Sunday, February 10, 2008

Motorcycling In Australia- Pt 2 Broken Hill, Silverton & Mutiwintji N.P

Silverton, Broken Hill and Mutiwinji National Park.

Arriving in Broken Hill was for me attaining one of my goals. This place of big skies, red dirt and heat along with its reputation as an artists mecca, has attracted me for months. Now here, some getting to know this stunning place was in order. Hence afew days, I spent here. Also Lance spent some time here repairing his bike for the ride back to Sydney, as he was unable to accompany me any further.

So to Silverton and the Mundi Mundi plains, about 25km north west of Broken Hill.

Now able to ride without all the gear is a refreshing break from the fully loaded bike. Nice to wear lightweight long pants too!

Silverton and its pub are interesting and historic places. The site of many movie sets including Mad Max.
The replica car from the Mad Max movie give tourist rides around the area. I think my little Bluey bike is better!

All the buildings here built of beautiful red stone are the remains from a time when Silverton was a bustling mining town

Sadly many of the buildings now deserted and becoming ruined.

A very dry place. However recently with the storms this area had over christmas Silverton experienced pretty major flooding.
Beautiful colours, textures and a very lovely sense of peace and history surrounds Silverton and its old buildings. Left over memories of a different time.

Truely an artists and photographers paradise with the lovely vibrant earthy ochres and burnt siennas contrasting with the brilliant blue sky and soft greens of the salt bush.

A very stunning place

Local artists have added to the character of this little pretty much deserted town.

Peter Browne and his very distinctive VWs and gallery.

It seems to me where ever I looked I saw art, natures art and that created by the human hand

Back to Broken Hill. A mining town

with plenty of evidence of this. A little green oasis surrounded with the dry hot desert full of saltbush and sand

and mystery.

Art features highly in Broken Hill.Again the inspiration of the natural environment reflects in the paintings I saw in the numerous galleries around town. One of the highlights for me was visiting the Sculpture Park on dusk and watching the light change from brilliant to firey orange and red to such a gentle wash of pinks and pastel colours. Fantastic. In fact I loved it so much I visited again afew days later.

'Tiwi Totems"

The Tiwi people of Bathurst Island have a long tradition of carving burial poles. The sculpture represents atraditional burial pole with motifs of birds, fish and tortoise.

Artist Gordon Pupangamirri -Bathurst Island

"Bajo El Sol Jaguar"

The sculpture is based on the music of Jarge Reyes. Duality; Sun and Moon: Night represented by the star Venus, mouth of the Jaguar that takes the sun at night to protect it. Day represented by the circle created by the sun.

Artist Antonio Nava Tirado- Mexico City

"Nhatji" Rainbow Serpent

Two serpents travel north. The footprint is adeality being both theGod Gullawirra journeying from Broken Hill toMutawinji and Fred Hollows stepping into the afterlife. The hand stencils represent three generations of the Bates Family .

Artist Badger Bates - Broken Hill

People must be aware of the nobility of the horse. At Stalin's requist all the Georgian horses ( a special European breed) were slaughtered. In some respects Jumber's work is a tribute to them.

One of my personal favourites!
Artist Jumber Jikiya- Rustavi ,Georgia

" Facing the Day and the Night"

A momumental head that at dawn looks towards the sun: behind the dove of the night symbolises the night and symbolises the night nad darkness. To one side the Wedge Tail Eagle symbolises spirituality, height, strength and freedom. The hands are those of the sculptors.

Artisits; Catherine Mould, Badger Bates and Herbert Shiner


A water bird neck upright catching a fish

New Years Day and very pleased to say hangover free!

So with the extra fuel needed for this day trip and litres of water and power aid, I set out to Mutawinji National Park, 130 km north east of Broken Hill. Most of the 260km return trip being on dirt roads.

The road in an interesting condition. After the recent storms the roads have been sludgy mud that has then been dried in wheel tracks, which tend to unbalance the bike a little when the front wheel becomes stuck in them.

Also in places under a hard crusty surface was very fine 'bull dust' that sends the front wheel sliding from side to side. So with the ever present intense 40+ heat and the road I sure went through alot of water on my ride out there.

Again not another vehicle in sight. Really not the place to come off and become injured. Absolutely no shelter or water for a very long way.

However Bluey and I make it out there with no dramas, just afew incidents when my heart was in my mouth as the front wheel slid to left then right. I did think we were going down a few times!

So arrived at Mutiwinji National Part to find a completely empty camp ground, not a person in sight. In fact I hadnt seen anyone since leaving Broken Hill.

However the welcoming party were waiting in the shade of the camp BBQ area . Apostle birds, many of them. These birds are real characters and highly social with a large vocabulary of chattering and chirps.

So hung out with the Apostlebirds for an hour or so then Lance arrived in the rental car and we had a bit of a wander around the gorges and caves in the area.

Patterned dust after the soaking from the storms.

Mud dried to cracked patterns

A dry creek bed showing evidence of the recent flooding waters that would have rushed through here recently.

A beautiful gorge.

Aboriginal art in a cave at the park

Road signs indication cattle and sheep along the road. However none did I see.

Road closed. A real outback sign.
From here I set out to Menindee, where a totally unexpected and most treasured little adventure took place. But thats the next episode.......