The excitement of the storms last night may have passed but it is still windy and very cold. I find it hard to believe that in October it is cold in Broken Hill but it’s like a wind straight from Antarctica is blowing down the street. We rugged up and headed into town where I needed to draw cash at the ATM and Glenn found a car park. It turned out that the car park was right outside the Regional Art Gallery so that was out first stop.
There are many individual art galleries in Broken Hill but the regional art gallery houses works by many in one place, with more than 2000 works in the permanent collection. Names such as Margaret Preston, Arthur Streeton, Pro Hart, John Olsen and Jack Absalom hang side by side. The gallery is located in the Sully’s building – the earliest and longest surviving commercial business in Broken Hill (1885 – 1985) – which was restored from 1999 to 2004.
This sculpture is also located outside the gallery.
Broken Hill is an outback city where mining blends with art and helps to create an economy in tourism. In September 1883, Charles Rasp was mustering sheep in the ranges here when he discovered ‘tin’. This discovery would change the course of history and just twelve months later Rasp and six others, including his boss George McCulloch and five co-workers formed a syndicate and started the Broken Hill Mining Company. Today we, and the world, know it as BHP.
As the gallery is located on Argent Street which is the main street we decided to walk a couple of blocks taking in the heritage buildings which have been maintained and found a memorial to the wives of miners.
After lunch we visited the Silver City Art Centre and Silver City Mint. As well as an extensive display of art work and jewellery there are minerals on display. We wandered through an Aboriginal style cave to take in The Big Picture which was painted by artist, Peter Andrew Anderson (Ando). This is the world’s largest painting on canvas and is 100 metres long and over 12 metres high and was painted with 9 tonne of paint. As you exit the cave, you wander onto a timber viewing platform with the painting all around you giving the appearance of it being outside your home. It features many of the natural and man made landmarks within 300km of Broken Hill and the area between the painting and the platform is covered in soil with plants and small trees and includes statues of animals making it more real. You cannot take photos so I have borrowed this one from the internet to give you the idea.
Next we headed back to the car and drove up the huge mullock heap to the Miners Lode Memorial, which pays tribute to the human tragedy of mining with more than 800 lives lost. In the centre of the tribute are glass panes with for each year with the names of the lost lives engraved.
From here you can also see the mine today.
Our last stop was at the Kintore Reserve where a series of pieces point to the history, art and culture of Broken Hill. The reserve is dominated by a retired wooden head frame, originally put to work in the 1800s. This headframe was originally located at the Kintore Shaft, the principal shaft of the Central Mine, and prior to that at the No. 5 shaft at the South Mine. It was moved to this site in 1984 to allow open-cut mining of the original site. It is constructed of oregon, supported on concrete footings, and cross-braced with steel rods.
There is also this giant sculpture by Pro Hart dedicated to the miners and I learnt that his ‘ants’ represent the miners.
We headed for home via our last grocery shop for the trip. The afternoon disappeared chatting to fellow travellers and listening to music played on guitar by others.