Monday, October 15, 2012

Mon 15 Oct - Broken Hill NSW

Today, we were planning to see more of the attractions close to and within Broken Hill.

First up was Living Desert Sculpture Garden, a set of sandstone sculpture on a hill called Sunset Hill some 5 km north of Broken Hill. Given that today was expected to be very warm, if not hot, it seemed like a good idea to start off with this.

Entrance fee was by honor box, $10 per car, and you then drove a winding slow road up the hill to this, just magnificent place.

A truly eclectic mix of sculptors, both white and aboriginal Australians, Syrians, Georgian and even 2 Mexicans.

A great new expression crossed our path here. While the sculptors were doing their work here, it was all quiet, with kangaroos around them, except for the "odd inquisitive soul", see board below. Great expression.

Even a bit of horse art here...
It was starting to get hotter, so we took our way back to towards Broken Hill and stopped at the Pro Hart Gallery on the way. Pro Hart lived in Broken Hill for 77 years, and for the last many numbers of years, he lived where the gallery now sits.
What a guy. After entering the gates, the first thing you see is 2 Rolls Royces parked in one spot and 1 Rolls Royce and 1 Bentley in another. One of the Royces has been fully painted by the artist

Inside is much bigger that it appeared from the street. 3 levels and also going out towards the back. Part of the gallery is his studio, with stuff absolutely everywhere.

Lots of paintings from various parts of his life, including a dragonfly on a piece of Stainmaster carpet for those of you who remember that old ad. We asked what came first, the ad or the painting, and the answer was that the ad came first. The lady there didn't know why he painted on a separate piece of carpet after the event, but he must have had his reasons. Apparently, some people think that the piece of carpet is lifted from the ad (don't think so, as the food Pro used to "paint" would smell pretty awful by now).

Then it was definitely time for a break, and what better place for a mid morning cuppa than Bells Milkbar in South Broken Hill.

Bells Milkbar is a 1950 style milkbar in a spot that has provided refreshments for some 100 years or so. Probably very little has changed inside for the last 60 years or so. Milkshakes served traditional style and very good.

We then drove down to the CBD to get some cash and pay the NPWS a visit, as we are planning to go the national park for a few nights from tomorrow, and then on to Broken Hill public library where we are wiritng this.
Along the way, we passed... the Social Democratic Club!!! And I thought that Social Democratic was confined to Sweden and Germany, HA. One should not forget that Broken Hill and its mining is also one of the birthplaces of unionism in Australia.

Barrier comes from Barrier Highway, the main highway that crosses Broken Hill.

After the library, we decided on lunch. We knew that there was an Indian restaurant, Masallas, in an old disused and converted service station that had a curry deal for $10 including a cold drink. Sounds good.
Very interesting place.
They were selling a "Curry Chicken AK47" that had 30 chillies next to it when Beef Vindaloo only had 3. Some other interesting dishes on the menu like the "Bum Burner".
We spoke to the Indian lady who was clearly running the place, a really tough lady. The AK47 was unsurprisingly their signature dish and people did order it. She made chili paste herself.
We didn't order the AK47, but Goa Prawn Curry (Hans) and Lamb Jogan Rosh (Di). Very good and quite hot.
After lunch, we went to Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery just around the corner, established more than 100 years ago by one from the Syndicate of Seven. Nice old building in the centre of town, and a good cross section of work from Australian artists like Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin and Rubert Bunny.
No photos, not allowed.
Shopping for the next couple of days followed, and back to the camp for a cuppa and a rest.
We decided that a Broken Hill experience is incomplete without a visit to Palace Hotel, "where everything is a little bit different" as their slogan goes. Main claim to fame, of course, that it featured in the movie "Priscilla - Queen of the desert".
Fantastic old "rumble and tumble" art-deco place. Steak is the way to go here. And some very nice ones too.

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