I decided to stay at Broken Hill for a few days to see some of the places we have missed on previous visits. The town is dominated by massive slag heaps as you approach from the east, not very attractive. Broken Hill was developed on the largest silver lode ever discovered in the world. Most of the houses are single fronted miners cottages on small blocks, but with massively wide roads. Many large old attractive building are scattered through the town, one of which is the Palace Hotel where they filmed parts of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
I visited the Palace for lunch after doing some shopping. I had headed for Coles and saw the sign but them it seemed to disappear. Fortunately a Woollies sign appeared so I shopped there. On the way to the Palace there was Coles, car park and all! Must be the Min Min spirits. The Palace is decorated inside with murals on all the walls and even the ceiling of the restaurant. I had a chicken parma that was massive with excellent chips and salad.
I also visited Pro Hart’s Gallery, which was next to where he lived. You couldn’t take photos inside the gallery but I managed to find a couple of photos of the ones I especially liked.
Pro Hart had been an underground engine driver for 20 years before he focussed on painting and became world famous. Jack Absalom had a similar unusual background having trained as a blacksmith. His gallery is worth a visit but Marg and I had visited it last time we were here. Jack told us he loved Mulga trees and painting them and that there were over 30 different types. It was interesting to talk to him. At Pro Hart’s gallery I was able to take a photo of his Rolls outside the gallery.
Pro earned his nickname as a child when the other kids thought he was a bit smart and called him Pro, short for Professor. He was a good organist and owned a couple of electric organs, one in his home and one in the gallery. He especially liked Brahms and Haydn, no accounting for people’s tastes.
Next day it was off to Silverton, I now know why I haven’t visited before. A real tourist trap made famous by the filming of Mad Max in and near the town. It is just a few old buildings scattered through the saltbush, with lots of people and cars. The museum in the gaol has a collection of memorabilia, lots of stuff, but no coherent narrative linking it all. Not impressed. Burra in SA has much more character, all the old buildings in a living village, much better than Silverton, plus you can buy saltbush lamb from the butcher and there are two great bakeries.
After Silverton I visited the Regional Art Gallery, well worth a visit. It is in a renovated department store, Sully’s, that was built in 1885. They have done a great job with the renovation and have an excellent display of paintings, new and old, pottery and sculpture, including some indigenous artwork.
Today is my last day in Broken Hill and the wind would blow the skin off a custard pudding! I went out to the Living Desert Sculpture Park and really enjoyed it. 54 tonnes of sandstone were placed on the top of a stoney hill and a camp set up nearby for the sculptors. The sculptors came from all over the world, Mexico, Georgia, TIWI Islands and other places in Australia to carve the various sandstone blocks. They are in a wonderful arid rocky landscape and tell the sculptors story. I have just selected a few of the sculptures.
The sculpture Park also has an excellent picnic area with gas BBQs and toilets plus a Flora and Fauna Walk and a Culture Walk. The flora walk has name tags on lots of plants and is an enjoyable 1 Km long. The flora walk is in a fenced off sanctuary area and the managers have run lots of drippers through the area to help the plants survive. I did rest at the end as you will see in the photo.
Unfortunately too windy for the drone, I would have had to drive into Broken Hill to retrieve it, had I put it up. Tomorrow I am off to Mutawintji National Park for 2 or 3 days and I think I will be out of communication for 3 or 4 days until I get to Tibooburra.