Broken Hill (Silverton & More)January 16, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C
We got up at around 8am then got ready, leaving the house at around 9am to walk over to Thrifty. We picked up the car – this time a Kia, which turned out to have very comfortable seats. We made a decision to visit the historic town of Silverton then the Living Desert State Park. The drive to Silverton ended up being very bumpy indeed! Much of the road as we approached the town was dirt, there were no sealed roads in the town at all – perhaps because it is heritage listed (Broken Hill & Silverton are ENTIRELY heritage listed as towns)? The town was founded with a post office in 1883 with around 250 residents, but within ten years this blew out to many thousands. Now, there are only 40 people living in the old town and many of the buildings are in ruins.
Silverton was like a place I had never visited before – I instantly felt like I had been thrown back into the 1800s, appearing in a western classic film. We drove around the streets for a while taking it all in, before finding the ‘Mad Max’ museum. We decided not to go in because it wasn’t something of much interest to us, however the story is. Mad Max was filmed in the Silverton area and the film crews dumped many of the cars, which were salvaged by locals. A superfan of the movies moved from the UK to Silverton just so that he could collect the old cars and open the museum which stands there today. I must say that seeing the cars out the front in real life was pretty cool, although they do look better on film after all of the enhancements. We continued driving around and noticed that there were heaps and heaps of churches! Our next stop, which was unfortunately closed, was the John Dynon art gallery as he creates a lot of fascinating outback art. We did get to view a few of his pieces which were out on display though, including a big mural, an outhouse and a painted VW Beetle.
After taking everything in we decided to go to the Silverton Hotel for a drink and a look around. The outdoor area was huge, they (of course) had a black VW Beetle which was modified by the Mad Max film crew, and the pub was crammed full of heaps of different memorabilia. As we had packed lunch, we just had a drink each while marveling at the hundreds of signs hanging from the roof with jokes such as: “We’ll be friends till we’re old and senile … then we’ll be friends again… new friends”, “A hard man is good to find”, “FOR SALE: 1 Set Encyclopedia Britannica (husband knows everything)”, and “We’re happily married: I’m married, she’s happy”. My favourite was the Encyclopedia ad. We saw a sign stating that if we do ‘THE TEST” we can get a free beer. After waiting for the lunchtime influx to order their lunches, we donated $2 to charity each and started the test. I’m not allowed to write what we had to do here, however I can say that we are now Life Members of the Silverton Hotel! It was an absolutely hilarious surprise and would recommend stopping in to anybody in the area.
We then went to the old gaol museum and looked around – there was lots to see here and it was quite enjoyable but I won’t write about it here. Out the front there were some donkeys which we later found out were living on the commons arrangement. I gave them a pat and played with them a little bit before we went into the museum but Riagan took pictures because he didn’t want to get kicked. We then got in the car and headed back to Broken Hill to check out a few of the viewing platforms. On the way back we stopped at the Silverton cemetery which is one of the creepiest places I’ve ever been: barren desert with randomly placed gravestones. After the drive back to Broken Hill we stopped at ‘Block 10 viewing platform’ which was fascinating because there were stones with many minerals lying around on the ground so we picked up quite a few samples. They were glimmering with metal – I can understand why so many miners were attracted to the area. Next stop was the Royal Flying Doctor Service museum where we got to watch a DVD about the service and have a tour of the control room and aircraft hangar. It was amazing to hear about the great work that they do: apparently the government covers all of their operational costs (I assume for staff etc) but they must supply the planes and do so using donations. My favourite part was watching the re-enactment of a call-out in the early 1900s using a radio, and looking at the medical kits to see how many heavy-duty drugs they give people for remote prescribing.
After our rest in the cool we drove to the Living Desert State Park to have a look at the sculptures on top of the hill. We looked at them first in daylight, then went for a 2.5km walk. We both agreed that the general outback scenery from our drive was much nicer than that in the park. We stayed there for sunset with the picturesque background of the carvings which was absolutely gorgeous – I’ll just leave you with the pictures rather than writing about them too much. When the sun went down we drove back home, had a BBQ, packed then went to bed.
KM Travelled: 180 / Steps Taken: 15,699 / Temp: 42*CRead more