Red Dirt, Day 7 – Poking about Broken Hill

Friday October 26th 2012, Broken Hill

Although the caravan park is neat and clean (being constantly maintained by a team of fit young men), it does have a location problem; It is adjacent to the largest cemetery I’ve ever seen (60,000 souls), it is also opposite the veterinarian and we’re woken every morning by barking dogs, lots of barking dogs and every evening there is an all-pervading ‘fug’ coming from the vet’s dog poo disposal unit.

Having now covered most of the ”bucket list” sites of Broken Hill, we take some time to give the van a bit of a clean before going to the Railway Museum. Each time we go into town we take a different route, so as best to appreciate the town and its buildings, especially the variety of miners’ tinnies, you cannot get lost as the street layout is a basic grid. We are side tracked by the Block 10 lookout, on a hillock that could easily pass for a rubbish dump, once again on closer inspection there is a wonderful array of wildflowers, purple and white everlastings, sunflowers and many flowers I’ve never seen before. There is a very good view of the Block 10 mine and the city, but it is cool and windy.

The railway museum is in the old Silverton Tramway Company Station, called tramway because it was the only private railway in its day. Passengers from Sydney travelling beyond Broken Hill had to change both trains and stations, walking several blocks from one to the other. There is an extensive collection of railway equipment and rolling stock, even a ‘modern’ diesel, the Silver City Comet, which used to run between Sydney and the Hill. Walking through the engine section of a diesel train is a real first. In addition to the railway exhibits we are enthralled by a private rock collection, something I’m sure most of the locals are really into, an immigration museum telling the stories of the residents’ origins and the hospital museum (wartime heroine Vivienne Bullwinkle hailed from Broken Hill).

We drop into the famous Musicians Club for a cold beer, with the aim of booking for dinner, but sadly it has all the appeal of yet another noisy pokies venue. So back to camp for some Thai Chicken Curry pies for lunch, this freezer is an Aladdin’s cave of quick and easy delights. We decide on a bit of reading and watching the camp entertainment, there’s quite a flurry of activity as new arrivals set up. One old guy is seen backing his van into position just as his mate calls out for a beer, the car and van are quickly abandoned, blocking the roadway, whilst he disappears for a cold one!

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