... and ALL THE WAY HOME! (via Broken Hill)

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October 15th 2010
Published: November 26th 2010
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The Land of GiantsThe Land of GiantsThe Land of Giants

Cliff top in Broken Hill.
Well, this is it, we’re homeward bound! After five very eventful months there are a few regrets that it is all coming to an end. We have circled the country except for 600 klms between Mt Isa and Three Ways (NT) in our rig. Both the car and the van have more than met our expectations. We plan to cover those 600 klms in 2011 when we are bound for Cooktown.


The trip to Broken Hill from Hawker was a typical 420 klms day seeing us in for lunch. We crossed to the Barrier Highway and that became an easy and relatively flat road (even though through some mountain ranges). Having stopped for a coffee at Yunta, we were surprised to see David, Carole and Kristie Small walk in. They had spotted our rig on the side of the road on their way to Broken Hill and decided to catch up. They had come from Port Augusta and were going on to Sydney to see the new arrival (Ciara). We had a couple of days together in Broken Hill before they headed off to see Callum and Jo.

Our wildflower expectations of the Flinders Ranges were
Dragon FlyDragon FlyDragon Fly

Pro Hart was famous for the dragon flies he painted.
well and truly met in Broken Hill! The roadside was ablaze with colour and looked fabulous. Rhonda was much happier about that!

Art Galleries

There is a very active community of artists in and around Broken Hill. Best known is Pro Hart (now deceased). There is a gallery of his works and studio and of course we wanted to see that. As you enter the property there are four of his Rolls Royces on display. One of those was covered in murals and trimmings that he did by hand. His works are very popular and are very expensive now he has passed on. Over the road is a display of steel statues.

We did visit Jack Absalom’s gallery and others including Pro’s daughter Julie (has some of her father’s painting traits), Broken Hill City Gallery and a spectacular and massive real life mural painted by David Anderson (Ando) at the Silver City Mint. All very interesting and if you have a passion as there are twenty or more other galleries.

The Living Desert

A few klms out of town there is an attraction called the Living Desert. There are two elements to the area. The
Desert PeaDesert PeaDesert Pea

With desert dill.
first is made up of two walking trails through areas that display the flora of the local desert in natural surrounds. The extent and colour of the wildflowers was amazing. Rhonda was thrilled by the extensive areas of Sturt’s Desert Pea. The second aspect to this area is on a hilltop that looks back over the city. Again there is a walking trail around a series of statues fashioned out of rock.

Do not miss this park if you are in Broken Hill. The photos in this blog only give a glimpse of its appeal.


Twenty minutes to the west is a town called Silverton. Whilst not a ghost town as such, it is an historic town from the past that can boast a lot of heritage buildings. The buildings are largely used as galleries, museums and drinking and eating places.

We had lunch at the café on top of the hill. Very nice. There were displays of dolls and bottles in adjoining rooms to the eating area. It was incredible to see so many dolls and bottles. Silverton must appear on your ‘to do’ list.

Grand Final

I could hardly miss the

A nice place to eat or have coffee in Silverton.
AFL Grand Final with Collingwood involved! While I was sweating it out at the Musicians Club in front of the big screen, Rhonda went for a stroll around town. The Saints stalled us in our quest and lived to fight another day!

The following Saturday was spent in front of our version of the ‘big screen’ at home with our sons Jason (Tigers) and Michael (‘Pies). Jason was just as keen as Mike and myself in supporting Collingwood. Great celebrations followed a super win. Go the Mighty Magpies!

Silver City

We had been told many times that people loved Broken Hill and now we know why. The city has a welcoming character with lots to see and do. It would have been easy to spend a couple of weeks in the area. The town grew up around the mines and that goes back over a hundred years so there are many historical buildings. The council has marked out a tourist trail that you drive around. It takes hours if you take your time and it is well worth the effort.

Broken Hill will draw us back again. We loved it!



An impressive statue at the Living Desert. Broken Hill can be seen in the background.
overnight stay in Mildura was on the agenda. Rhonda’s uncle Charl (94) and Peter’s uncle Graham both live in Merbein so a visit was locked in. They are both brothers to our mothers.

The biggest shock was that we could not get a caravan site! The Country Music Festival (lasts a week) was on and accommodation was at a premium. We did get one benefit though! On the way through, we stopped at the Wentworth Club for lunch and enjoyed part of a concert. There must have been two hundred people seated in front of the stage!

We pulled the van on to Uncle Charl’s nature strip, hook up to water and power and stayed the night. That fixed the site shortages in the area!


The run to Maryborough was uneventful. Our mothers both live there and so we spent three days with them. It was a great catch up and we even visited a few local attractions. It was strange because they were places that we grew up with as kids and took it all for granted. You really should look around your own back yard! Perhaps that applies for Melbourne as well?
It all began here!It all began here!It all began here!

Mum Pretty, Rhonda and Mum Birkett at lunch in the Park Hotel in Maryborough.

and HOME!

The big rematch was due on Saturday and we had arranged with Jason and Michael to be there. So on Friday 1st October we arrived back in Mount Eliza wondering where the time had gone. We needed to bring our granddaughter Elizabeth back into our lives as we were away for more than half of her life even though she came to Darwin to see us. She is proving a positive and enjoyable distraction to Nanny and Pa.

The trip was sensational! Every day we were confronted with new and exciting things to see and do. We live in a huge, beautiful country and even though we have traveled extensively in it, there is so much left to see and do. There is nothing like driving into an area and there before you is the picture perfect view of the Pilbara or some other renowned landscape. The rich colours that we doubted in photos and paintings are there for you to see. Everywhere you go there is something different to see and do. The national parks like Karajini, Ningaloo Reef, the Bungle Bungles and Cape Le Grand were awesome.

We have been lucky enough to
Railway StationRailway StationRailway Station

Maryborough's ornate station. The story goes it was meant to be built in Maryborough Queensland!
enjoy it all with good health, fitness and the right rig to make it comfortable. Along the way we met many new friends and again marveled at how people are so socially accepting. The blogs will now come together to make a book that will give us a permanent reference to a rich experience in our lives. Caravanning is bliss!

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


Silver MineSilver Mine
Silver Mine

Disused mine in Broken Hill
The MinersThe Miners
The Miners

Pro Hart is less well known for his sculptures.

Carved from rock. About six klm out of Broken Hill at the Living Desert. Set on hill top with 360 deg views.
Church to HomeChurch to Home
Church to Home

Now being converted to a home. Was RC church in Silverton.
Pro HartPro Hart
Pro Hart

He painted it himself. Right down to the ants around the wheel!

Desert pea and other flowers.

One of the statues on the hill at the Living Desert.
Story PolesStory Poles
Story Poles

Actually made by students in Broken Hill.
Observation TowerObservation Tower
Observation Tower

Was built in Maryborough in memory of the gold miners of the area.
Overlooking Broken hillOverlooking Broken hill
Overlooking Broken hill

Looking from the Living Desert.
Painted DragonPainted Dragon
Painted Dragon

Saw lots of them around the Living Desert.

Feral DonkeyFeral Donkey
Feral Donkey

Near Silverton.
Dodgy Dunny!Dodgy Dunny!
Dodgy Dunny!

Silverton's ex Gallery.

Beautiful flowers are surrounded by semi arid land.

26th November 2010

you said it all done it all
hi peter & rhonda your trip sounds sensational have a good rest before you take of again enjoy while you can . it was lovely to see a photo of the two mums, they are looking very well, see you soon regards tony & nina
27th November 2010

Thanks for that Peter, brings back lots of memories, we also loved Broken Hill. Was pleased to see the photo of the mums, don't think I have ever met them, and it puts a face to people you hear a lot about. Looking forward to seeing you both.
28th November 2010

Thanks so much for all the hard work in documenting all this PP, and skin,I really felt like you were not ever too far away! Its great to have you home,safe and sound and no doubt it wont be our last blog to enjoy! xoxo Barb
30th November 2010

Thanks Tony and Nina
Enjoyed our lunch yesterday. Thanks for your close support during the trip. Peter & Rhonda xoxo
30th November 2010

Marg & Bill
You have been very encouraging with the Blogs. Thank you. Looking forward to spending this weekend with you. Peter & Rhonda xoxo
30th November 2010

Barb & Col
Enjoyed our night out on Thursday. Thanks for your positive comments on the blog along the way. Peter & Rhonda xoxo

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