Only a Few Days Left of School…

It is hard to believe that Dani’s school year – his first in Australia – is coming to an end. It really doesn’t seem 10 months ago that we took him for his first day in a new school, in a new county. I think it is fair to say that he has settled in quite well. Kids that age do settle in easily to new environments. Even if they think it is the end of the world having to move schools. Although in this case his new school was at the other end of the world!!

As this week draws to an end he only has three more days left as they finish on Wednesday of next week.

Big Friday

“Next Friday is a massive day dad”. So he told me last week. The reason it was such a huge deal was that the school prize-giving day for various things such as singing and musical instruments. It was also the school House awards. There are three Houses all named after local beaches; Bondi, Bronte and Coogee. When he arrived in the school he was put in Coogee and would you believe it they won the House competition this year. So all members of Coogee house got to go to the cinema on Friday. In the case of Dani’s year they had the choice of swimming lessons or cinema – as Friday is their physical education day. It’s not difficult to know which one most went for is it? Going to the cinema is so much not school, even when compared to going to an off-campus swimming centre.

Which reminds me, I also took the opportunity to go to the cinema on Friday and have a review to post for the movie ‘Fatman’. Watch out for it…

Belt Grading

It was also a big day for the kids who take Taekwondo as an extra curricular activity. They had their belt grading. For Dani it was just his first belt but he was very excited about his yellow belt. Let’s hope he maintains an interest in that kind of activity as it definitely does a lot for youngsters. It is not only great for fitness and self defence but also for discipline.

It turned out that Dani’s grading would not be until Tuesday. Not such a massive Friday then after all…

School Holidays

So now we are at the big summer holidays. He has almost two months off school and some of the places we thought about visiting are once again re-opening and then re-closing their borders. Yes it’s that bloody covid-1984 crap again!

There seems no end to the amount of crap the politicians will come out with. Like the virus really is something we should be scared of – which for the vast majority of the population it really is not. Anyway, we are making some kind of plans for a trip to South Australia but that particular state suddenly seems to have had a load of “cases”. What??!! After ten bloody months? Who are they kidding? It truly is pathetic. Why would the state governments continue to stop tourism into their states during the school summer holidays? It makes no sense at all.

Plans B and C are being prepared as I type. You can be sure there will be a few posts about our adventures. Wherever those may be…

“That Was The Best Weekend of My Life”

How would you define the best weekend of your life? Well here’s what we did last weekend that gave my son reason to describe it in those slightly dramatic words… As only a young child can.

Saturday was Party Day

Although his seventh birthday was over a week before we had organised a little party for him on the Saturday so that his school mates had enough notice. After looking at a few possible venues and activities we went for something a little different. We held the party at a place called Cartoon Kingdom.

A morning of cartooning for the small group of friends he invited. We invited eight but only five could make it. No worries. In fact even better as the kids then had more attention from the cartoon teachers. they generally come to you with all the materials but a our place is too small (too cluttered really!) they were willing to accommodate the small group of kids. Here is a link to their website: https://www.illustrating-man.com/

As it was so different from the usual monkey house play areas these kids go to for parties, I think they really enjoyed it. They all made their own unique cartoon design baseball cap too. Here is the one Dani made… A great party souvenir for the summer sun.

Cartoon Design Baseball cap

After a bit of birthday cake everyone dispersed. But we had another party to go to. So off we went to the apartment of one of Dani’s mums’ colleagues – it was his sons (21st) birthday. That was an afternoon of eating, drinking and playing games. And of course Dani received lots more presents.

From being a little worried about him missing his family in Europe over his birthday I had now gone to thinking that he had far too many presents and where was he going to keep them. There’s no pleasing some people is there? Typical old parent stuff eh..

Sunday

After a morning playing with some of his new toys on a local beach – one was a frisbee – we still needed to make it to the pet store before it closed. We had prepared the small aquarium and now needed some fish to put in it. After a lot of persuasion Dani decided for the small tetra fish. Just as well as I doubt anything else would have survived this long (now 4 days)…

They are in there somewhere… honest

So now he has his first pets. Let’s see how long they survive. On the plus side of course they are actually quite relaxing to watch. I also have learned quite a bit already – having never had tropical fish before, so it’s all good stuff… We are already looking at adding a couple of new fish, a different species.

By the end of day, after practicing some of his newly acquired cartoon drawing skills, Dani laid back and came out with it: “That was the best weekend of my life.”

So there you go. that’s how a seven year old sees it. Funny, and a little over dramatic I think. However, it was quite a busy two days. I’m just glad he like it. How was yours?

The Cape St. George Lighthouse Story

During a recent trip to the Jervis Bay area we managed to visit the Booderee National Park which was closed when we holidayed in the area last Easter. One of the more unusual sites in the park area is the ruined remains of the Cape St. George Lighthouse. Here is the story of that ill-fated lighthouse. It is a tale of deception, undoubtedly corruption and cowboy builders. But it should also stand as a lesson for today’s public spending… Or should that be misspending?

A Crazy Lighthouse Story

How the Lighthouse would have looked in all its glory

Between 1805 and 1855 there were five ships wrecked off the coast of Jervis Bay. The need for a lighthouse was clear and the recommendation to build one in the vicinity was made in 1856. However, despite the fact that the Pilots Board, which was the controlling authority, was not consulted, £5000 were allocated and a tender was accepted. No corruption of the public purse there then eh?

Controversy began even before it was built. The Board received numerous reports questioning the angles of visibility of the site from the north and south. Even its proposed and actual locations were brought into question. They eventually proved to be five miles apart!

When the Pilots Board examined the site, they reported that the initial map suffered from “discrepancies of so grave a character that it is impossible to decide whether either position marked on the map really exists.” They also questioned whether the facility would even be visible from the required approaches – standard stuff for a lighthouse wouldn’t you think? Nevertheless, despite these facts and further disagreement by a majority of the Board, the lighthouse was commissioned on 1st October 1860. There must have been a few brown envelopes stuffed with pound notes being passed around, that’s all I can say…

Approaching the Cape St. George Lighthouse

Cowboy Builders

It seems that the choice of location was one of ease of construction – and therefore maximum profit for those concerned – rather than being the best spot for a lighthouse. As a result the light was not visible from the northern approach to Jervis Bay, and was barely visible from the southern approach. When the Pilots Board inspected it they found that the contractor built the lighthouse 2.5 miles north of the intended site. It was closer to the quarry where he was extracting the stone from. Classic cowboy builders stuff! It’s almost hilarious until you realise that this type of thing still goes on.

The ruins left as a tourist spot but sadly not as a lesson in the misuse of public funds
“Not another lighthouse” – the kid’s take on it…

More Wrecks…

From 1864 to 1893 there were thirteen ships wrecked on the South Coast in the Jervis Bay area. The lighthouse was clearly not doing what it was intended to.  So, by 1899 a new lighthouse at Point Perpendicular was built at the opposite side of the Jervis Bay entrance.

Point Perpendicular Lighthouse is on the far side of Jervis Bay opposite

Even after the the new lighthouse was commissioned there was some confusion due to  having two towers in close proximity to one another. It was thought that it could be hazardous to navigation in daylight, especially during bad weather. As a result, the Cape St George tower was demolished but the ruins remain as a tourist attraction.

On 22 June 2004 the lighthouse ruins were listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List and is a popular tourist spot. Even without the ruins this site has fantastic natural views.

All that remains of the old tower
A haunting site in some ways

And so to today…

This is an excellent example of how many projects are still run today. I should know. I have been around long enough and been on enough totally f*#ked up projects to know that now sadly, this kind of thing is almost the norm. Food for thought when you are wondering how the government or council is spending your hard earned taxes!

Kioloa and back

Kioloa

As always last weekend seemed short but the more I think about writing this post I realise we did quite a lot.

Last weekend we spent a couple of nights in a cabin in Kioloa right next to Kioloa Beach. The site was cheap and it was only after booking it that I discovered why. There was only tank stored water (no mains) and only shared shower facilities. No worries though. For a quick trip why should that matter? Still, I need to read these things properly in future before booking…

Kioloa Beach

Close to the boat ramp at Kioloa Beach

We even saw stingrays coming in close to the boat ramp whenever a small fishing boat returned. They have learned that when there is a catch, some fishermen cut up the fish before pulling their boats out of the water and throw body parts overboard.

Mobs of Kangaroos

The holiday site was a great place for watching kangaroos. There were plenty of them. There seemed to be one large ‘mob’ (yes that’s what you call a group of kangaroos) – or maybe two – that just seemed to like hanging around on this site. I nearly tripped over one at one point. I didn’t see it until it jumped up and bounced off. It had been lying in the dust and was almost the same grey/brown colour.

In fact this would be a great place for anyone wishing to make a wildlife documentary about the life of kangaroos or anyone who simply wants to study their behaviour etc… Take note animal lovers and check out the link below.

Looking out onto Merry Beach bay

Batemans Bay

A little further south lies the town of Batemans Bay. It cannot be described as pretty. It is modern and functional but definitely not as attractive as many places we have seen. The bay itself is long and wide and there are some picturesque spots to be found.

Entrance to Batemans Bay
One of the sculptures along the south bank of the bay

Maybe the immediate area needs a closer look? Hard to say with such a quick stopover. This is now the furthest south we have ventured in NSW.

Back via Jervis Bay

When it was time to head back to Sydney we drove via Jervis Bay. The last time we were here was for a holiday over the Easter period. That was just as the travel ban and ‘lockdown’ had kicked in so it was very quiet and most of the shops and businesses were closed back then. It certainly looks a busy place now though and I am sure it will be crowded during the rest of the spring and summer.

The last time we were in these parts the Booderee National Park was closed to the public. It sits at the southern side of the bay and it was now fairly busy. We headed for one of the many beaches in the park area – Cave Beach. So called because there are a couple of caves at one end of the beach. Nothing clever about naming conventions here eh?

Superb Cave Beach
View from behind Cave Beach dunes
It’s a climb up the sand to get off the beach
One of the caves at Cave Beach
…and the other cave.

After that we went to see an old lighthouse – or what was left of it more like. The Cape St. George lighthouse is sadly a classic case of how public money was (and still is) wasted. It has its own bizarre story… I will do a separate follow-up post on this one.

Good old Google Maps!

Thanks to google maps we decided to change our return journey via a longer but less crowded route that took us via Kangaroo valley. We never stopped there but it looks a really nice place. One for the near future for sure. It was a scenic route with plenty of those hairpin bends to get up and over the mountains. The journey then took us past the Fitzroy Falls. Now if there is one thing I like to see on my travels, wherever I have been in the world over the years, it is a good waterfall…

Fitzroy Falls

This impressive waterfall leaps from a 120 metre escarpment in the Morton National Park. The official height of the falls is noted as 81 metres – which must be the just first (main) drop as there is a second drop into the valley below. Either way it’s bloody high when viewed from the top.  The setting is perfect with the waterfall and the path of the river below framed with lush green valleys and stark sandstone rocks.

They have even made a walkway that goes almost right out over the drop of the falls. Very nice if you have a head for heights. But you can also get another – perhaps better – perspective  from opposite with a short walk through the forest.

Fitzroy Falls from above
A good vantage point opposite the Falls
The river plunges into the lush valley below…
There are always weird and wonderful trees to be found in the forests
Termite hill at the Fitzroy Falls

 

The first European settler to see it was Charles Throsby, in the early 19th century. The waterfall was named in honour of Sir Charles Fitzroy, then Governor of New South Wales, when he visited the area in 1850. Fitzroy Falls became is a popular stopping point for tourists travelling towards the Southern Highlands; an area that definitely warrants further exploration.

And just for good measure here is a short video of the falls…

Not the best or biggest waterfall I have seen in terms of either height or volume, but a beautiful one all the same. And, up to now, the best one I have seen in Australia…

Link

In case anyone is interested, here is a link to the place we stayed: http://kioloabeachholidaycabins.com.au/

 

Return from Broken Hill

After several fantastic days in Broken Hill it was time to return to Sydney. I decided to take a few photographs from the plane to show how the landscape below changes. The plane flew first to Dubbo and then on to Sydney. The photos are collected in a video montage below…

But, just before leaving…

Flying Doctors

Right next to the Broken Hill airport is the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) base. There is a huge network of flying doctors servicing the outback and remotest areas of the country. I can still remember first learning about this amazing service at school on the other side of the world. That was way back when I was Dani’s age – some 50 years ago! It fascinated me then and still does…

Royal Flying Doctor Service logo

The flying doctor service began in 1927 when a Presbyterian Pastor called Reverend John Flynn came up with the idea. Now there are 23 Flying Doctor bases and 77 aircraft around the country.  The original name was the Australian Aerial Medical Service but that was soon changed to The Flying Doctor Service of Australia. It was when Queen Elizabeth II visited this very base at Broken Hill in 1954 that the service was given Royal assent and was thereafter known as the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

One of the RDFS planes

Return Flight Video

When I booked the train to Broken Hill I realised we couldn’t take the train back to Sydney as we were not going to spend 8 days there – the trains only run there on Mondays and back on Tuesdays. So I booked a one way flight back to Sydney. Great for saving time but not cheap.

I later realised that for the same price (or less) we could have taken a one way car hire to Dubbo and then taken the daily operating train from there. We could have driven back and stopped off at a few places – one for the night. Isn’t hindsight great eh? Maybe next time.

Anyway here is a condensed video of the return flight made up of photographs of the changing landscape from Broken Hill to Sydney – in 3 minutes . Enjoy…

Broken Hill – Part 4

Part four of our trip to the NSW outback town of Broken Hill. In this post we visited the Line of Lode Miner’s Memorial and the border with South Australia…

The Line of Lode Miner’s Memorial seen from the north side of town. The slag-heap dominates the area

Line of Lode

One thing that stands out in Broken Hill is the Line of Lode Miner’s Memorial. It stands atop the huge slag heap just behind the railway station and splits the town into the north and (newer) south sides. You can see it from almost everywhere on the outskirts of the town.

Line of Lode Miner’s Memorial

At the top of the slagheap the Line of Lode Miner’s Memorial is a walk through wall of remembrance to those who died working in the mines while making the area rich. Over 800 miners lost their lives working in the Broken Hill mines.

A sample of the many miners who lost their lives working in the Broken Hill mines

The wall of remembrance…

While the miner’s memorial is both sobering and dramatic, the views across the town from up here are also dramatic.

Broken Hill backdrop

This chair really is that big!

Roos – Dead or Alive 

We never saw many kangaroos. I expected to see more having seen so many from the train window. One day, early evening, we headed off to the outskirts of town looking for emus. I had seen them from the train also but no luck near the town. However, we did see live kangaroos and then a dead one. In fact it was a skeleton of a kangaroo and we almost fell over it by accident.

This kangaroo has a saggy pouch with a large Joey that needs kicking out!

Kangaroo skeleton. Hardly any flesh remaining. Gruesome sight.

It just shows, life is tough out here folks!. Rather than being scared Dani wanted to take one of its bones. I took a couple of photos but I drew the line at that request.

Another street named after chemicals and elements. Didn’t they used to put this one in the tea of soldiers to curb their sexual urges?

On the way to the Border

On the way to the NSW border with South Australia there is an interesting site that most people probably pass without even knowing it is there. It is a huge solar power station and shows that this old fashioned mining town is as up to date as anywhere.

The AGL Solar Power station

Broken Hill Solar Plant is run by a company called AGL and has a 53 Mega Watt capacity. In simple terms that means it can produce enough electricity to meet the needs of 22,000 average Australian homes each year.

They have a viewing platform but guess what? Yep! Closed! That bloody covid crap again…. Fortunately you get to appreciate how many solar panels there are when returning to Broken Hill from the border. At times it looks like a huge wall then, if the sun catches it right, it looks like a large lake. Clearly in this region they have both the sun and the space to build more of these power stations.

En-route to the South Australia border we stopped when something caught my eye. Many places in towns and cities now have little boxes or cabinets at the side of the street where you can take an old book – and generally leave one for someone else to read. Street libraries I believe they call them. Well this thing was officially calling itself a ‘Bush Library’.

Bush Library in the middle of nowhere

An old fridge painted bright pink in the middle of nowhere? We had to take a closer look. Sure enough there were books inside… Needless to say we both thought it was amusing.

Bush Library open for business…

At the Border

The border with South Australia is about 50 km from Broken Hill. The sign may say “Welcome to South Australia” but I do not think people from NSW were in fact welcome at all. Maybe now they are but a month or so back it was still on covid-1984 rules. If you are from NSW keep out.

There is a police station just inside South Australia (behind the sign) but nobody there (it seemed) and traffic – particularly lorries – was passing between the two states frequently enough (for these parts).

Welcome? Really? Not sure…

The Border Gate Cafe is another one of those famous landmarks that is often used in films and TV commercials.

The Border Gate Café

Dani, one foot in each state.

Just behind the Border Gate Café is the railway line that links the two states. Although at the time no trains were passing this stretch of track…

That way to Adelaide…
The railway line into South Australia

We had a little drive into South Australia and turned back. It would have been great to drive all the way to Adelaide but we just didn’t have the time…

Seven Years Old Today

Daniel was seven yesterday. Due to the time difference it is still his birthday back in Europe as I post this article. I can remember in great detail when he was born. It certainly doesn’t seem like seven years ago. Where does the time go? I have spent a lot of time with him over this past year (an odd year, admittedly with this covid1984 crap) it still seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye.

Year in Australia – almost

His school year is fast coming to an end. His first in Australia. Maybe his last school year here if we do not stay. He is quite happy here but at that age changing schools is nothing. Sure, any seven year old will think it’s the end of the world having to move school and not see their friends. But after only a few days in a new school – or even country – they fit in, and make new friends easily. Dani has proved that already by coming over here.

We had expected to have some visitors during this past 10 months. Certainly for, or around, his birthday. But that covid nonsense put paid to that. (And still that crap goes on…)

One thing is for sure. This has been the hottest birthday he has had to date. Temperatures rose to around 26 degrees in Sydney yesterday.

Birthday Parties

We decided to give him a birthday party so he can invite his school buddies. Not in the apartment – that’s far too small. We have booked a place not too far from his school where they teach kids ‘cartooning’. Dani has made a list of 8 kids he wants to invite and so far most have accepted. I am sure they will all enjoy learning how to draw cartoons. They also organise games for them. That event will be in just over a week’s time.

On this, his big day, we just had our own little party and made sure that he called his families in Spain and the UK. The one thing that we can’t do unfortunately is get more of his family over here. I am sure he misses not seeing them – especially on his birthday – but he has handled it well.

Presents and Pets

He has recently been talking about having a pet dog. There is no way that is going to happen. Way too much responsibility! Over the weeks since he started mentioning it I have managed to negotiate him down to a fish. Not one but a few actually. And so on this his seventh birthday he has a tropical fish tank.

All we need to do now is set it up and go and buy the little fish. He calls it a ‘starter pet’. I told him if he manages to keep the fish alive he may be able to graduate to a hamster or a gerbil. Then a rabbit and then – maybe – a dog.  I am fairly sure the fish will not last very long, but admittedly that is a bit of a gamble on my part. More on that one as and when (and if) it happens…

Extra Gift?

Would you believe it. I bought him two DVDs (one of which was Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) but they don’t work on our DVD player. The one that came over from Spain. I could have sworn that I checked the formats before it was packed but obviously not. Australia is “Region 4”, while Europe is “Region 2”.

The other week when we returned from Broken Hill, I managed to get the Mad Max 2 movie on DVD from the local library. It worked on our DVD player!! That must have just been some fluke right? Anyway today I also had to buy a new DVD player for the amazing price of $55. Hardly expensive eh? But now we can watch Bill & Ted. Excellent!!!

 

 

Broken Hill. In and Around – Part 3

This is part three of our trip to the city of Broken Hill in the far west of New South Wales.

Desert Art 

I have already mentioned that there are plenty of art galleries in Broken Hill. But the artistic theme in this part of the world has been taken to another level in an exhibition of sculptures about 15 minutes drive out of Broken Hill. Into a place called ‘The Living Desert State Park’.

Broken Hill in the distance

The ‘Living Desert’ is set in the Barrier Ranges and is located 12km from Broken Hill. It is a 2400ha reserve and was established in 1992 by the city council, initially for the protection of native flora and fauna.

On top of the highest hill inside the reserve are the 12 sandstone sculptures, created in 1993 by various artists from all over the world. This is now one of the top attractions in the NSW Outback and another example of how an industrial town like Broken Hill has become entwined with both art & nature.

Stunning scenery in The Living Desert

IT’s not difficult to see why this place is a big hit with the tourists. For me however it was interesting but nothing special. The scenery that Mother Nature put here is more than adequate for me.

Bells Milk Bar, A Broken Hill Icon

As soon as I read about this place I put it on our itinerary. An easy sell to a six year old kid too. I was never going to have to drag him there was I?
“Do you want to go for a milk shake Dan?”
Sorted… Simple as that.

Bells Milk Bar

Original 1950s counter and utensils

Classic 1950s decor

Bells is known as one of the longest continuously running businesses in Broken Hill.  Originally it was called Fenton’s confectioner and cordial maker in 1892. Then in the early 1900s it was known as Longmans. When Minnie Pearl (Pearly) Longman survived her husband John who was killed in the first world war) she later remarried Les Bell and Bells was born…  From 1938 to 1953 the place went through several changes. The most dramatic design alteration was in 1956 and this is largely how the site remains today.

Older readers will recognise these old brands

A living, working museum

A typical 1950s kitchen in the museum part of the milk bar.

I had to explain how this old TV worked…

Considering the Broken Hill area has been used in so many movies I am surprised I have not read about this place being used in movies or TV or commercials. It would be perfect for a film set in the 1950s. Does anyone know if it has been used as a movie location? Please let us know.

Dani was ‘ere. Bells Milk Bar, October 2020

Another room in Bells

And yes. The milk shakes are excellent. I would definitely have another!

White Rocks Site

This is an odd one. It is also hard not to find it a little funny but there were deaths and injuries involved so bear with me…

The story goes that this spot was the scene of a gun battle during the First World War – the only hostilities on Australian soil during the that war . On New Year’s Day 1915 two Turkish sympathisers opened fire and shot at the train that was carrying some 1200 people. Four train passengers died and several more injured in the attack. The attackers were an ice cream seller, Gool Mahomed, and a butcher, Mullah Abdullah.  They then took refuge at this site while heading back to the Afghan camel site. Police and the volunteer rifles engaged the attackers and killed them.

Obviously a serious incident but the funny part for me is the replica ice cream cart. Clearly never meant to be a kid’s climbing frame…

White Rocks. The Quartz outcrop just outside Broken Hill and scene of Australia’s only hostilities during the First World War

The incident took place right at the edge of town

Full size replica of the infamous ice cream cart

The regeneration area outside of town

More to come from the Broken Hill area in Part Four…

In case you missed the earlier posts you can see Part One here and Part Two here.
The post on the Daydream Mine tour is here.
Also search for the three posts on the nearby ‘ghost town’ of Silverton.

The Fascinating ‘Ghost Town’ of Silverton – Part Three

Silverton – Part Three

Here is the third part of our trip in and around Silverton. This may be the last one on this town. I took enough photographs to keep going but it may just get boring… So here goes…

School and Churches

Like all good towns Silverton had a school house and more than one church. The restored buildings still stand proudly in the sparse streets. The old school is packed (perhaps a little too much) with old books and desks crammed side by side. It looks not unlike some of the older school buildings that were around when I was a kid actually.

Inside the old school house

Dani. Where he belongs

The old Silverton school

Silverton, like every Australian town built in the same era, had several places of worship. Here are a couple of examples that still stand. Note the old VW Beetle framed by St. Carthage catholic church. Someone must have picked up a job lot of those cars and dropped them off in Silverton.

St. Carthage Catholic church

St. Carthage Catholic church (again)

VW Beetle at St. Carthage Catholic church

I think this next building is (was) the Presbyterian church. It looks like it is being restored to its former glory.

Another old church undergoing some restoration work.

Art and Artistic cars

Old Volkswagen Beetles seem to be a theme around Silverton these days. There are several positioned about the town. They have probably been there quite some time of course. These are the old original model/shape…

A couple of VW Beetles dressed up as art

Some call this art…

Others might call it a wrecked car… Each to their own eh?

Art Galleries…

There are plenty of art galleries around here too. Like Broken Hill. Again I am not sure why that should be apart from the obvious thing. The scenery is probably inspiring to artists, just as it is to the non-artists like myself. Simple really!

Inside one of the art galleries housed in a semi restored building

Outside one of the art galleries (that we never entered) was this statue of the infamous outlaw Ned Kelly. Only I doubt he would have gone along with all this coronavirus bullshit and wore a mask when told to do so by some idiot politician. Still Dani found it funny. The thing I find funny about anything showing Ned Kelly in that homemade helmet is whenever I see a representation of it I can’t get that awful film out of my mind; the one where Mick Jagger played Kelly – or tried to play the part more like! What a dreadful acting performance that was! Funny how things like that really stick in your mind eh? Great singer, songwriter and stage performer but a garbage actor!

Dani with Ned Kelly (in his covid days)

Another classic ghost town scene…

…and another…

So that – along with parts one and two – was Silverton, the original outback town. I hope you enjoyed reading about it and seeing the pictures.

In case you missed them…You can see part one here and part two here.

The Fascinating ‘Ghost Town’ of Silverton – Part Two

Part Two – but I think there will be more…

More history and photos from the fascinating “ghost town” of Silverton

Silverton Cemetery

This should really be included in the ‘Silverton Part One’ post, as we stopped here just before entering Silverton. There is a road sign that points you to the Silverton Cemetery. So, we went to take a look.

I know what you may be thinking. This may be an eerie place to start our visit to Silverton but I had seen photographs of the place and it just looked bloody interesting. They have even erected a kind of commemorative wall at the entrance to greet visitors.

Commemorative wall that greets visitors

Plaque at the entrance

We have visited Sad Hill Cemetery north of Madrid in the past but that was only a fictional movie set (from ‘The Good The Bad and The Ugly’ – read that post here). That said, I think this place could be used to great effect in movies of a certain genre. there is something about it… It would not look out of place in an old Western movie.

There is something beautiful about the place even though it is also very sad and a little spooky. It is a reminder of just how tough our forefathers had it.  Especially the type of people who founded and settled remote places like this. Not many died of old age. Mining accidents and typhoid claimed a lot of lives.

Not all the graves are old. There was one there from only last year (2019). I took a photo but won’t publish it here out of respect as it was so recent.

Mad Max 2 Museum

Among the various movies that have used Silverton and its surroundings as a location one has stood out more than any other. So much so that two British fans of the movie decided to set up a museum. That film was ‘Mad Max 2, The Road Warrior‘. It was filmed in and around Silverton with many of the several car chase scenes being filmed just a few kilometres out of town at the Mundi Mundi outlook.

The Mad Max 2 Museum

Is that Max in there?

One of the many cars on display – behind fencing for their own protection (of course)

One of the bad guys about to meet his end

One of the many cars on display – behind fencing for their own protection (of course)

It costs $10 to enter but well… when you are this far out why would you not pay and go in?  I think everyone else who visited Silverton that day thought the same as me. It was very a busy little museum. My son obviously had never seen the movie but he enjoyed the museum.

One of the sand buggies from the film

Another one of the bad guys that comes a cropper

This place is a petrol-heads’ dream…

Mundi Mundi Lookout

Just a short ride further on from Silverton is the Mundi Mundi Lookout.

The lookout sits on top of the Barrier Ranges. From here you can stare out across Mundi Mundi Station with views stretching all the way into South Australia. It is a mesmerising sight that gives you some idea of how large this country is. So much space out there…

View from the Mundi Mundi lookout

Another view from the lookout

And another…

Anyone who has seen Mad Max 2 will recognise the long stretch of road ahead from several car chase scenes in the movie. In the opening chase scene Max is seen standing next to the Mundi Mundi sign. Yes, of course I went and watched the movie as soon as we returned. I had only seen it once and that was many years ago on a VHS video rental.

Dani at the sign

The road featured in Mad Max 2

You don’t have to go too far off the highway to run into some real red earth roads either.

Unsealed roads look like this in this part of the world

Silverton Tramway Company

Just outside Silverton, and just visible from the road, lies part of the remains of the Silverton Tramway. You can see a section of the lines along with an old station building and platform.

The Tram stop in the direction of Broken Hill

The rails are still there but clearly haven’t been used for some time

Facing Silverton

The Silverton Tramway station

As the town grew  a railway line was needed to transport the ore mined from the Broken Hill. Broken Hill may be in New South Wales but it is some 1100km from Sydney. However, it is very close to the border with South Australia and only some 500m from Adelaide. In those days the states made their own railways and needed permission to cross into the neighbouring state. The South Australian Government constructed a line as far as the border, but the NSW Government decided against extending the line into their state. Not to be put off, local entrepreneurs formed the Silverton Tramway Company to build and operate the line. And basically just got on with it. They really were a resourceful lot in those days eh? The line opened in 1888 and ran from Cockburn (right on the border), through Silverton and on to the newly discovered Broken Hill. The line operated up until 1970. These days the railway line runs from Cockburn right into Broken Hill (to be shown in a future post).