This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2005 Travels September 30


Drove back out to Silverton to finalize the purchase of the two prints from the Horizon Gallery. They would be shipped in a month or so.

That done, I wanted to find the old railway station. The rail line was long abandoned, but this was an aspect of historic Silverton we had not seen before. It was a little way out of the township, down a side track.

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The old rail line and siding type building were very photogenic, with the low bush around. I spent some time prowling about and taking shots – and was very pleased with the effort.

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Back in town, refuelled Truck – $1.34cpl. Had done 493kms.

Fish and chips for tea again, tonight. I measure the passing of the weeks by fish and chip Fridays!

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2005 Travels September 29


Last night I was browsing a booklet obtained from the Information Centre. Saw an ad for a landscape photographer, so today it was off to the gallery of Boris Hlavica. His photos were wonderful. I could really have spent up big but confined self to buying a photo of Lake Eyre at dusk. The focus was on detail of the salt surface, but the moon was rising in the distance. He told us that he didn’t even see that until after it was developed! In conversation, discovered that he used to live nearby us, at Mt Evelyn.

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Driving around the town, came across a small gallery tucked away on a corner in an old part of town. It was something a bit different – an artist called Wendy Martin. We browsed. I bought a painting of a bush scene done on a chunk of Broken Hill quartz type rock. Kitch, but attractive.

John decided he wanted to get Truck serviced – it was due soon – by W the mechanic who worked at Pungalina, who lived at Birchip in Victoria. He had been so impressed by what he saw of W’s work, and we had been so unimpressed, of recent time, with the work of the official service centres in Melbourne. So he phoned W and arranged for this to happen on Monday. We would stay a night or two at the caravan park there.

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2005 Travels September 28


Visiting the Pro Hart Gallery was on my must-do list.

Another Brushman of the Bush, many of his works were not to my taste, but there was no doubt they captured aspects of the Australian way of life. I was surprised to find that his gallery contained many works by other artists – really was his own private art collection.

There were lots of interesting memorabilia and quirky things the artist had created.

I was captivated by paintings that showed the natural environment, rather than the peopled one which was what I had previously associated with Pro Hart. Finished up buying an unframed print that depicted white water birds in a treed swamp area – predominantly blues and greens, with the contrast of the white birds. It had a haunting sort of quality that got to me. Also bought some cards.

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This was not the art subject matter that I used to associate with Pro Hart

From there, we went on to the gallery of Roxanne Minchin. Several years ago we had bought some inexpensive, small,  board mounted prints by her husband Eric, and her. Since then, Eric Minchin had died and she appeared to have developed much more of her own style. I really liked her newer works. We ended up buying a framed limited edition print – quite large – depicting an isolated old farm cottage, in summer. The searing heat was depicted by the dominant red and orange colours. It was very dramatic and bold.

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Looks better without reflections on the glass!

We were definitely expending our earnings on lasting items!

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2005 Travels September 27


Went to the Horizon Gallery in town and talked to the artists’ son. We were happy with his suggestions – and charges – for framing the limited edition prints we were interested in buying.

Visited the Jack Absolom Gallery. He was one of the famed Brushmen of the Bush – a group of artists who used to go out painting in various locations and in general worked together to stage exhibitions and put Broken Hill on the art scene. Their best known member was probably Pro Hart.

Absolom’s works were certainly of the outback areas we love, but just didn’t grab me to a sufficient extent to want to buy. We talked for some time with the artist – he certainly has the gift of the gab!

In the later afternoon, drove out of town, parked in the area provided, then walked to the Living Desert Sculptures, on Sundown Hill.

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Living Desert Sculptures with Broken Hill in the background

The twelve large sandstone sculptures were created in 1993, on site, during a special event for the purpose.

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Walking the path through these structures was pleasant, in the late afternoon.

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The sculptures were worth seeing, though I would not go out of my way to visit them again.

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Again, there was quite a vista from the hill, over the surrounding country.

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2005 Travels September 26


We seemed to have fallen in a bit of a hole, not feeling like doing anything much.

John had a long sleep in. I walked the decent distance to the shops to get a paper, which became a routine most mornings. My daily exercise!

I did the washing that had accumulated since we were in Mt Isa. Those two efforts accounted for me for the day!

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Ensuite site at Broken Hill Tourist Park

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2005 Travels September 25


Now that there was not a time pressure to fit everything in, we had another fairly lazy day.

Drove up to the top of the big mine dump heap, to the Miners’ Memorial. This was an awesome structure. It was really sobering to see the names of all the dead miners recorded there.

There was a good outlook over Broken Hill from up there too.

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2005 Travels September 24


And John turned 65 today. I took a photo of him on the day – it showed his bushy Pungalina beard. The biggest and bushiest beard he’d ever grown.

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We decided to stay on here longer. There was time to fill in before the house sitters finished. There were still some galleries I wanted to see, and other sights to look at. We also had to go to the Horizon Gallery in town.

So decided to treat ourselves to a little luxury and move onto an en-suite site that was available. Was $168 for a week, essentially $28 per night, with a seventh night free.

Moved the van. That was not a major effort – we had not done a full set up when we originally only expected to be here two nights. Walked things like the outdoor table and chairs to the new site.

The bathroom was definitely a little touch of luxury. We put the awning up and in general set up to be comfortable for the week.

Then drove to the shops, to get papers and some food supplies for the weekend.

Spent the rest of the day being lazy at camp – reading papers, and watching the AFL Grand Final on TV. I suspect the football was a significant reason why John wouldn’t dawdle down the Birdsville Track! The game was close but a bit ho-hum as far as I was concerned. Two interstate teams did not really interest me much!

I cooked a roast chicken dinner – a great favourite of John’s – for his birthday tea. Roasted bird and vegies in the electric frypan, on table outside the van. We cracked a decent bottle of wine, too.

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2005 Travels September 23


It was back to being able to have a sleep in again, after the early starts of the past few days. Not that the surroundings were particularly quiet, with our fellow travellers packing up and heading out.

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After breakfast, decided to go for a drive out to Silverton, the semi-ghost town, some 25kms to the north. This settlement was the site of a fairly short lived silver mining venture – as the name suggests, in the late 1800’s.

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Old cottage, Silverton

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Main street, Silverton, and the hotel

We had previously found the settlement interesting to wander about in, and loved the Horizon Gallery there, where we had on an earlier trip, purchased a couple of prints, that were still firm favourites.

Had a good browse in the Gallery. Really love the work of the two artist owners. After considerable debate, decided to – probably – buy two more prints from there. Spending some of our hard-earned wages! One was a rather dramatic work by Albert Woodroffe, of the Cockburn Range in the WA Kimberley. The other was by Bronwyn Standley Woodroffe, of an eagle soaring high, with the Pinnacles – SW of Broken Hill – in the background. Both were quite large and we would have to arrange to have them framed and sent to us, after we got home. To that end, we had to visit their gallery in Broken Hill and consult with their son, who did their framing. If that was satisfactory, we would buy the prints.

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On the way back to town, turned off to visit the old Day Dream Mine – a silver mine that operated in the 1880’s, with an associated smelter. Although the mining here did not last long, the smelter was used to process ore from Broken hill, before the first mines there built their own. The remains of the smelter could still be seen.

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Day Dream Mine in distance

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The track we came in on, from by the mine ruins

We paid to both do the tour of the surface features, then John did the underground tour, while I wandered about up top and took photos. We had not been here before, and it was certainly worth doing once.

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Another outlook from the mine

Back in town, went to the Visitor Information Centre. Interesting place with displays related to the mining history, of course. John bought a polo shirt with a mining structure logo on the pocket.

Fish and chips for tea tonight. They were much nicer than the Mt Isa ones had been.


2005 Travels September 22


We were away fairly early, again.

Took the unsealed Martins Well track, to the east, then continued on to intersect the Yunta-Balcanoona track, north of Curnamona Station. Then turned south for Yunta.

This route had us on unsealed tracks for over 200kms. We saw very little other traffic. Signs of habitation were few  and far between. Signposts were far enough apart to have us wondering at times if we were on the tracks  intended! However, the road surface was reasonable, and the spare fuel in the jerry can a reassurance. For once, my navigation, from just the Road Atlas, was accurate.

Stopped for a break and had a wander around the Waukaringa ruins, not far from Yunta. This was the site of a gold find and resultant mine and small township, from the 1870’s.

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The road south – Waukaringa

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Hotel ruins Waukaringa

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Refuelled at Yunta – $1.31cpl. Had travelled 421kms, since last fuel at Leigh Creek.

Now we were back on a sealed highway, with only 200kms to go to Broken Hill. Lost half an hour of time just crossing the border!

Booked into the Broken Hill Caravan Park – $19.80 a night, after discount. Initially booked in for two nights. Thought that would give John a bit of a break from driving, and allow us a day of sight seeing. This was not our first visit to Broken Hill.

After setting up, paid a quick visit to the shops to stock up on a few items.

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2005 Travels September 21


Managed a fairly early start, while the morning was still cool.

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Early morning, Cooper Creek

I would have liked to detour off to the east, to see where the ferry operated from, in years when the creek was in flood. But the driver was not interested.

We passed Clayton Station. They had recently set up a campground by a wetland area – another place I would have liked to explore and stay!

Saw a mob of emus, not too far from the road, when we had stopped for a morning tea break. John decided to try out something he had seen on a TV program, and stood, waving his hat in the air.The theory was that emus are very curious creatures, and would approach closer to investigate. But these emus didn’t know that theory – or maybe they were short sighted – and ignored his efforts.

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Once we reached Marree, we were back on a route travelled before. We did not stop in that settlement, but turned and headed south.

Eventually reached the sealed road again. Stopped at Leigh Creek to refuel, having done 333kms by then. $1.45cpl.

Continued on, eventually running alongside the western flank of the Flinders Ranges – always a beautiful drive. Turned east on to the unsealed Moralana Scenic Drive, which was a short cut between the main road we had been on and that north from Hawker into the Flinders Ranges. We had driven this before. As before, it was really pretty in the late afternoon light – but there was little stopping for photos.

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Flinders Ranges from the Moralana Scenic Drive

Decided to book into the camp ground at Rawnsley Park Station, rather than going a bit further on to Wilpena, which had originally been John’s intention. The stay would only be for one night, it seemed, as John wanted to press on to Broken Hill and then take a break from driving days, there.

The unpowered site cost $16.20 after discount. The place was surprisingly busy and there were no powered sites to be had. We set up away from the more formal area, though it meant a bit of a hike to the ablutions block.

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Camp at Rawnsley Park Station

We were in a pleasant grove of cypress pines.

Although it was quite late in the afternoon, managed a short walk out along a station track, before settling in for the night.

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