Pro Hart is a favourite painter of ours and we never knew until arriving in Broken Hill that this is where he had lived and worked. The colours he used in his paintings are vibrant blues and reds, which I had always thought were a bit too unreal, but when you see the desert in real life you realise the colours are not exaggerated at all.
The day after we left, there was a news story that Pro Hart’s grave in Broken Hill had been vandalised. He died in 2006. Why anyone would do this is unbelievable.
The art community is alive and well though in Broken Hill with a number of galleries, including the Peter Anderson gallery which features the Big Picture, supposedly the largest painting anywhere in the world at 100m long x12m high. He uses a similar paint palette to Pro Hart, but has a more naturalistic style.
He included representations of the sandstone sculpture garden called Living Desert which has also become a beautiful tourist attraction, with stunning sunsets enhancing these artworks carved by artists from around the world.
Broken Hill is of course, a mining town, and the memorial to miners who have died, sits on top of the man-made mountain of waste tailings overlooking the town, along with a café and plan to expand this area to provide an educational experience for tourists about the mining industry.
Leaving Broken Hill to head south, the pinky red dust and soil can change colour to brilliant white in a matter of minutes, and then back to red again. A quick search on the internet did not reveal an answer as to how this occurs, but red is supposed to indicate iron, and white, silica, so I guess maybe a white silica meteorite landed in the middle of the desert and got weathered down. Please do correct me if you know better.
These two photos were taken 2 minutes apart!
We stayed a couple of nights in Mildura on the Murray River, with memories of Echuca from our previous trip. Mildura also has a couple of paddle steamers but there are a lot more houseboats on the river here
For no other reason than I seem to remember a movie by the same name, we stayed for a night in Dimboola, and were pleasantly surprised by the little town. They provide a great free camp in the recreation reserve near the Wimmera River. There’s also a pink salt lake nearby, although it was a stormy day so the pink was not very vibrant.
Finally, we made it to Mount Gambier in South Australia, which I consider is the real start of this trip. It’s known for the geographical features created by extinct volcanoes, most notably the lakes, caves and sinkholes. The Blue Lake and the Umpherston Sinkhole are the most remarkable. We did the circuit walk of the Valley Lake starting from the carpark called “Mark’s Lookout”.
We’re more savvy now with our packing for this trip, and I’ve consequently updated the Packing List deleting the stuff we never used or found better options for, and adding some things missed for the first two trips. It will never be a perfect list but it’s a pretty good basis for anyone thinking about doing the lap of Australia. Check it out on the “Our Lists” page.
We’ve done a lot of driving to get to South Australia, but we will be taking it bit slower from now on. There’s been a few obstacles on the road to get here – cows, willy willies, goats, trees and farm machinery, but nothing will stop us now!