Thursday, 19 September 2013

What to do in Broken Hill

Tuesday was the first of our three day stay in Broken Hill. We had planned to spend this day exploring the town, the next two days would be for going further afield and exploring two places close by, Silverton and Menindee. So with an arm that was fast becoming redder and puffier .. not to mention the incredible itch (I've never had an allergic reaction to anything and I just cant believe how bad that itch was!) and with minimal sleep because of it, I was glad when Terry came back to the cottage that first morning with a car! First stop the local shopping center for some food staples and antihistamines.

Yet another reminder of how hot it gets out here, the whole car park was covered with these amazing sails .. what a great idea I wish they'd do something like this in our local shopping center. So after taking some tablets with breakfast and spraying the arm with a nifty sunburn spray that cooled it down nicely for a little while, we had to decide what to go look at.

We went for a bit of a drive round the town .. umm we weren't lost really. We spotted the slag heap. Yes seriously that's a major part of this town and a landmark, Broken Hill was built on mining and BHP started here. So on top of the slag heap is a cafe restaurant called Broken Earth and also a miners memorial and some museums.

That's the cafe restaurant you can see and just poking up behind it is the miners memorial. We didn't get to see any of the touristy stuff up there unfortunately cause we just kinda didn't get to it. I would have liked to because BHP was a big deal in my home town of Newcastle when I was growing up. Next time for sure.

Then we decided to go looking for something to look at. One thing that Broken Hill is famous for is the mining and silver .. the other big thing out there is the art. There are art galleries everywhere you turn with some pretty famous artists displaying a very unique brand of Australian Outback Art, but the guy who put it all on the map was Pro Hart, check out his web site here I promise you will enjoy it. It was high on my list of 'must not miss out on!' So the first place I directed my driver to was his gallery.

From the front fence his art was already on display.

I loved these sculptures hanging along the front wall.

He famously painted a Rolls Royce.

He obviously liked his Rolls Royces, there were another three sitting in the sheds in the front garden, there was also some more artwork scattered around the garden.

These were my favourite sculptures in the garden but where ever you looked there was something a little quirky and fun sitting nestled amongst the plants. We hadn't even made it in the front door and already I was fascinated and finding out things I never knew about the wonderful artist.

Then we headed inside and were greeted by a lovely lady who said it was OK for me to take photos, I still didn't use a flash though .. and we went into the first room full of lithographs and paintings that were done by his son and daughter, both have very unique styles. It was interesting but it was Pro's work that I was looking for and this is exactly what I was expecting.

Pro's style has a very naive feel full of the life of the Australian outback. But then we went up the stairs to the gallery and wow .. I love weird art.

I don't know the proper words for it but if it's a bit different and can tell a story then I love it.

I love paintings that show me something else each time I look at them and while I was looking at the paintings around the balconies I found so many stories.

He also did some portraits but the one that was on display didn't take my fancy .. this did .. it's called The Monday Morning Miner.

Pro painted what was around him and he was a miner.

Pro Harts miners hat and lunch box

The fascinating thing about this gallery was that it was also a bit of a museum about Pro Hart and it was interesting to find out about him.

They had his studio set up behind glass, and also one of the ways he created. He was often trying new things like dropping paint from a hot air balloon, blowing up sheet metal with black powder and making sculpture from it and shooting paint from a cannon .. there wasn't much that he didn't try actually.

He loved cars and motorbikes.

But above all the best thing was the art. At first my favourite painting was this one.

But then I found another bug .. on carpet no less.

The next one that caught my eye was this.

By now I was starting to realise that Pro Hart was so much more than I had realised. I love his figures.

But by the end of the day I think this has to be my favorite .. so far.

I love paintings of flowers, and he did a pretty good job of those too.

But the best wall was the one with a bunch of paintings together ..

Then I went into a little back room and he had painted around the wall .. a long painting that told the story of the European settlement in Australia and the effects it had.

Unfortunately my attempt at making a panoramic of three walls wasn't a complete success but you get the general idea.

Umm one more painting just cause I didn't include it and I liked it.

We'd spent a good amount of time wandering around exploring the work and the life of a truly inspirational man and we were browsing through the gift shop wanting to take something home with us when the lady who had greeted us came over to help us. What a wonderful lady, her husband had been a friend of Pro's who also liked bikes .. she admitted that it all rubbed off on her when we mentioned that we rode from Dubbo and she was interested in our bikes and our ride .. which is just a little bit different when you consider she was at least 70 years old, but it was wonderful and gave me hope that I would be able to hold onto my passions as I age. We ended up just getting a note pad with a great picture of one of the dragon flies that I love on the front, our friend mentioned that you could just tear off the front page and frame it and you would have an instant Pro Hart .. when I said that no I wouldn't do that as the note pad would be our record of our trip she understood. When I got the pad out to write in late that night I found that she had torn the cover off another pad and put it in the bag for me .. so nice.

And so the thing that we were finding in Broken Hill is that the idea that country people are so nice and will talk to anyone is right .. everywhere we had been so far we seemed to take so much longer cause we got caught up in a chat. It was great, very relaxing and very fun.


  1. Oh yeah! This is exactly the stuff I like to explore when somewhere new. Thanks for sharing these lovely pics. I have never heard of this artist but I instantly like it. The artwork of that chap is right up my alley. I love the 'faces' pictures. The one with people munching on bugs is definitely my favourite.

    1. Yeah that was one of my favourites too Sonja .. he called that series Masks, I found that out last night after having a good look at his web site .. you can see that they are masks when someone says that eh.

      I thought those bugs were yabbies .. umm kinda a small crayfish that you can catch in any dam on any farm round here .. but maybe they are bugs .. you've made me look again.

      Yep this was definately a highlight. Glad you enjoyed it :D

  2. I'd never heard of Pro Hart before but his artwork is really unique and colorful. I like it. My favorite is the one of the masks/faces that look like they are growing int he shrubbery/flowers. It makes me smile.

    I really like the sail idea for parking lots too. I need one over our back deck.

    1. Colorful it certainly is Brandy, the photos really dont show it cause I couldn't flash and the lighting was not great, they were very vibrant paintings.

      Yep that one was facinating, everytime I looked at it I saw something new, see the cloud shaped like a guy on a horse with a bow? There was something in the top right corner too that I didn't get a pic of but I didn't notice it til we were leaving.

      Yeah I'd love one of those sails for our back deck, trouble is that the locals are quite likely to set fire to it or something .. when we move out of town maybe we can have one.

  3. Brenda:

    I would imagine that the colours are very vibrant when seeing them in person. I am surprised that they let you snap photos. It was very nice of that lady to rip the cover off for you. I find that people in tourist areas are generally more friendly, they want you to come back and bring friends

    So far a nice relaxing vacation, and I hope your itch goes away

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. You took the words out of my mouth Bob, I just said they were vibrant!

      Yeah it was a great gallery, I was surprised when she said yes to photos, I didn't use a flash though so some of them took some editing to get right and others just didn't turn out at all. But most say no I think because they want to sell it not just let you enjoy it.

      Sometimes yeah the touristy thing .. sometimes it's just a really nice person and you can often tell the difference .. this lady was one of the genuinely lovely people that you just wanna sit and have a coffee with.

      Oh the itch has gone now but sheesh for a while there I thought if I couldn't just scratch the arm to peices then I'd die. Thanks Bob