made up like a 1950’s milkbar / diner and their specialty is milkshakes and they don’t disappoint.  Out back of the shop they have a couple of rooms done up in period colours and furniture.  Well worth a visit.


<< Photo credit: Tony – Jules finishing her Pina Colada flavoured milkshake >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – Part of the 1950’s period room >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – Part of the 1950’s period room >>


After re-hydrating with our milkshakes, we walked a country mile, doing a good bog lap, on foot, of the main blocks on Broken Hill.  En-route we came across the Gallery & Mint, which from the front is an unassuming shop, looking like touristy souvenir joint, but after chatting to the bloke inside we parted with $7.50 each to view the highlight of Broken Hill, a 100mtr long by 12mtr high, single canvas painting of the SA and NSW outbacks.  Painted by a single artist over 2yrs and set in a round room, complete with sand and scrub, the painting is fantastic and well worth the admission price.

A quick pint in the local washed down the remnants of the milkshake, before Rod and BJ departed for camp, whilst Jules and I visited the Jack Absalom and Pro Hart galleries.  Jack, now 90’odd, was in residence at the gallery and got talking to a lady who was there at the time.  She explained she’d been painting every day for 50years but was in awe of Jacks work.  Jack then went on to, rather honestly, critique her work via the iPhone shots she showed him.  Jack’s gallery also includes a really impressive display of different Opals from around the world.  Pro Hart’s gallery is completely different, full of his quirky art and sculptures, including Pro’s old studio.  Both are well worth a visit.

On the way home we stumbled across the biannual Broken Hill Gem and Mineral Festival which consisted of about a dozen caravaners, each proudly displaying and selling their various minerally wares.  As an aspiring ‘rock nerd’ I couldn’t resist and had to buy a small piece of Pyrite which grows in an almost perfect cube form.

Talking of minerals, Broken Hill is very obviously about minerals.  The centre piece of the town is the Broken Hill Proprietary, otherwise known as BHP mine which has a beautiful, but tragic memorial to the more than 800 miners who’ve lost their life, mining in Broken Hill since 1883.  Unbeknownst to me, BHP was founded in Broken Hill in 1885.


<< Photo credit: Tony – The still operational mine area >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – The historic mine site >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – The beautiful, but tragic memorial to the 800+ miners who’ve been killed in the mines since 1883 >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – One of the many memorial tablets, this one from 1890 which lists a 12 year old boy who’d died whilst working the mine >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – The many types of varied rock and the view back to Broken Hill from the top of the hill behind our camp site >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – Pic of the rocks and plants behind our campsite >>


<< Photo credit: Tony – If you look closely, those pimple looking protrusions on the rock are actually a form of gem bomb, I think mostly Garnet >>


<< Photo credit: Rod – Whilst photographing an interesting rock Rod noticed this perfectly camouflaged bug which we later identified as a type of Lacewing >>


Today is Saturday the 29th, that One Day In September, on which the AFL Grand Final is held.  To celebrate the AFL and watch the West Coast Eagles bring home another flag, BJ is going to setup the satellite dish and we’re going to have a big day, eating nibbles with beer watching the footy.  Carn the Eagles.


Image result for 2018 afl grand final eagles

<< Photo credit: Fox Sports – Winners are grinners, Eagles by 5 points, despite Collingwood leading for almost the entire game >>

One Reply to “Trip 20, part 15 – Broken Hill”

  1. Nice story mate and wow what a game with the Eagles…I was so nervous I couldn’t eat, drink or sit still.

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