Around the town of Broken Hill – Part One

We spent a coupe of days in total wandering around the town and its outskirts. Here is part one of a mixed montage of the things we saw and places we visited (in no particular chronological order). The first thing that strikes you about Broken Hill is that the place has so much to offer for such a small town.

Your Usual Tourist Attractions?

Consider the usual touristy things like; museums? Check. Art galleries? Double check! This place has heaps of them and we barely scratched the surface. In fact to see artwork you don’t even have to visit a gallery in Broken Hill. There are plenty of oversized murals painted on the sides of buildings. Many with some real significance either historically or culturally.

A Workers Rights Mural on some backstreet wall
The Ghan Mural – celebrating the famous Ghan outback train, that oddly does not even pass through Broken Hill.

I saw many while driving around but only photographed a few. I wish I had taken more of an effort to photograph more of the murals. Maybe next time eh? the whole town is like a living open air art gallery…

What’s in a street name?

Any town with the main streets called Chloride Street, Cobalt Street and Sulphide Street has to be worth a visit, right? Most of the town centre streets are named after elements or things related to mining. The main street is called Argent Street. ‘Argent’ being Latin for silver. This place was and is still known as the Silver City.

Here are  a few examples:

Argent Street with Oxide Street
Cobalt and Sulphide Streets

Historic Buildings

Architecture is another thing that this small town has some great examples of. There are plenty of examples of run down miners dwellings that show that not everyone who came here struck it rich. But there are also some grand old buildings in the centre which clearly show that many did.

Trades Hall

The Trades Hall is one of the most important buildings in Broken Hill. It was built and paid for entirely by the people of the town and was a centre of union activity when the workers rights were being fought for.

Old miner’s houses
The old railway station at Sulphide Street
The Imperial Hotel

Town’s Newspaper…

Here is a great name for a newspaper. The ‘Barrier Daily Truth’ no less. The town of Broken Hill is credited with doing more for worker’s rights than anywhere in the country and this newspaper played a large part in that. It was anti-capitalist and pro-union and featured many articles about safety and death in the mines during the early 1900s.

Broken Hill’s only remaining newspaper – The Barrier Daily Truth

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert…

There are plenty of places in the area that have been used as locations for films and/or commercials. Perhaps the most famous is the Palace Hotel on Argent Street. This was the setting for a fair part of a great 1994 Aussie movie, The Adventures of Priscila, Queen of the Desert. I remember seeing it many years ago not long after it was released – which means I would have watched it on VHS (that’s video tape to any youngsters reading – ask your parents).

The Palace Hotel Showroom and stage
Showroom painted ceiling at the Palace Hotel
“Broken Heel”… and the colourful murals at the Palace Hotel
Dani and the Giant High Heel shoe from the movie

I only remember the basic plot and certainly could not remember the places in detail but after watching clips of the movie on youtube later it all came flooding back. But this is now another film I need to watch again having visited some of the locations.

The hotel used to be called Mario’s Palace Hotel and the owner (Mario) even played himself in the movie. The spirit of the film lives on as the place holds regular events on stage. Also every September there is a week long drag queen related carnival called the ‘Broken Heel’ festival.

Not all good news however…

I don’t like doing things like this but I have to report on a place called ‘Outback Pizza’. After being unable to get a table to eat in the Palace Hotel restaurant we decided to get a takeaway pizza and eat it in our motel. I only opened the box when we got back to our room.

One of only two downers on the trip. A shit pizza from ‘Outback Pizza’ on Sulphide Street.

I have to say that it was the shittiest, crappiest pizza I have ever paid for. Just look at it! I actually think that it was one they had left over, standing there for some time and they just heated it up. A little too much!! We were hungry so we gave it a good go but had to throw half  of it away.

This so called “pizza” and the lack of taxis waiting for the arrival of the train are my only two complaints about the our stay in Broken Hill.

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