NSW Country trip: August 18-20

Tuesday 18-Thursday 20 August – Broken Hill

More to explore in Broken Hill…. A beautiful day, and Arno spent a few hours doing 9 holes of golf.

After lunch we headed off to the Royal Flying Doctors Services (RFDS), which have a base in Broken Hill.  By coincidence, Endemolshine is currently here shooting doing a new Flying Doctor series.

The RFDS is an unique service, and truly a blessing to many people living out in the middle of nowhere. Apart from being an ambulance service and the medical ‘housecall’ in a case of emergency, they also provide mobile clinics such as dentists, optometrists and other everyday medical services that a city person generally takes for granted being down the road.  Many of the older generation have poor teeth; it was pretty usual in days gone by for people to use their pliers and pull a painful tooth out.  We discovered that a remarkable man by the name Reverend John Flynn through his passion, empathy and perseverance, made this service happen when he firsthand witnessed the harsh life in the outback while he was in involved with missionary work in rural and remote areas.  The information supplied at this ‘RFDS experience’ was extensive and absolutely interesting.  We didn’t even know that our old $20 note actually displayed all that information!

We got around to visiting one of the many corner ‘hotels’.  At one time there seemed to have been 60+ of these, now there are fewer (they say, haha)…. For our overseas family members reading this, we’ll just explain that these are the real traditional ‘waterholes’ (‘kroeg of cafe’) of every ozzie regional town, regardless how large or small the population.  Nowadays many of them have been beautifully renovated ($$ permitting) and that has been the case here in Broken Hill.  However, sometimes it is hard to tell from the outside, so when looking for a nice sunny spot to have a drink, you have to understand that the outside would not give any of the internal secrets away….  So, you go in and be amazed by beautiful restored, or totally modernised bars, bistros, and often ‘beer gardens’ (like an atrium or alfresco area in the back)… We opted for a drink the Broken Hill Pub (also known as the BHP!) and the place is lovely.   Our dinner was booked in at the Palace Hotel (famous for its appearance in the 1994 ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ movie), and I think for that purpose it has been preserved in its old ‘daggy’ style, but warm and cozy, despite all the social distancing.  The bar was closed as Endemolshine had taken that over, but we will probably pop in for a look later as their website shows some impressive art. By the way, the food was excellent!


Today we had a ‘dust-storm’.  The clouds were red, it was blowing a gale, and thank goodness Arno had rolled in the awning last night, as it could have torn.   The night was cold, but our van’s insulation is absolutely second to none (a hell of a lot better than our home’s). A few minutes of heating, and the place is cozy as.

We had noticed that as we travelled further west from Cobar, the trees became very low and eventually disappeared and was replaced with sparse bush. Our volunteer guide on Sunday told us that due to the need for timber (posts for the mines, and for heating fuel) all the trees in the vicinity had been felled.  There was nothing left to hold the soil, and caused horrendous dust storms.  An very early ‘greenie’ called Albert Morris, started a regeneration project surrounding the town.  The population eagerly participated in this and positive effects are felt today.  We can attest to its success, as today’s dust storm would have otherwise probably meant even more dust in every nook and cranny of our van, and our bodies!

Dust… red dust

We visited the Silver City Mint and Art centre, and apart from more silver jewellery, more local art, homemade chocolate & nougat ‘factory’, we also saw what we came for, one of the top Broken Hill attractions: The big picture by Peter ‘Ando’ Anderson.  This piece of art is exceptional in that it is a 1oom long circular mural (at some points 12 metres high) of all the different (desert like) landscapes in the area and which provides the backdrop of their various flora and fauna which the artist has built with rocks, grasses, and who knows what other pieces of materials.  This was truly a unique experience.

‘The big picture’

Our guide had advised us to pop into the Trade Hall if the door was open at any time, and check it out.  Today it was, and we did.  Back in the booming period, the miners were poorly paid and their working conditions appalling, whereas the mine proprietors were getting richer by all their workers’ hard labour.  This hall was built by the people and it was used to organise their negotiations, protests and discuss their rights as miners, and people.

Trade Hall

We then stopped at the Astra Hotel and were thankful for the warmth inside provided.  Again, great kitchen, and lovely food.  80% of their restaurant furniture was parked undercover outside on the sidewalk as that area was under renovation (remember the ‘hotel’ renovation mention above?).

We moved on to visit the Sulphide Street Railway & historical museum.  Sulphide Street used to be the train station (actually the ‘tramstop’) that the Silverton Tramway Company built as part of the link between Broken Hill and South Australia as described previously.  There were many locomotives, old train bits, the different rail sizes between NSW and the tram to fit SA’s.  There were a lot of rocks (minerals & ore) on display, and the old hospital relics.

All of the places we visit is absolutely steeped in art, any type of art.  The Broken Hill community certainly is working very hard at preserving their income (tourism) by ensuring the welcoming artistic and authentic feeling is maintained, and regularly enhanced.

An absolutely charming town, with friendly people and an interesting history. Arno is loving the abundance of things to photograph.

local Radio station

We took a drive around town to see some old and actual working mine sites.


Our last day in Broken Hill, and again WINDY and chilly…. ‘13 degrees – feels like 6’. We visited another little charming art gallery/shop, run by the friendly artist herself, Amanda Johnson. We now have a nice colourful selection of many local artists in postcards hanging in our van.

Art in our van

We drove around and saw an immense solar farm, the satellite photo doesn’t really show the size of it, but it can service around 22,000 average households a year.

We saw the famous Sturt Desert Pea flowers, just growing on the sidewalk in between the cracks… they love dry dry soil, and they get certainly get lots of it here!

Sturt Desert Peas

In the evening we had dinner at the Broken Hill Pub with our friends who arrived in Broken Hill and will be joining us on our next leg in Menindee Lakes tomorrow.

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5 thoughts on “NSW Country trip: August 18-20

  1. Wat een interessant verslag Jen, leuk om die 20 $ informatie te lezen. Fraai panorama schilderij, een soort van Panarama Mesdag en het panorama dat we op de Krim hebben gezien. Leuk! Ook weer mooie foto’s Arno. Zo een roestige verlaten truck zou ik ook hebben gefotografeerd, die vraagt er om.
    Groetjes Ton

  2. Hi lieverds, weer hartelijk dank voor jullie mooie verhalen en foto’s. Zeer interessant over de Flying dokters, is Endemol de Nederlandse organisatie van Joop van de Ende en John de Mol?? Dat die daar aan het filmen zijn, ze zitten ook overal die Hollanders!
    Veel te zien en vooral genieten van de kunst en het lekkere eten daar.
    Jammer dat het zo koud is en zo stoffig maar ja dat heb je met een woestijn hè? !
    Nu dus weer verder en nog wel samen met vrienden. Veel plezier.
    Dank ook voor de update van de routekaart, ik heb hem gevonden, jullie zijn al een eind op weg. Goede en veilige reis verder maar weer xx
    Nog even een vraagje : wat is een awning? Arno kon het inrollen dus denk ik aan een zonnescherm of zo , ik ken het woord niet maar leer nog steeds bij 🤗😙
    Liefs xx Annette

    1. Endemolshine-ja, Endemol heeft merger met global firma shine… doen heel veel hier. Awning – ja is zonnescherm.Fijn dat je de verslagen leuk vindt!xx

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