Friday 9 October 2009

Broken Hill

We had a great time in broken hill. Em's friend Sarah's wedding was heaps of fun, and we met lots of great people, including some 'A graders'. Apparently in the old mining days preference was given to hiring those who were second generation Broken Hill people, or 'A graders', presumably because they were more likely to live, work, and die in the town. The practice has changed, but everyone in Broken Hill can still tell you if they are an A, B, or whatever grade.

At Matt and Sarah's pre-wedding bash we had the pleasure of trying 'cheeseslaw', which is basically coleslaw with a massive bag of shredded cheese dumped in. Apparently it is a broken hill thing...Another broken hill thing is that two-up is legal every day of the year (what the?) at the musicians club where the reception was. Apparently the only other place you can play it legally outside of ANZAC day is at another two-up 'school' in Kalgoorlie.

We checked out the 'Big Picture' - the world's largest acrylic painting by a single artist, which is a landscape scene of the Broken Hill area. It is roughly 12m x 100m, and is housed inside with a viewing platform set in amongst desert sand and saltbush. It was very impressive, and the surrounding gallery is a massive showcase for local artists. The local art scene is huge and of high quality for such a small town, eclipsed only by the local hairdressing scene - there are about 20 for a town of 20,000 people (and 4 traffic lights). Maybe miners like getting their hair done?

The best art we saw was the famous 'Sculpture Symposium', which consists of 12 hand-carved pieces of sandstone sitting on top of a desert hill outside the town. We went at sunset and were very impressed with the mini Easter-island kind of vibe.

We also made a trip out to nearby Silverton, did a tour down the 'daydream' mine, and checked out the Mad Max car out the front of the pub. A massive number of films, TV series, and commercials have been filmed in Broken Hill, Silverton and surrounds. Some standouts are Dirty Deeds, Mission Impossible 2, Mad Max II, Priscilla, and Wake in Fright.

The mine tour was really worth doing - it was dug by Cornish miners in terrible conditions with hand drilling and blasting. The blasting was performed while the miners were still underground (about 150 of them in its prime) but despite this dangerous practice most miners tended to die from inhalation of the silica dust.

We had dinner at the best restaurant in town - Broken Earth, which is perched on top of the slag heap that dominates the whole town. Great food, although it was kind of sad that we closed the restaurant at 9pm, it was nice spot to take your time eating.

Sound good? You can pick up a three bedroom house in broken hill for $100k.

1 comment:

Lydia said...

Sounds amazing. Broken Hill sounds like an extraordinary place. The outback is so desolate and beautiful.