Connelly's on the Road 2011 travel blog

Broken Hill

Big chair

Pick the dummy

Freezing in the Living Desert

Trapped by a foot

Mad Max car

Mad Max cars

Smelter Daydream

We arrived in Broken Hill on Tuesday at around 2pm and are staying at Lake View Caravan Park. The caravan park is pretty basic and if I was rating it I would give it a 1 star. You need to pick when to have a shower otherwise you will end up running out of hot water. I’m glad we don’t need to use the camp kitchen as it is really basic. The weather is cold and windy.

Broken Hill, which has been called the 'Oasis of the West, 'Silver City' and the 'Capital of the Outback', is over 1100 Km west of Sydney and surrounded by semi-desert). Even though it is in NSW, Broken Hill operates on Central Standard Time, which is the same as Adelaide and South Australia.

The city of Broken Hill has developed as a vibrant Mecca for artists and filmmakers, a long way from its roots as the site of the richest deposit of silver, lead and zinc the world has ever seen. Did you know that June Bronhill the famous Australian soprano was born June Gough in Broken Hill and adopted the name “Bronhill” in recognition of the support of the Broken Hill community?

On Wednesday we visited the Sculpture Symposium which is situated on a hill which is located in The Living Desert Reserve, about 10Km north of Broken Hill. The attraction comprises twelve stone sculptures which were carved by various Australian and international artist in 1993. Jim reckons that the sculptures were a non-event for him. I thought they were really impressive.

Today (Thursday) the weather continues to be cold and windy. I actually went and bought a beanie. Today we visited Silverton which is approx. 25k from Broken Hill. Silverton is essentially an abandoned settlement you could say that it is an outback ghost town. Actually, it is not a real ghost town, the famous pub, galleries and the tearooms offer services for visitors. The town has attracted many artists and filmmakers. For your interest two films, produced in the surrounding area, were Mad Max and Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

We visited the Silverton Gaol Museum which is filled with many wonderful exhibits, which are on display in various parts of the old gaol. There was a even a hospital within the grounds of the goal. The museum is well worth a visit.

We also visited the Daydream Mine which is approx. 15km to the northerly direction from Silverton. It was discovered in 1881, I found myself asking “How did they find this mine?” In 1884 there were around 500 people living in and around the township of 'Wilson', which was commonly known as Day Dream. Coming over a hill, you view the magnificent smelter built by the Daydream Mining Association.

History Lesson - Broken Hill owes it's existence to a young German boundary rider who discovered the rich orebody, that became later known as the Line of Lode, in 1883.

The city is surrounded by the undulating hills of the Barrier Ranges, named by Charles Sturt in 1844. It was Sturt who mentioned a "broken hill" that appeared as having a break in it.

It was exactly in these broken hill(s) where Charles Rasp discovered one of the world's richest silver-lead-zinc orebody. It didn't take long until a thriving mining town developed, and mining has been an important part of the Silver City's economy since then.

A miner's life consisted of twelve hour days, six days a week. Miners worked by Candle light which were held in holders known as spiders. Miners bought their own candles, picks and shovels. Mining method was mostly by hammer and tapping holes, then firing them. Miners did not leave the workings for firings. Pickey boys (Lads of 14-15 years old) would hand pick the ore after a firing, and bag it. Waste rock was carried back into the opening for back-fill. A miners living conditions were poor with the average life span only 40 years. Most miners suffered failing eyesight and respiratory diseases. End of Lesson

We are off to Peterborough tomorrow hopefully it won’t get much colder.

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