Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

Broken Hill

So where does the name 'Broken Hill ' come from? The Broken Hill area was known by early pastoralists as “the broken hill” because of the jagged and rocky ridge that rose out of the otherwise flat or undulating countryside.

The Broken Hill lead-silver-zinc deposit is the largest ever discovered. A massive sulphide lode of over 200 million tonnes with 50 million tonnes of lead and zinc and 20000 tonnes of silver. It is not surprising that companies got very rich. The most successful was Broken Hill Propriety Ltd, which is now Australia's largest company, and the world's largest mining company.

But there were many problems along the way. Mining workers and their safety were not a large concern. The union movement did much for the mining workers, creating safer working conditions and fairer pay. But to do so they had to fight some drawn out and bitter strike actions. But there was also an undercurrent of radicalism in the union movement in Broken Hill. Some union leaders wanted to see BHP destroyed and a revolution brought about. These things probably distracted from the real task of improving conditions for the workers.

Eventually all mines run out of ore. It hasn't happened in Broken Hill yet, but the ore being mined now is of much lower grades and is harder to get. In order to remain competitive mine management has brought in high degrees of mechanisation and computer control. This has reduced the workforce from 4000+ 25 years ago to just 400. This is having a big effect on Broken Hill.

Broken Hill is having to look beyond its mining roots. They are actively involved in tourism, but tourism can't provide everything. Movies have been made in the area. Other options must also be looked at. Broken Hill is moving into a different future.

Afternoon sunlight lights up the white rocks at the White Rocks Reserve, Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia
Afternoon sunlight lights up the white rocks at the White Rocks Reserve, Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia. Walking through the White Rocks Reserve on the outskirts of Broken Hill, my wife saw the sunlight slipping through the clouds near the horizon. We waited for some time for the light to be just right. You can see her quite different shot of the same place in the picture below. June 2016.

White Rocks was the site of a gun battle between two Turkish sympathisers and police and members of the Volunteer Rifles on New Year's Day 1915. They had attacked a picnic train carrying 1200 people to Silverton. The 'Turks' (Actually Afghans from what is now northern Pakistan) sought refuge here on their way back to the Afghan camel camps. After a 3 hour gun battle they were both killed. Four other people were killed and seven wounded, in the only action on Australian soil in WW1. An earlier jihad, perhaps?

More info here.

Copyright © Willem Schultink

Afternoon sunlight lights up the white rocks at the White Rocks Reserve, Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia
Afternoon sunlight lights up the white rocks at the White Rocks Reserve, Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia. Walking through the White Rocks Reserve on the outskirts of Broken Hill, my wife saw the sunlight slipping through the clouds near the horizon. We waited for some time for the light to be just right. This is Trudi's picture. June 2016.

Copyright © Trudi Schultink

The white rocks at the White Rocks Reserve, where the men who attacked the train hid, Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia
The white rocks at the White Rocks Reserve, where the men who attacked the train hid, Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia. You can see why the attackers used this as a refuge. The white rocks form a natural battlement giving good protection. But they were never going to win against the superior numbers of the police and Volunteer Rifles. This tragic event was a small reminder of the much greater tragedies being fought at Gallipoli and in Europe. In the left middle ground you can see a replica of an ice cream cart owned by one of the men. June 2016.

Copyright © Willem Schultink

Mural of the re-enactment of the First Fleet, White's Mine, Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia
Mural of the re-enactment of the First Fleet, White's Mine, Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia. All of Kevin White's art is done using crushed ores and minerals sourced in Broken Hill, and glued to the surface. This gives a very unique painting style. This large mural of the First Fleet re-enactment on Sydney Harbour is several metres long. If you've got the space - and it will take an impressive lounge room wall to accommodate it - and $45 000 it can be yours! The rest of the museum is a very sobering introduction to the hard life of the miners in the early days of mining at Broken Hill. Kevin White, the artist, worked in the mines for 26 years. June 2016.

Copyright © Willem Schultink

Pro Hart's painted Rolls Royce, Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia
Pro Hart's painted Rolls Royce, Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia. Pro Hart was a multi-talented man, and used many canvasses for his paintings. Painting a Rolls Royce was a fairly unique canvas! Like his other paintings it brings out the essence, the 'vibe', of Broken Hill and its surrounding countryside. June 2016.

The tour of the art gallery, and the 'Tribute' video, were very interesting. But taking photos inside the gallery was not allowed and we respected that. So this is the only pic of his paintings that will appear here. There is a pic of one of his sculptures below.

Copyright © Willem Schultink

Pro Hart's 'Many Faces' sculpture, Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia
Pro Hart's 'Many Faces' sculpture, Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia. As we noted above, Pro Hart was a multi-talented - and energetic! - man. He discovered that he also liked working with steel in large sculptures. This sculpture shows the masks that he used in many of his paintings to show emotions without depicting actual persons. This sculpture appears in a park over the road from his gallery. June 2016.

Copyright © Willem Schultink

Steep track to the Sculptures, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

Steep track to the Sculptures, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia. The track to the Sculptures in the Living Desert just outside Broken Hill is quite steep. In places steep enough they had to seal it to prevent erosion causing dangerous sections.

If you would love to visit places like this, but have mobility issues, you might like to visit the Overlander Mobility website.

Copyright © Willem Schultink

Pew with a view, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

Pew with a view! That was a hard walk, with a number of necessary rest stops on the thoughtfully provided seats. Seats like this are essential for people with limited mobility to be able to complete the walk. For myself, without these places to rest I could not have done it! Full credit to those who manage this park for providing the seats. In my experience such thoughtfulness is rare.

If you would love to visit places like this, but have mobility issues, you might like to visit the Overlander Mobility website.

Copyright © Willem Schultink

The Broken Hill Sculptures, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia
The Broken Hill Sculptures, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia. The Broken Hill Sculpture Symposium was originally suggested by Lawrence Beck, a Gosford based sculptor to then Broken Hill mayor Peter Black. Lawrence reckoned that Broken Hill had a strong reputation in painting, it did not have much in sculpture. At the suggestion of Neil McGurry, the then Tourism Development Manager for the city council, Sundown Hill in the then being developed Living Desert reserve was adopted as a suitable site.

Some 53 tonnes of limestone was located near Wilcannia and trucked to the site. It was brought up to the hilltop on a massive four-wheel drive front end loader. Originally thought to last just a few days, the symposium actually went for weeks. Generous support from the city council, the Arts Council, and numerous individuals, the project began on 1 April 1993 and was finished in May 1993. June 2016.

Below are pictures of just a few of the sculptures. More may be added as we go. It relies on getting pictures that are of good enough quality.

Copyright © Willem Schultink

The Horse Sculpture, Broken Hill Sculptures, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia
The Horse Sculpture, Broken Hill Sculptures, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia. The Horse Sculpture was done by Jumber Jikaya, who was President of the Georgian Sculpture Society. The sculpture is a tribute to horses, and particularly to the Georgian horse breed. June 2016.

The bridle bit in the horse's mouth was created by Allan Carr, a retired blacksmith, who also kept all the tools of the sculptors sharp using an old fashioned manual grinding wheel. It is the contributions of people like Allan who make such projects possible

Copyright © Willem Schultink

The Angles of the Sun Sculpture, Broken Hill Sculptures, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia
The Angles of the Sun Sculpture, Broken Hill Sculptures, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia. Created by Valerian Jikaya, he describes his work as a 'device to measure time and light'. The eastern face reflects the moon; the western face the sun. Valerian sometimes worked at night to get the the right shadows for his sculpture. June 2016.

Copyright © Willem Schultink

Tiwi Totem Sculpture, Broken Hill Sculptures, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia
Tiwi Totem Sculpture, Broken Hill Sculptures, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia. Created by Gordon Pupangamirri, the sculpture represents a traditional Tiwi burial pole. You can see the progression in Gordon's technique as he develops his skill in his first attempt at working with stone. June 2016.

The Tiwi Islands lie about 80 kilometres north of Darwin. Consisting of two main islands, Bathurst Island and Melville Island, they are part of Australia's Northern Territory. You can read about some of the challenges facing the Tiwi people and the work done to address some of the with the development of Tiwi College here.

Copyright © Willem Schultink

Under the Jaguar Sun Sculpture, Broken Hill Sculptures, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia
Under the Jaguar Sun Sculpture, Broken Hill Sculptures, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia. Created by Antonio Nava Tirado, from Mexico, the sculpture represents the duality of night and day. The jaguar takes the sun in its mouth at night to protect it. June 2016.

Copyright © Willem Schultink

Moon Goddess Sculpture, Broken Hill Sculptures, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia
Moon Goddess Sculpture, Broken Hill Sculptures, Living Desert, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia. Conrad Clark, who created this sculpture, describes it himself: 'I worked around the rock discovering, within it, the moon. I recalled an Aboriginal legend of a woman who steals the moon and places it in a dilly bag. You can see the legend in the sculpture'. June 2016.

Copyright © Willem Schultink