A long day driving bought us through Broken Hill. We only had time to stop for lunch, fuel, gas and restock the cupboards. But I hope we are able to come back. It seems like such a historic town with many a tale to tell. Old buildings, another massive mine in the the middle of town, museums and art galleries galour. Turns out Pro Hart (famous Aussie artist) was from here.
Again preferring to stay out of the bigger towns and off the major hwy’s we went on another 100km south down to the Darling river and stayed at the Copi Hallow caravan park, which is also home to the Broken Hill speed boat club.
As we arrived the most amazing red sunset dipped below the horizon. We were too late to enjoy it and only catching a glimpse, along with the a lovely location and very nice camp hosts we decided to stay two nights in the hope of capturing some more of this magnificence.
Unfortunately this wasn’t to be as the weather turned windy, cold and a little wet. It did however turn out to be very interesting, as we discovered the local history of famous Australian explorers I remember my dad telling me about, and got a sense and sight of the water issues facing those who try to eek out a living down stream on the Darling river.
Tragic, is the most fitting word applied to both of these tales or woe. Burke and Wills stayed here at the Minindee Pub and I guess it was here that things started to fall apart as descent arose and the exploration party fractured under Burkes leadership. Still he must have been made of some remarkable stuff to achieve and endure all he did. And the present day tradgy is the large investment and toil put into establishing the vineyards we drove past only to have to abandon them and have the bush (and weeds) fight back and reclaim them. Broken dreams and likely some broken people attached.
The river (very low) and river gums are very beautiful and we throughly enjoy a drive through the national park, along the banks of the Darling. Even coming across the site where a paddle steamer, (transport of choice in the day) had exploded and there lay on the very high banks an old solid iron boiler. It wasn’t the only causality though as when the rest of the crew returned from the pub they discovered the body of there mate up in a tree.
It was also fascinating to see the flood markers from recent flood event 1983, 1976 and 2011. With the river so low now it’s hard to imagine how it could reach such levels but then we are a country of drought and flooding rains. We enquired about the recent flooding in Queensland and apparently it takes about 4 months for the water to arrive so plenty of time to prepare.
The Darling and the flood plains have capture our imagination and we have decided to follow her to Bourke rather than take the hwy. More adventure and dust no doubt!