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Published: June 13th 2013
Line of Lode
Miners memorial contains over 800 names of miners killed on the job.
The Big Australian
Day 1674/13 (12 June) 2013
As we are in a the mining town of Broken Hill, the Original Home to BHP, how could you not call this blog the "Big Australian".
How bad is this? I am on my iPad typing away and uploading photos to the blog and Andy is sat on the laptop tapping away and also uploading photos to the blog, I guess that's the way life is for the both of us, perhaps we should converse a little bit more, otherwise we can catch up on what each other is doing by reading the blog!
What a day it's been, busy and wet, I thought we would float away this afternoon. We had been out all morning and for part of the afternoon, we had just got back to camp, I was wandering over to grab a couple of items off the washing line when a few raindrops hit, so I ran, grabbed the washing and went straight back to Gypsy, no sooner than I had shut the door, the rain hurled itself down.
The day seemed to start ridiculously early, I remember looking
up at the open skylight, it was still a very warm night, I could see a lovely orange glow reflecting and thought to myself what a lovely sunrise, I could hear what was probably a road train go thundering past and thought, it does not feel like it is time to get up and I still feel really tired, as my eyes gradually took focus, it dawned on me that I was not looking at the sunrise, it was the unfamiliar sight of an orange streetlight reflecting on the skylight! As soon as I realised I rolled over and went back to sleep.
I was aware that Andy was restless, I think he spent most of the night awake listening to the road trains hurtling past, a few days out in the bush and we seem to be more susceptible to the noise of the city (Broken Hill is a city). Fortunately this meant that Andy got out of bed first and made me a chai latte which I gratefully drank in bed whilst reading my book, but it was set to be a busy day of touristy things so I got up and we got busy.
This statue was at the Living Desert. A sign said "do not touch" it looked terribly fragile and cracks had appeared in the arms and legs. I was scared to look in case it fell apart!
First stop of the day was the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) at Broken Hill Airport, we paid our $7 each for the tour, whilst we waited we watched a short video presentation about work of the RFDS, then hoping that it was just the two of us, we met the tour guide, only to find that another 6 people suddenly appeared through the door.
Our guide Larry Angel took us through to the comms centre and told us how it all works and how many people are required to make the service operate, including pilots, administrators etc. One thing was interesting though, he tells us that they have not had an emergency call via HF radio for some time, it seems that more modern means are used such as satellite phones.
This Andy and I discussed later as he has been thinking about getting an HF radio and a Codan aerial, personally I think this is all about aerial envy, you should see the size of the Codan aerials! We have a satellite phone so I am wondering if we would be any better off getting an HF, but Andy
Rich in Mineral
From the Living Desert
insists its all about safety, lets face it some of the remote places we go, would warrant HF communication.
We are shown the map of the area that Broken Hill cover, they are one of 21 centres around the country and if you could see the map it would show that one of the routes they take is like flying over three European countries and they do that daily! The RFDS not only deal with emergency calls from stations and seemingly more frequently from travellers who continue to transverse this huge country, they run clinics in some of the remote areas, dentists and they have a clinic that is run at Broken Hill, which would be just like you and me going to see our GP, people in remote areas do not have that luxury so they rely on making a call to the RFDS to discuss symptoms and get a diagnosis.
So think of this, some of the remote places there are and getting the dentist to fly, it would be like your dentist flying in from Turkey, if you lived in the UK, now that's what you call service.
The aeroplanes are Beechcraft
From the Sculpture Symposium
King Air generally and I believe cost about $7m each, the whole RFDS network have 61 of them. Their daily average kilometre flight is 72,870k's per day, yearly this is 26,597,696k's. Although the government do provide funding they do rely on donations to replace the capital costs of the aircraft, in fact when an aircraft is sold on secondhand that just about covers fuel and maintenance.
If you are unlucky enough to need the RFDS then a call out can cost around $7000, you would not be expected to pay a single dollar towards that. it is a comforting thought that they are there for you.
After a look around the museum, we buy a couple of things in the shop which hopefully help support the RFDS and we are soon on our way to the next stop of the day (and coffee!)
We find ourselves at the Line of Lode Miners Memorial, which is a memorial to more than 800 miners who have died whilst mining at Broken Hill, most recent names are up to 2007.
First stop is coffee at the Broken Earth Cafe and Restaurant which is located next to the Miners Memorial
and has stunning views over Broken Hill and the surrounding areas, apparently a good place to have dinner and watch the sunset.
Andy ordered a slice of cake, I nearly fell through the floor when he asked for $8.50, however when it turned up I could quite understand why, it was huge! Andy only wanted a slice not half the cake, it was also delivered with 2 forks so what choice did I have but to eat half of it! It was tough but I made the sacrifice.
Suitably refreshed, we wander up to the memorial on the top of the hill, it cost $2.50 each to go and see it. It is an excellent memorial, but we start reading the names of the people who have died and it is very tragic to see that some had fallen down mine shafts, crushed, heart attack, electrocutions, explosions, I could go on it is very sad to read.
Taking the long way round Broken Hill just to have a look at the area in general and then we made our way toward the Sculpture Symposium and Living Desert probably around 12k's North of Broken Hill.
an area that is cordoned off with an electric fence, to keep fauna in and various other predators out. Despite the sunshine, the wind is cold and though this area contains various types of lizards and snakes, we would be lucky to see anything in this cool temperature.
Taking a hike around the formed paths, the only thing we see is the flora, but it is nicely done and worth a look.
We chose to drive round to the sculptures rather than walk, some of them were pretty amazing, others you really had to work the mind hard to see what the artist was depicting, a couple of them are dedicated to Fred Hollows.
The views over toward Broken Hill were stunning, we could of course see the huge black cloud descending on Broken Hill whilst we were some 12k's away in the sunshine.
Back at camp, I race off to grab the few pieces of washing off the line, just in time, no sooner than I get back inside Gypsy, the rain starts to hammer down. Andy had folded back the bed and put the table up so that I could sit up, whilst he
had made himself comfortable on the folded part of the bed so that he could have a nana nap.
I was sat catching up on a tv programme, with my ear plugs in I could hear the rain hammering on the roof and also a rather loud thundering noise, I peered out of the back window of Gypsy and realised that the storm drain was nearly full and torrents of water were falling off the side of the road into the drain. I looked the other way and the road in front of us, in the caravan park, was a river of water.
The rain was on and off for the rest of the day, but nowhere near as heavy, it stopped long enough for Andy to cook up a great curry (really spicy), we sat to eat indoors, it just was not worth taking the chairs out to sit outside.
The evening passed uneventfully, blogging away, we were cosy.
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