Thursday, 3 August 2017

Playing The Tourist in Broken Hill

Winter arrived in Broken Hill today, as forecast.  There was a very pleasant 7mm of rain overnight, which was much needed.

Nice and early (well, for holiday mode) we hopped on a Silver City Tours bus for a City Sights Tour.  This went for half a day and was the best introduction to Broken Hill.

 Our first stop was the Miners Memorial on top of the Line of Load.

A little history.  Silver, lead and zinc are the  main minerals found here, all in a very localised vein that runs through the centre of town (not that there was a town here at the time) called the Line of Load.  The original hill has over the last 134 years grown from the accumulation of mining waste material.

On top of that pile a memorial has been built to honour the 816 miners who have lost their lives over that time, most in the early days of the mines.

There is a wonderful view of the city from the memorial.

There are several old disused mine workings in the city.  Where originally there were several companies working the site, including BHP which was founded here by the group of men that discovered the ore body, there are now only two.  Both are operating underground.  

Our tour took us to Perilya, which is Chinese owned.  

We were taken to the museum, which was informative.

Broken Hill has a solar power farm which covers 140 Ha and will power 20,000 homes.  It was huge.  They are just commencing building a viewing platform.

Our tour continued on to visit Pro Hart's grave and show us lots of the unique architecture of the town.  It was hard to take photos in the bus, so hopefully, we will get some tomorrow.

We had been blessed with the weather during the morning.  Yes, it was cold, but it remained dry.  However, the skies were getting decidedly dark to the west.  

After lunch we hopped in the ute for our own little tour.  We wanted to go back up on the Line of Load to have a better look.  There are the remains of the original smelter half way up.

Just as we arrived it started to rain.  It really was impressive watching the weather move across the landscape and then mask it in a white wall of rain.  We sat in the ute and  couldn't have chosen a better place to watch from.

The temperature seemed to plummet.  I had a look on my phone.  10.8 degrees, but feels like 3 degrees.  Yep, that was about right.  It was freezing.

On our tour we were told about Bells Milk Bar that has been an institution in Broken Hill for over a century and is still in the 1956 livery and uses all the original recipes for the cordials etc that are made on the premises.  So, seeing it was cold and wet, we had to go and have a look and have nice cold drink.  I'm not quite sure where the logic is in that, but we went anyway.

It is lovely inside.

What flavour to choose?

Of course Mick chose his favourite vanilla malted milk shake.  Don't you love the original murals on the wall.

I had a strawberry spider.  When Mum would take us kids to Sydney we would have one of these at the Coles cafeteria.

Also on the tour we were told how Broken Hill has no underground storm water drainage and some goes down the middle of the streets, while the gutters get larger towards one end of town as that is the direction the water flows.  We certainly saw this all in action today after the storm went across.  

I said yesterday that we'd hoped to see the sunset from the Sculpture Park in The Living Desert, just out of town.  This afternoon we were watching the weather and the clouds were starting to break up.  That could mean a really interesting sunset, or maybe not if it clouded over again.  Anyway, we took the chance and drove out there. Firstly, we called in at the caravan and collected warmer coats and our beanies, as it hadn't warmed up any.

The sun was shining  on one hill as we drove along.  We didn't realise it at the time, but the sculptures on the top of that very hill.

We paid our $6.00 each for entry and were surprised to find we were the only ones there.  What a view!  Complete with little rainbow.  And that isn't even the sculptures.

It was just after 4pm and the sun was out.  

The light was gorgeous. 

We both wandered around taking so many photos.

A close up of the above sculpture.

We enjoyed seeing how everything changed with the changing light.

The most famous sculpture is the Aztec.  It looks stunning against the ever darkening sky.

While it was golden from the other side with the sun shining on it.  The rocky outcrop which houses these sculptures adds so much to the whole effect.

Of course we had to take a selfie.

I also enjoyed checking out the flora.

The saltbush was in flower.  I didn't even realise it flowered.

These scrubby little trees will soon be festooned in yellow.


Just a little was coming out now.

Meanwhile, we were losing our sunshine and two other couples arrived.  It started to sprinkle as another two couples arrived.  It wasn't long before we were all heading to our cars.  Everyone else left, while we sat and watched the latest shower move across the landscape and before long it had nearly stopped.

So, as it still wasn't quite sunset time we went back up to the sculptures.  Who knows we may end up with really striking sunset. Once again, everything looked different.

We waited and a little colour appeared in the sky.

Then a red sun started to show on the horizon.

Maybe the elusive sun through the eye of the Aztek would be possible after all.

I tried, but it didn't show very well at all, so my alternative was to look through the eye at the sun.  That's better.

We waited a little longer, but that was as good as it was going to get.  It was interesting looking back at the same scene that I started with.  How different it looked after the rain.

We were so pleased that we ventured out there today.  We saw the sculptures in so many different lights.  The fact that we had the whole area to ourselves for the majority of the time we were there was a real bonus.  Watching the weather system pass over the landscape was wonderful to see.  Looking out over the plains we could see lots of pools of water.  The desert will come to life after this.  In the morning I'm looking forward to hearing on the local radio station how much rain was received around the district.  There will be some happy people.  

Once we returned home to our van we had a bowl of nice, hot, hearty homemade soup that I had made and frozen before we came away.  It really hit the spot on such a cold day. We are now snug and warm in our van and looking forward to another day of exploring tomorrow.


Fiona said...

wow that hill with the sculptures is a gem ... thanks for showing all that... i loved it

Jenny said...

Another very interesting day. I have heard of Broken Hill of course - but never been there. Just loved the old fashioned milk bar, and as for those sculptures - amazing.

Louise L said...

I've always wanted to visit Broken Hill. You're wonderful pictures has made that wish greater.

Lilbitbrit said...

I have enjoyed all your travel pictures and seeing a little of Australia. I love the dramatic skies and your sunset photos.

Lodge Outback Motel said...

Love your description of your time in Broken Hill. I can only agree there is something very amazing about the colors especially when it has just rained and the strong smell of minerals. Thanks for sharing your story.