This morning dawned dry and windy - perfect for doing the domestics. It is sad that even when you are away the housework and laundry comes along with you.
Our plan for today, such as it was, was to visit the character filled mining town of Silverton. Most people know of it as the backdrop of several movies, the most famous being Mad Max. It is also home to quite a few artists who have their galleries in the town.
Firstly, however, we drove past the town and up to the Mundi Mundi Plains Lookout. Broken Hill is part of the Barrier Ranges, so named by Sturt when he was looking for the inland sea, as it was a barrier for him carting his whaleboat that they took along on their exploration.
Once you get past the hills you are greeted by the incredible sight of a vast treeless plain for as far as you can see. It was freezing when we were there, actually it has been cold and windy all day. Of course I left our beanies in the caravan didn't I.
There was a sign to the Umberumberka Reservoir (try getting your tongue around that) so of course we had to go and have a look. You drove down onto the Mundi Mundi Plains and as we got closer we started to see a watercourse with beautiful gum trees. We came to the end of the bitumen where the road crossed the creek.
We were being kept an eye on by these two galahs in the trees. There was also a wedgetail eagle soaring around overhead.
The trees were magnificent.
Anyway, on and up to the see the dam. By the way, the majority of the water for Broken Hill is piped from the Menindee Lakes, 100kms to the east, with water coming from the Darling River.
It has quite a sizable wall.
But when you look on the other side it provides confirmation that it is very dry out this way. They really do need some good rains. Mind you, it has rained each day we have been here, although today's effort is just a sprinkle that has started now, while I'm typing this.
After our good look around, it was back to Silverton. You can see the Barrier Ranges from this side. They don't look much, but they are the most hills in this area. Look at the vegetation in the foreground. It really is a tough environment.
We notice a couple of old car wrecks not far from the road. Wouldn't these two fine specimens be great restoration projects. Just what you would want, a Leyland P76 and an FJ Holden. I think we'll leave them for someone else.
Not far away was the ruin of a house, so we just walked over. Like I said earlier, the landscape is harsh. Check out the spikes on this plant, and there were lots of them.
This would have been a well built house by the looks of it. A craftsman had done that brickwork detailing.
It appeared to have just two rooms.
After that we parked in the centre of town and just had a general wander around. We had no real need to look at art galleries, as we have no room to hang any new pictures, and it wasn't time to have lunch, so we didn't go into the pub either. We just enjoyed our wander. I'll let the pictures do the talking.
After we had our fill, we headed back into Broken Hill.
We did get a couple of photos of some of the old houses as we had another drive around. This was a common sight. Last November a severe hailstorm hit Broken Hill with many roofs damaged. A lot of buildings have new roofs, but there is still a lot of work being undertaken and much more to go. It is a joke that the hail storm did a lot of folk a favour for their houses.
The majority of the houses are built out of corrugated iron with a timber frame, as they were materials that could easily be transported by bullock wagon to provide housing for the fast growing mining community.
Some look quite substantial from the front, with fancy columns, pressed tin to look like stonework and other features, but if you look down the side, they are still generally corrugated iron.
In amongst them there are also some lovely old stone buildings.
I love the way that this little house seems to have been added to over the years and stepped up in line with the slope of the land.
Quite a few of the houses are well kept, but we were surprised at the number which really are run down and unkempt. Lots look like they haven't had a coat of paint for over 50 years. I presume it is partly mining town mentality, in that you don't want to invest much in your house as the town could be only temporary, but I think Broken Hill is quite established now. We found Kalgoorlie was much the same. Gardens are also few and far between, as it is such an arid area.
At the other extreme, there are some lovely new homes, but not very many at all.
Anyway, we have thoroughly enjoyed our little sojourn in Broken Hill and surrounds and could have easily spent more time here. Tomorrow we will be back on the road to continue our Mystery Tour.