I quickly realised when I wrote the first White Cliffs post that this place needed at least two articles to do it justice. That’s the thing about places like White Cliffs (Lightning Ridge and Silverton also). As small as they are there always seems to be some quirky thing to see and photograph. And of course the surrounding scenery helps…
Quirky White Cliffs
One thing you can be sure of in these kind of places is that there are always good examples of the quirky or even crazy (in a nice way) nature of the people who live and work in them. To outsiders all of these outback mining towns have a certain level of craziness. ‘The largest unfenced loony bin in Australia,’ is how one person in Broken Hill supposedly described the town of White Cliffs. I see what he/she meant.
In White Cliffs some of the ‘highlights’ include several toilets dotted about the opal fields.
There was another one called Busybody’s Toilet but I can’t find the photograph of that one.
Right in the heart of the town/village/hamlet* there is an interesting type of art gallery. I think it was called Doug’s Place but I cannot find the information anywhere. Someone decided to make use of the number of railway line nails that were left lying around the outback.
A little bit of blacksmith-ery and welding and the result is a lot of unique little ornaments cum sculptures. Most of which can be bought. Just about every possible theme is covered. Below are just a few examples, there were so many more…
(* – delete as you see fit. Personally I think it is barely a village.)
For something so simple it is easy to spend some time just walking around staring at these odd works of art. I am sure we still managed to miss a lot of them. There are also a large collection of old bottles which might interest a bottle collector. They are not exactly laid out on display but littered about the place.
Then there is the ‘Stubbie House’ built with some 60,000 stubbie bottles. It operates as a shop and art gallery but sadly it was closed while we were there. For those who do not know a ‘stubbie’ is a small, squat beer bottle. It gets hot in White Cliffs so there would have been no shortage of used beer bottles. Still, you would think it would be easier to build a house with normal bricks.
The cemeteries in these frontier towns are always interesting. Not in a morbid sense but in an historical way. The cemetery at White Cliffs has that mix of first settlers and pioneers buried alongside recently deceased opal hunters.
There’s a little more to come of White Cliffs and the surrounding area…
By The Way…
This is the little railway nail sculpture we bought… in action.