Heavy rain with distant thunder through the night, but we woke to sunshine and it shone all day. We packed a lunch and drove 25 kms to little historic town of Silverton. Before entering the town we called in at a place called Penrose Park – established in 1937 for the region’s miners and their families but is now a very large camping/caravan/recreational area. There were upteen tennis courts/toilet facilities and shaded and lawned areas with BBQ’s etc. There was also an area with caged birds, goats and a horse, plus an old steam tramway engine. We spent some time just looking around. It was an amazing facility way out in the middle of nowhere, set on a river bed so there were trees etc. which were fairly rare on the rest of our trip to the town. We then drove into Silverton where there was a 2 hour self guided walk tour of the historic buildings etc., but we took well over 1 and a half hours in the historic gaol/museum site alone. They had a most amazing array of artifacts and items relating to the early days of Broken Hill and Silverton. We have all been to many historic museums over the years, but this was one of the best. Entry $4. Money well spent. Because of the heavy rain and the fact that the dirt tracks were extremely soft and muddy (no bitumen in the town apart from the main road) — we could not see all the ruins on the walk, but managed to visit most spots. They were quite some distance apart as the town has very little apart from these ruins (the pop. is only 60) but it was interesting none-the-less. There were 2 eating places (an historic pub. and an old house converted into a doll museum cafe etc.) and they were jam packed with patrons. It is amazing just how many tourists there are in this area. We left Silverton around 2pm and on the way back to Broken Hill saw that the only underground mine tour available to the public which was 14kms off the main road was opened. On our way past this morning the road was closed because of the heavy rain overnight and the roads were too boggy. However, they had cleared by mid afternoon so we took the opportunity to go in. While waiting for the tour, we sat in their office/cafe and had freshly baked scones and jam and cream. Yummy. Only Ian and Bruce did the tour as neither Linda or I were too keen on going underground. When the fellows came back they agreed we would not have been happy as some parts of the mine required stooping quite low to get into some passages and the only lighting was a lamp on the miner’s hat which each tourist had to wear. However, they thought it was a great tour and were able to share with us some of the stories of the history of mining in that area. The mine was called Day Dream mine and at its peak it employed 500 miners and mined silver and lead. The countryside was rather bleak to our eyes, but the locals said it was looking great for that time of the year. Cost of the tour was $28 each.
We drove back to Broken Hill and checked up on the repair to Bruce’s ute. Hopefully it will be ready to go tomorrow afternoon. They had to fix a faulty coil and a faulty fuel pump — it was a major job to get at the fuel pump so they replaced the shockers as well while all was accessible. We then drove to the top of the large mullock heap which dominates the town to see a view of Broken Hill at dusk. It was a lovely sight — large glass windows everywhere – a very modern design. There was a very stylish restaurant there as well, but it was rather expensive so we did not go in.
It was such a long day, but all worth the effort. There are still so many touristy things we have not yet seen — will save it for another trip we think as we plan to leave tomorrow.
Just a warning — it is possible we will be out of mobile/internet range tomorrow night so I may not be able to post a blog. Provided we can get away we will be somewhere in South Australia but the towns we can stay at do not seem to have these facilities. We’ll see.
Love to all Janese and Ian