Westward Ho – Broken Hill and Beyond

Currently reading: Patrícia Melo – The Lost World | Peter Matthiessen – The Snow Leopard (renewed vigor) | David Foster Wallace – Infinite Jest (chipping away)

Took a drive out west for a few days earlier this week…

Day 1 – Gulgong
Day 2 – Broken Hill
Day 3 – Mildura
Day 4 – Cowra

Following are some scenes from the road…

 

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Capertee Valley – holds claims to being the ‘widest’ canyon in the world. At which point does a canyon cease being a canyon and simply become a valley?

 

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I was late leaving so only made it as far as the Commercial Hotel in Gulgong on the first night (Gulgong was the $10 note town when Australia had paper money)

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Ate my dinner on this beautiful old pub verandah…

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… and enjoyed the changing light as evening set in

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Nyngan’s ‘Big Bogan’ – only in Australia… (Nyngan falls within Bogan Shire)

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The thriving metropolis of Broken Hill…

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… a town that has sprung up around its centrally located mine

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The Central Line of Lode is literally in the middle of the town

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Atop the Line of Lode, one can find the Miners’ Memorial – every mining related death in the town’s history is included here

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The names of the deceased are listed, along with their dates (and causes) of death. The macabre yet beautiful memorial details the multitudinous ways that people have died in these mines, from septicaemia to lead poisoning to suffocation by fumes or rockfall or fire; from being trapped in a mine-shaft to being crushed by conveyor belt or rail truck or crane; from premature explosion or air blast, to being hit by a stray flying stone… the list goes on and on, pointing to a time which preceded our current era of Work Health and Safety legislation and regulation, and highlighting the risks each individual took every time they left home for work…

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On a lighter note, the inside of the Palace Hotel…

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… made famous by The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert

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The walls are adorned with all manner of floor to ceiling imagery…

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… as is the ceiling itself for that matter

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My bedspread was topographically inspired…

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… and my accommodations offered up another beautiful balcony sunset

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The bright lights of the main street at night…

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… and the golden glow in the morning light

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Are those palm trees I see? Broken Hill is a town of crazy contrasts

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“Travelling with the swag in Australia is variously and picturesquely described as ‘humping bluey,’ ‘waltzing Matilda,’ ‘humping Matilda,’ ‘humping your drum,’ ‘being on the wallaby,’ ‘jabbing trotters,’ and ‘tea-and-sugar burglaring,’ but most travelling shearers now call themselves trav’lers, and say simply ‘on the track,’ or ‘carrying swag.'” (Henry Lawson, from ‘The Romance of the Swag’)

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I visited the Living Desert State Park, site of the International Sculpture Symposium of 1993, which overlooks the city. Some beautiful stonework on display but not a single female sculptor among the ranks…

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Valerian Jikiya (Rustiva, Georgia) – ‘Angles of the Sun and Moon’

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Antonio Nava Tirado (Mexico City, Mexico) – Bajo El Sol Jaguar (Under the Jaguar Sun)

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Bell’s Diner

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All original 50s furnishings and decor

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Southbound from Menindee to Mildura – I loved this stretch of intricate patchwork preceding the transition to red dirt and sand

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A smooth stretch of solitary tarmac in the middle of nowhereville

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Drove through a road plant (with clods of clay flying in all directions) – you can see evidence here of the hard-worked mudguards

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Viewing tower at the confluence of the Murray / Darling river systems

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Welcome to Victoria – I overnighted briefly in Mildura before turning towards the mountains once more

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Sunset over Cowra from the Bellevue Hill Lookout

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Lachlan River sunset, Cowra

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Japanese Garden, Cowra

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Journalling with a sneaky beer at day’s end

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Every town out west seems to have a Royal Hotel – this one in historic Carcoar: “the town that time [apparently] forgot”

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The Capitol Theatre definitely seems to have seen better days. I’d love to see the state of the inside of this building…

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Carcoar does seem to be having something of a renaissance, so it will be a worthwhile town to visit again a little further down the track

Books Completed: David Mitchell – Ghostwritten

2 thoughts on “Westward Ho – Broken Hill and Beyond

    • Thanks Wes. I’d love to do a guidebook down the track. So much to see though – it might suffer from Joycean encyclopaedism haha 😁

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