CONTINUED FROM – Westward Ho!-on the Indian Pacific
TRAIN WHISTLE BLOWING….
Up in time to see the sunrise as the Indian-Pacific approaches the outback mining town of Broken Hill at 6.00am. Indian Pacific passengers have a choice of excursions here and Rob and I are going to see the Living Desert Statues.
We are slightly ahead of schedule, so our driver Ray (a fifth generation Broken Hiller) takes us on a tour of the town. It’s fascinating to see the little timber and corregated iron cottages featured in Pro Hart’s paintings…. and some of the old pubs. Incredible to think there were 70 odd pubs in Broken Hill’s heyday. The Palace Hotel was the setting for much of the unlikely hit movie, Priscilla, Queen Of the Desert. That movie is the reason I can only think of this place as Broken Heel.
High on a hill outside town we are welcomed with a pre-breakfast treat of fresh fruit, savoury muffins and choc/fruit slices.
The sculptures here were done by a variety of international artists. Apparently the ancient local rock was far too hard to carve, so giant blocks of softer stone had to be brought in….a daunting task.
I loved this horse’s head best, probably because we found out a bit about its background.
It was actually modelled on Ray’s horse, Ben. The iron bit was created by a local blacksmith.
As a gardener type it was great to get a closer look at the plants we have been seeing through the train windows….no idea what any of them are though; salt bush etc., I guess. And this shrub with interesting seed pods.
Plenty of wildlife; small kangaroos, emus, and wild goats (spotted by eagle eyed Rob). Ray tells us he was practically raised on goat meat, shot by his miner father.
ON TO ADELAIDE
Leaving Broken Hill the red, outback landscape changes to one of grain fields, especially wheat. It has just been harvested.
The food aboard the Indian Pacific is dangerously delicious. Oh dear me!
My associate Editor Des and his stowaway friend Milly are running amok, especially when Rob tries to take a break from eating and chatting to the other passengers. Discovered they are stealing and hoarding the chocolates left for us every night. Editor Des already has a suitcase full.