Page 62

More From Broken Hill

The Miners' Memorial

Overlooking the town of Broken Hill ...

Broken Hill

... is a memorial dedicated to the hundreds of miners who died while working in the mines.

A surprising number fell down shafts or off the staging, some were crushed in machinery while others were crushed by rocks, some suffocated, some were electrocuted and one poor chap drilled into a hole already containing explosives.

The memorial stands high above the town where all can see it. From a distance it appears to be constructed from rusty metal ...

Miners Memorial

... but when you get closer you discover that it is, in fact, ... made of rusty metal.

The red flag in the picture is flown over the Trades Hall when a mining injury has occurred. The black flag signifies a death. Inside the memorial, one wall is completely covered in glass plaques giving the names of the deceased miners and ...


... a brief statement of how, when and where they died.

Scattered along the wall, between the columns of plaques, are plastic flowers. It probably sounds a little tacky but when you walk along the columns of plaques and see how many died and what horrible deaths some must have suffered, you can't help but be moved. (Photographing the glass plaques is rather like photographing a mirror, hence the oblique angle and reflections.)

Even more bizarre - or perhaps appropriate - is the location of the Miners' Memorial. It stands atop a vast pile of mine tailings.

Slag Heap

Top centre: The Memorial. There is also a café and a display of mining paraphernalia adjacent
to the memorial on top of the pile which affords an excellent view over the city.

As we arrived at the café's car park, another car drew up with a party which appeared to consist of three tourists and a relative who was a local woman. She was, therefore, an authority on all matters Broken Hill and thus felt obliged to talk in a very loud voice. Discussing some mutual acquaintance, she informed the party (and everybody else within 100 metres), "He's a chef, you know. He can cook." After that little gem we decided there must be something far away that needed our urgent attention.

On a wall outside the Broken Hill Railway Station are two very graphic murals of steam engines bursting through a brick wall, bricks flying. Both were excellently painted by local artist, Geoff Demain, who was commissioned by the Rotary Club. The murals are dedicated to a Lew Roberts who gave 31 years service to the local railways and was a life member of the Rotary Club.

Train thro Wall

The other mural is similar and equally effective. Incidentally, the Indian Pacific train, which travels the 3,500 km between Sydney and Perth, passes through this station. Perhaps it even stops here, I don't know.
Some Broken Hill Landmarks

Naturally, there are the headframes of underground mines scattered all around the area. One such structure was rendered obsolete when a mine converted to the open cut principle. The redundant headframe was brought into the centre of Broken Hill where it makes an ideal monument.

Mine Headframe

Much of the headframe's timber is rotten and the council is seeking approval for funding to renovate the structure.

One attractive building that we photographed was . . .

Town Hall

Broken Hill's Town Hall.

Soldier Statue

Pam in Doorway

There was a soldier standing on
a pedestal and throwing a grenade.

I'm sure he should have had his helmet on, his mother would have had a fit if she'd seen him. Then there was the most important building of all, the Black Lion Inn. Having taken a picture of the outside of the building, I looked round for the Tour Director, Short Wheel Base. She was nowhere to be seen but she has a habit of doing this, especially in the supermarket.

Down the street I noticed a little
head peering round a door post.

In this case I should have guessed; pubs have a pull on Pam like a black hole has on a wayward meteorite.

The Black Lion Inn dates back to 1900 and must have seen some changes in its time. The roof appeared to be shingle but there were many missing, especially along its ridge. Perhaps it rains so seldom in Broken Hill that a few holes in the roof are of no consequence. When we walked inside out of the glaring afternoon sunshine I could hardly see a thing for a minute, so gloomy was the bar. However, the inevitable television screens were glowing from on high, the cricket on one and Judge Judy on another. Both had the sound turned off so the barmaid could listen to her favourite music on yet another system.

Black Lion Inn

The Black Lion, circa 1900.

There were a couple of other visits that the Tour Director had planned before we left Broken Hill, one being a doll and teddy bear museum. However, as it turned out, she didn't feel too well so we gave them a miss. Excuse me a moment while I mop up my crocodile tears.

Once again we hitched our wagon and trundled off along the highways and byways, heading south this time. Would we visit Broken Hill again? You bet we would, we've still got dolls and teddy bears to see, but for now we were on our way to Mildura in the state of Victoria where we'll camp on the banks of the once-great Murray River.

Footnote: This re-working of Page 62 was completed on 13th June 2013. It conforms to HTML5 and CSS level 3.