Monday, 13 June 2011

From Hastings to Broken Hill

Left Hastings as planned on Monday - early afternoon - and made it to Wedderburn where we had an overnight stop. Nice friendly, dog-loving people at the park and so Jessie became the centre of attention lapping up all the pats and admiration. On Tuesday we had a long drive up to Mildura and over the river to Wentworth. All along the way much evidence of the severe flooding that that area of Victoria had suffered only a few months back. Charlton has especially been affected with many insurance companies managing to find a tiny clause in the policy to avoid paying up. Makeshift signs line the road: "AAMI - Not lucky", "Elders - thanks for nothing", "CGU - 0" etc. etc. The local people believe they have been forgotten - the publicity re their plight come and gone. Such a sad situation.

Driving on up from Wentworth we stopped for a cuppa at a roadside layby, and met a truckie with his dad and son driving up to Broken Hill with a load of (I think) cardboard flat packs and also towing a trailer full of butternut pumpkins. Guess who was given a free pumpkin? People are always ready to stop for a chat and already we've met some really lovely people on the road.

Broken Hill - arrived Wednesday afternoon and found a lovely caravan park with excellent facilities. Brilliant blue sky day but a bitterly cold wind blowing. Drove about 20 minutes from BH on Thursday morning to Silverton - an old mining town and had a good look around the area. A few 19th century stone cottages, a pub and several churches remain, but with it's classic outback scenery the town has been used for settings for a few films including Mad Max II and the "A Town Like Alice" TV series. The old RC Church (St.Carthage!?!) is the same one that is on my Arthur Lindsay oil painting which I've always loved.

Really enjoyed our few days in sunny Broken Hill even though there was a bitterly cold wind. The Art galleries were beautiful - especially Pro Hart and Jack Absolem galleries. The Miner's Memorial situated high up on what was the mined-out Broken Hill, displayed the names of all miners who had died since the mining began there. A beautiful restaurant nearby also perched high up on the hill and overlooking the town was good for a coffee stop one day. Another place enjoyed was Bell's Milkbar (You've landed in the 50s!) - retro milkbar with great milkshakes/floats/spiders and waffles. 1950s Decor with laminex tables and chairs, 1950s music, syrups/cordials, old fashioned sweets - remember Old Gold chocolates and boxes of Winning Post chocs?? Great fun.

I called in one day at the Broken Hill Family History Group premises and had a lovely chat with the ladies on duty. Very small room packed with filing cabinets, index card drawers and 2 computers. The amount of indexing and collecting of local history that they do is incredible. Much is recorded on index cards which they find easier than collating onto a computer program. All the schools in the area have a series of lever-arch files containing photos of all year levels of every year. They are attempting to add names to all the class photos. Total membership is about 60 with about 10 doing all the hard work! (But very happily, I might add).

The Railway Historical Museum was a must-see especially for Peter and I went along for a casual look-see. Was well and truly rewarded when I came around a corner to be confronted with a huge lathe inscribed "John Lang & Sons, Johnstone". Almost fell over in shock as this company was my Scottish grandmother's family firm. I had researched quite a bit about the company when in Paisley, Scotland last year but the firm now no longer exists. What a incredible find. It really made my day.

Finally, after all our sightseeing, it was time to move on - next to South Australia - Peterborough, Port Augusta and all points north.

No comments:

Post a Comment