Without mining, Broken Hill would not exist. Recently they've discovered more minerals than originally thought and it appears as though Broken Hill will again have mining as a major component of its survival.
As such, miners' cottages form a large part of the architecture and, while not so historical or interesting as European homes, they do have a charm of their own and, with the artistic community taking over many of them, they are guaranteed preservation.
Fondest memory: Just wandering around the streets, though to be avoided around midday in summer, you can come across many quaint examples of the genre, such as shown here.
There were several of these little hawks hanging around our campsite at Mungo....at first I thought when they approached that they wanted food, but it was actually my container of hand-washing water they were more interested in!
As there are no lakes containing water in the area at all, the only way birds would get water is from early morning dew or flying huge distances away.
For first timers you should be aiming at the art galleries and an underground tour, the latter to pick up on the area's history which is more interesting than you might think.
The art galleries are without peer anywhere in the world. A huge statement but don't think I'm comparing them to Michaelangelo or such, I'm talking about the fantastic colours inspired by the Aussie outback.
The artists hit the big time when five of them, including world famous Pro Hart, Jack Absolom, Eric Minchin, John W. Pickup and Hugh Schulz and titled "The Brushmen of The Bush" were presented to HRH Queen Elizabeth in London and the whole thing was the subject of a nationwide T.V. documentary. Since then others have benefitted and some of my personal favourites are Albert Woodroffe, Howard William Steer, Wendy Martin, Denise Schinella, the special Peter Browne and the outstanding Peter Anderson. This list ignores over 20 other top line artists, each with their own individuality, who have galleries in the area.
I've been to the National Gallery in London, the Uffizi in Firenze, the Prado in Madrid and seen work from the Hermitage and I'm saying right now that most of the artists in Broken Hill would lose nothing by comparison to the works I saw there.
Fondest memory: The vivid colours in the art galleries and the high quality artists who paint them.
Museum - it has fascinating stories like when, during the First World War, two misguided Turks were shooting at a Silverton excursion train.
Imagine, in the middle of nowhere in the early 1900's, two guys conducting their own private war 15,000 ks from home!
Fondest memory: So, on my first trip over I just happened to be in town when this train appeared. Not your ordinary everyday variety but THE famous Flying Scotsman that had been shipped out to Australia for an historical trip to the Alice.
Needless to say, it was packed to the rafters with train buffs and, were they loving it? You're joking of course!
I had seen them eslewhere but Broken Hill certainly excels in them. I'm talking about the historical signs on the pavement. They are very informative and make a visit so much more worthwhile.
Fondest memory: Simply walking along Argent, arguably the Hill's most historic street, and relating to the architecture on show, how fire changed the facades and how people of note had their influence on what we see today was, for me, a pleasure.
Make sure you visit the Sculpture Park (also known as the "Living Desert and Sculpture Symposium")...it's about 9 kms out of Broken Hill and definitely worth a visit. Sunset or sunrise (which is less busy) makes the sculptures even more beautiful. :)
In this photo the sculpture on the left is Bajo El Sol Jaguar (Under the Jaguar Sun) and the one on the right is Angels of the Sun and Moon.
It takes about 15-20 minutes to walk to the sculptures from the car park or you can borrow a key from the Visitor Information Centre for a small deposit.
Entry is free. (No dogs are allowed in the grounds)
The Lions/Rotary Park has a few historical remnants of the mines with interesting descriptive boards to enlighten you.
This was the head for the principal mine (Central) from 1945 to 1984 and, in pic 2, you have one of the compressors in the power station that used to blow air into the number one shaft at the North Mine to power compressed air drills
Fondest memory: "Fondest Memory" is not an apt term for this but unforgettable would do it. In the line of lode, over 800 miners have died during the extraction of ore. It's easy to look at the slag heap and forget just what a toll on human life there has been extracting the ore.
In 1902 Thomas Jordan and Leopold Campbell were at the 500 foot level in the Central Mine when they were lost in a rock fall. Their bodies have never been recovered. For the technically minded it was a Bellis and Morcom lubrication unit.
Mention the name "Ando" in Broken Hill to a local and everyone knows of whom you speak. Peter Anderson used to have a gallery elsewhere in Broken Hill and I vividly recall his colourful flower and bird paintings, so impressive were they. But that was seven years ago. Things change.
Ando started the premier gallery in Broken Hill, but then left the town but his legacy remains. It's fair to suggest it's one of the must-sees in this city.
The feature is the largest acrylic painting on canvas in the world, measuring 12m x 100m.
It allowed Ando to evoke the broad scope of the outback in a 360 degree panorama of bush colours. To view the piece you walk into the room and, in the middle of the room on the walkway, you just soak it all up. Very impressive. Entry is by token purchased at the front counter.
WIthin the other sections of the gallery you will find more of his works but you'll find a lot more of other people's efforts as well.
Fondest memory: The quality of works here is what I remember. It's not limited to outback scenes either though it is fair to suggest they predominate.
The colours and brushwork along with some of the other crafts (and chocolate and fudge) leave one very impressed.
You can find all this and the Silver City Mint at 66 Chloride Street, Broken Hill or, if you want to Email, try firstname.lastname@example.org
At the Lions/Rotary Park in Blende Street opposite the Tourist Information Centre, there is much to see, not the least of which are some recent sculptural additions, including the unmistakeable style of Pro Hart (see pic one) while the bright effort in the second picture is in dramatic contrast.
There are also mining remnants, the most prominent being the Kintore Shaft poppet head, plus child's playthings. Worth a look.
Outback Australia, and one bush you will see by the 1000's, that's a Blue/Green colour, is Saltbush.
Salt bushes are extremely tolerant of salt content in the ground, so you will find them in and around salt lakes. They like the harsh conditions to grow in, and Sheep happen to like them too, which is good for the farmer. In the harsh conditions, not much else will grow, so the Farmer now is planting salt bush as fodder. Meat from Sheep grazing on Salt bush is high in Vitamin E, and is a leaner meat than regular lamb.
We are driving a long stretch of fairly boring road towards Adelaide, so what is there for the passenger to do?
The driver is busily concentrating on the road, so how about counting Emus?
This is what I usually do, as unlike the Kangaroos that are mainly out and about at dawn and dusk, Emus can be found any time of the day.
In this type of area, they blend in with the landscape fairly well, but once you have your eye in, I'm sure you will find more.
We saw quite a few, and with chicks because of the good season, they had been breeding.
The Outback areas of Australia are great places to see Parrots.
Parrots love seed, and out near Broken Hill, where silos are located, the Galahs are around usually on the ground eating the seed.
As we were heading to South Australia, there was a big group of Galahs sitting on the phone lines, so keep and eye out for Parrots if you haven't seen them before.
They are a lovey pink and grey Parrot.
Favorite thing: I have only been to Broken Hill once, but I must admit that the weather was absolutely perfect last weekend. It was around 22c and sunny, with a gentle and cooling wind. I'd imagine that if you went in January or February the average temperature would be closer to 40c...so try not to go in the summer.
The town is a nice place with lots of art galleries and things to do... The people are very friendly and there are plenty of good cafes, pubs, restaurants also so don't worry about being fed well. :)
The people of Broken Hill love to acknowledge that they have had some big Hollywood movies made there and some famous artists living there, and rightly so I guess for such a remote town... :)
This is a building high up on the hill in town (you can't miss it)...it has a list of all the miners to die in the local mines over the years...it was interesting but sad to read of all the deaths in those mines.
There is also a cafe/souvenir shop/information centre inside the main building...
Phone: 08 80886000