Our journey on the Indian Pacific included some interesting off-train excursions. The first morning, we were supposed to arrive early in Broken Hill and watch the sunrise over the city from the lookout of the Miners’ Memorial. Unfortunately, the train was running an hour late and the sun had risen
by the time we pulled into the station.
I had been looking forward to discovering Broken Hill after reading a wonderful book, ‘Silver Dreams’, by Pam Bayfield who grew up there. My first impression was the rear view of the Theatre Royal Hotel
before boarding the coach for a tour of the town. The Theatre Royal Hotel was established in 1886
and within a few years there were seventy pubs to choose from. The Palace Hotel was originally a coffee house, built in 1889 by the Temperance Movement in an attempt to curb the drinking by the miners.
Within three years, the Palace became a regular drinking den and gained more recent infamy thanks to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
The ABC radio station was adorned with an impressive mural featuring some of the city’s best known personalities.
We passed the Pro Hart Gallery
and the house he had lived in, just next door.
The Igloo House, as it is affectionately known, was built for Pro Hart in the early 1980s, (also known as Cleavage Corner!).
The sun was casting a warming glow as we continued our tour, shining beatifically on Sacred Heart Cathedral
and the narrow gauge rail cars at the Sulphide Street Railway Museum.
We were surprised to see what appeared to be a mine shaft in the middle of town. The Kintore Headframe is a retired wooden headframe from the 1800s and was relocated to Kintore Reserve in 1984.
The Centennial Hotel was established in 1889. A favourite with the shearers, it closed in 1990.
The Trades Hall has been the home of the union movement in Broken Hill since it was built in 1905. It is the first privately owned Trades Hall in the Southern Hemisphere, built and paid for entirely by the people of Broken Hill.
We were driven to the top of the Line of Lode mullock heap, 54 metres above the city. The Miners’ Memorial building faces east-west, capturing the rising and setting of the sun. The walls are lined with the names of over 800 miners who lost their lives working in the Broken Hill mines.
The old poppet head at the Line of Lode still stands
and there are far reaching views over Broken Hill and the outback beyond.
Our time in Broken Hill was brief and we soon boarded the train for a hearty breakfast
and a relaxing day enjoying the scenery.
Visit Pam’s website to find out more about her life and books. http://www.pambayfield.com.au/silver-dreams.html