Mildura is a huge grape growing area both for wine and dried fruit like sultanas. This industry dominated the area for over 100 years due to the ability to use the Murray River for irrigation. We did a driving tour of the Chaffey Trail which is all about how irrigation changed the ladscape in this arid region of Australia and to look at some of the historic buildings associated with the industry. It appeared that quite a few of the vineyards were being left and not managed and some were being removed and replaced with housing developments. I can only assume that this is due to reduced irrigation or poor returns for fruit.
|The Historic Psyche Bend Pumping Station - where just next door water is still pumped out of the Murray River|
|Rio Vista Historic House|
There have been remains of mega fauna found here and it is a culturally significant are to the local aborigional people. One of the amazing things in the dunes is a huge River red Gum that has been burried by the san all the way up the trunk so that now as you walk around it you are actually walking around in the canopy.
|River Red Gum Canopy only above the sand|
Once you see things closer up you can see that the branches of canopy are as big as tree trunks.
Jessie had an amazing time on the sand dunes and ran around like a dog possessed. I am not sure if she just had excess energy to burn or if it was the environment but she had a great time racing up and down the dunes.
Next stop Broken Hill and what an interesting place. It had 72 pubs at it's height and these days while most of the pubs are still standing many are now closed and these days there are more art galleries operating than pubs in fact Broken Hill seems to attract artists and we did get to a few galleries including the Pro Hart and Jack Absalom galleries.
We did a self guided walking tour of the centre of town looking at many of the amazing old buildings with their beautiful stone work and ironwork.
|The Trade Union center|
|The town hall|
|The court house|
|One of the old pubs with sunflower ironwork|
Looking back from the top of the Hill back to where the previos photo was taken with the city spread out below.
Most of the early houses were made entirely of corrugated roofing iron as it was one of the few materials easily transported and readily available that could deal with the harsh conditions. Until recently with the advent of air conditioning and evaporation cooling I cannot imagine living in a tin box in the heat of a Broken Hill summer however many people still build this way I assume with better insulation.
|A new home still built with corrugated iron|
Just west of Broken Hill there is a great sculpture display out in the desert. It is recommended to visit at sunset which is what we did. There is also a flora and fauna reserve with walks and displays of aboriginal heritage at the site which we did prior to going up to the sculptures which sit on top of the hill. Below is just one of the sculptures.
Just west of Broken Hill is Silverton and while it once had about 3000 inhabitants today there is only about 50. It has been the location for many films including Mad Max, Priscilla, Mission Impossible and many others. We did an underground mine tour at the historic Daydream Mine. I am not sure that it would have been much of a daydream as the rock was so hard they only progressed at a rate of 40cm a day. It was fascinating and this mine even used horses that were lowered down into the mine to pull the carts, not much of a life for the poor horse. The tour took just over an hour and for a pregnant lady it was just the right length of time to be underground going up and down steps.
|Ready to go underground|
|All those rock on the left of the photo are backfill in a space that has been mined and|
Hubby is standing between the rail for the carts.
|My belt supporting the battery pack for my miners lantern had to go above the waist|
since I no longer have one.
|This is the smelter ruins which due to safety we were unable to visit but that is a big pile|
of spoil in the front.
Apparently the Mad Max museum is really interesting but sadly it was closed when we were there.
We called in at John Dynon's gallery and I got a couple of prints. I would have liked one of the originals I saw but at $900 it was out of our price bracket with a baby one the way and everything else we have going on.
We also visited his son in law Justin Cowley's gallery and again there was art I really liked.
There were more galleries to visit and the pub looked really interesting and there were heaps of people enjoying a drink and looking around but for Hubby there is only so many galleries he will go to before he has had enough and I only have a limited amount of energy these days.