This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


1 Comment

2007 Travels May 2

WEDNESDAY 2 MAY   MILDURA TO BROKEN HILL   300kms   

We had been able to remain hitched up last night – big tick to the caravan park – so there was not much to do to get on the road again.

But before we left, once it was past 8am, John consulted the local phone book and started phoning refrigeration places, to find one that could deal with our kind of fridge. Past experience suggested that it was either gas or thermostat. After some initial phone calls, we were able to drive straight to a place that would check it all out, parking in the laneway at the back of the business. The unit was found to need re-gassing, which was efficiently done. It did not take long – all remarkably hassle free. Maybe things were going our way now?

I wondered if all the extreme heat that the van had been in, last year, had caused a loss of refrigerant, somehow?

Crossed the mighty Murray, into NSW. Refuelled at Buronga – still $1.30cpl.

The very good Silver City Highway carried us north, with no dramas. Once away from the influence of the Darling River and the availability of irrigation water, the country quickly became flat, dry grasslands, with  patches of red sandy soil showing through. There were enough patches of scrub and stunted trees to keep it vaguely interesting.

We stopped at the rest area at Lake Popiltah, about the half way mark, to eat the sandwiches I’d made this morning. M usually only had a piece of fruit for lunch – she believes in simplified travel!

Lake Popiltah was dry, and from the look of the grass growing in its base, had been that way for some time. It is one of a series of shallow depressions, sometimes filled from high water in an anabranch of the Darling River, to the east. Since the flow of the Darling was heavily controlled by irrigation schemes and diversions, even in good years, the lake was more often dry than not.

The dry bed of Lake Popiltah

The large rest area would probably be fine for an overnight camp, with plentiful shade trees, including some of the cypress pines that I love, and a view out over the dry lake area. There was plenty of room to spread out. There were long drop toilets – rather “on the nose”. The rest stop was close to the road, though, and traffic noise might be obvious at night. However, it was great for a lunch break.

Lunch stop Lake Popiltah Rest Area

I can’t say that the southern approach to Broken Hill is all that attractive, skirting as it does the first of the large mining operations. I navigated us through to the Broken Hill City Caravan park, on the Adelaide road.

After discount, our site cost $22.50 a night. The sites were fairly small, the surface was wood chips – a good idea in this arid environment, where grass is not feasible. Wood chips do not get tracked into the van like small gravel does. Gets my tick of approval.

Since it was only mid  afternoon by the time we had set up, (Broken Hill operates on SA time, so we’d gained time) we decided to check out some galleries. Drove to the Boris Hlavica photography gallery where I had, on our last visit, bought a superb photo of Lake Eyre at dusk. I wanted to see what might be new there, and show the works to M. Although she had been through Broken Hill before, she had not been here. I managed to be quite disciplined, and bought only a card to send off for step daughter’s birthday.

We then tried to find a couple of advertised galleries that sold aboriginal art works. One was closed, and the other had moved. By this time, we couldn’t be bothered trying to track it down, so went back to camp, for the usual leisurely end to the day.


Leave a comment

2005 Travels September 29

THURSDAY 29 SEPTEMBER     BROKEN HILL

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.

Resize of IMGP1488

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.


Leave a comment

2005 Travels September 28

WEDNESDAY 28 SEPTEMBER     BROKEN HILL

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.

Resize of IMGP1490

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.

Resize of IMGP1487

Looks better without reflections on the glass!

We were definitely expending our earnings on lasting items!


Leave a comment

2005 Travels September 27

TUESDAY 27 SEPTEMBER     BROKEN HILL

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.

Resize of 09-27-2005 09 Desert Sculptures Broken Hill

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.

Resize of 09-27-2005 14 Desert Sculptures Broken Hill

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

Resize of 09-27-2005 12 Desert Sculptures Broken Hill

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

Resize of 09-27-2005 08 Desert Sculptures Broken Hill

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

Resize of 09-27-2005 11 Desert Sculptures Broken Hill


Leave a comment

2005 Travels September 25

SUNDAY 25 SEPTEMBER     BROKEN HILL

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.

Resize of 06-30-2013 11 Broken Hill from Line of Lode


Leave a comment

2005 Travels September 24

SATURDAY 24 SEPTEMBER     BROKEN HILL

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.

Resize of 09-24-2005 John turns 65

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.


Leave a comment

2005 Travels September 22

THURSDAY 22 SEPTEMBER   RAWNSLEY PARK TO BROKEN HILL   460kms

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.

Resize of 09-22-2005 01 Waukaringa ruins

The road south – Waukaringa

Resize of 09-22-2005 02 Waukaringa ruins

Hotel ruins Waukaringa

Resize of 09-22-2005 03 Waukaringa ruins

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.

Resize of 09-22-2005 to bh