Broken Hill to Peterborough 21-22 September 2016

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September 21st 2016
Published: September 27th 2016
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Broken Hill to Peterborough

Wednesday 21 September

The Warrawong Caravan Park was a good stop for the night. The next morning, I went for a walk around the lagoon and saw the river as well as many birds, including tiny, brilliant green birds which were too fast for me to photograph. After breakfast we were off to Broken Hill. By the time we left there was only a few vans left. Some people get up very early!!!

The road to “The Hill” was another straight, long 200km road. We also had a head wind so it was difficult to get above 90 KPH and get below 2,300 revs. Our fuel consumption went from 21L/100km to 27L!!!

We arrived around lunch time, went to the Visitors Information Centre and came out loaded with info, including a good spot for lunch at a shopping centre bakery. We parked in one of the shopping centre parks which had plenty of space.

We then went to the Broken Hill Caravan Park but there was no space. What was happening was that people were staying for several days waiting for roads to dry out, rather than staying over night. We then decided to go to Silverton first.

Doug and Leura went off and did some shopping before driving out to Silverton (25km) while we went to see places that weren’t available or we hadn’t visited when we were there 18 years ago with our son Adam.

We visited the Silver City Art Centre where a spectacular 100m long and 12 m high painting done by Peter Anderson with 9 tonne of paint. The canvas was hung in a large circle and had red earth on the floor in front with rocks, desert vegetation and all the insects, lizards, snake and several birds giving it a 3D effect. We had to walk through a man-made cave to get to it. A shop with multiple rooms full of beautiful paintings, mettle animals, and other souvenir for tourists and locals for their home decoration. The art work was of local scenery, most of which were brightly coloured using red, yellows, oranges and other ’environmental’ colours.

We walked around the city and then had to visit the Telstra shop to get my dongle activated (which didn’t get activated in Brisbane). We were there for 45minutes!!!! I was back on line.

It was showering with rain and extremely cold with the wind blowing. We did however, decide to go to the Miner’s Memorial which was perched at the top of the Broken Hill Mine site. The underground mine tour we did last time stopped being offered 5 years previously due to the lac of safety and is now replaced with a large restaurant and interpretive centre as wll as the separate Memorial.

We noticed how high the numbers of miners were killed in the early 1800s when the mine opened, compared to present days. They had included the name, age, and how each minor was killed. In October there will be a Miner’s Remembrance Week which is now an annual event.

Time was against us so we drove out to Silverton. Doug and Leura had found the Penrose Caravan Park about a kilometre out of Silverton. We parked on the oval without power. Doug had unhitched their car from the van and we drove to the famous Silverton pub for a couple of beers/reds and dinner, as well as a couple of yarns with some locals. It was a good night.

Wow, was it cold but our vans were very warm even without power.

Thursday 22 September

After breakfast we drove back into Silverton wo have a good look around the town. Several small churches and numerous museums and art galleries were in the old buildings all built in the 1800s and all part of the Heritage Walking Trail. There is now, even a Mad Max Museum as this is where part of the movie was shot. Enjoy the photos.

I visited the Old Gaol Museum which was full of stories and historical items from Broken Hill and Silverton. It had different sections such as clothing and medals of The Lodge (secret men’s business!!), Mining, women of the 1800s, an old hairdressing salon, Australia’s money before decimal currency, you name it they had it. I learned that there are over 120 members of The Hill’s Historical Society. Each prison cell was full of historical items and stories.

We then headed out to the Umberumberka Reservoir (built in 1911) which was very full. We had heard that The Hill was going to swap over to getting their water from the Reservoir rather than from the Menindi Lakes due to all the rain they had received in the last month.

We stopped at the Mundi Mundi Lookout on the way back into town. The scene was starkly beautiful.

The weather was clear with the sun shining but the wind continued to have a bite in it.

We drove back into The Hill and then out to the Sculptures and the Living Desert Sanctuary which was 12 kms out along Kaolin Street. Broken Hill has been long known as a Centre of Excellence for the art of painting. Lawrence Black, a Gosford based sculptor proposed holding a symposium to add sculpture to Broken Hill. Resulting from the Symposium was the development of a site in 1993 for the sculptures. 53 tonne of sandstone was transported from Wilcannia and 12 sculptures with different messages now perch on top of this magnificent hill. It was spectacular.

Next we went to the Living Desert where we saw many desert flowering plants. It was certainly a perfect time to go. Many of the plants were labelled as well. The desert peas were also flowering as was the albino desert peas, saltbush, cassia and acasias. It was also great to go for such an interesting walk.

We drove back into The Hill for fuel and lunch before driving to Peterborough to re-join Doug and Leura who had gone ahead and booked into the Peterborough Caravan Park.

The road to Peterborough was more interesting, undulating with a head wind from time to time. Not a lot of water was on the road compared to previous roads.

We had crossed into South Australia and 30 kms out from Peterborough, we lost our fruit and a few vegies at the fruit quarantine check point. SA continues their fight against fruit fly and use all biosecurity measures. We arrived in Peterborough around 4.30pm and had no problem finding the Van Park.

On the way into the town, we stopped to photograph our old Farm at Dowds Hill and the railway cutting.

I had never been to the caravan park even though I was born in Peterborough. It is always a home-coming feeling every time I return here even though I would not like to live in Peterborough now. Since the standard gauge railway went through the town rather than having the 3 gauges meet, the town no longer has a large railway industry but relies on tourism.

We unhitched our van and went for a drive around the town past our old house in the town as well as my Grandparents house. At both places I ended up chatting to the neighbour and owner respectively. I particularly found out a lot about all the neighbours we had in the town and what had happened to them.

We stopped in the main street and walked along the Railway Walk finding my Dad’s name on one of the footpath blocks as he was an engine driver from 1945-1960. The Tourist Centre is set up in an old railway carriage.

We didn’t go to the fantastic Railway Museum as we had been there before. They now had a sound and light show each night.

We found the Railway Pub and went in for dinner. The meal was great and it was obviously popular with the locals. Unfortunately, the Peterborough Pub which was along the same street, looked very tired and unloved.

Although the day was beautiful weather, the night was freezing, particularly with the wind. Leura and I both did our washing and drying and Tom successfully unblocked the water filter on the inlet hose so we were back in action.

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