Out the back of outback NSW, Broken Hill is 1100 kms west of Sydney and is actually closer to Adelaide and Melbourne than Sydney. Some people may say it is the middle of nowhere but locals like to say it is the middle of everywhere and I couldn’t agree more.
Driving to Broken Hill I passed through Cobar, Mt Grenfell and Wilcannia – there are a couple of fuel stops along the way, no white lines on the roads, no fences, no grass – just a whole lot of big kangaroos, emus and goats watching the Rocket drive past.
Broken Hill was originally named after a jagged rocky ridge near town by the early pastoralists in the area. Today a 7 km long mullock hill knows as the Line of Lode dominates the landscape surrounding the town and can be seen from almost everywhere. On top of the hill is a miners memorial and the big bench which over looks the entire town .
The town is surrounded by rugged natural beauty, you could say there is so little but because of this, there is so much. This unique and rugged landscape has been the backdrop for hundreds of films, documentaries, TV series and commercials that have been shot in and around Broken Hill, including Mad Max, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Mystery Road to name a few. It is home to artists and film producers like Jason King, who love the red rock and the big skies.
A fact that astounds me is that there are more art galleries in Broken Hill than there are pubs. You can find outdoor sculpture parks and murals, a regional art gallery which is the oldest in NSW. I can see how the landscape and unique character of the area would inspire, from local indigeneous artists to the renowned Brushmen of the Bush including Pro Hart and Jack Absolem to Russell Drysdale and Clifton Pugh to name a few and the many, many talented artists of today.
The Heroes, Larrikins and Visionaries of Broken Hill Walk is a 1.7 kilometre, easy walk around town from the Railway Station to Billy Goat Hill. You can stroll through some of the city’s most diverse and interesting areas, soak up the history, culture and notoriety that has given Broken Hill its unique character. It is a heritage listed town full of amazing architecture and historic buildings. With only 3 sets of traffic lights in the middle of town, the Rocket and I cruised around with ease.
Rich in history, spirit and comradery Broken Hill still has a very strong sense of community: it is home to the Royal Flying Doctor Service base and has a large hospital where I gave a presentation to patients and staff. There are four AFL footy teams in town: North, South, West and Central, numerous community organisations and volunteer groups all supporting each other and striving to keep their unique local identity.
Mining is still big business in Broken Hill, creating a life underground for many employees. Two mines are currently in operation simply referred to by locals as North and South.
I met a few characters and lots of great friendly locals, hung out at a great cafe called The Silly Goat which has a great vibe and amazing food.
I even made it into Broken Hill’s daily newspaper the Barrier Daily Truth who ran an article on the Rocket and her driver CLICK HERE to read the full article.
Everyone told me that locals who leave town for the big smoke often return eventually, I’m not a local but I will be back………. apart from the fact that the Rocket is still there!
Keep living the dream