Tag Archives: Broken Hill


20140808_172037Out here, August is often a time of great Winter weather, people coming to visit and Sturt Desert Pea.  The Outback is at its magnificent best and while I might whinge about the remoteness at times, I really do appreciate the great joys of this place too.  Perhaps more so when dear friends visit and we show them around our favourite places.

Sometimes you have to travel a bit as we did to Mutawintji (more of that in a later post) but sometimes, a tip off from a local leads you down an ordinary Broken Hill street (Duff St for20140808_171855 you locals) to a most gorgeous display of Sturt Desert Pea in colours I have never before seen in real life!

While there is nothing ordinary about the Sturt Desert Pea, the ordinary 20140808_171906colour is vibrant red with black bosses.  Here in Duff St., was a display that included the red bossed red variety, the most fabulous coral and pink varieties and one so pale as to be nearly cream.  The owner of the display said they’d been flowering for months and that she’d never had the pink before.  To Ana’s delight, she was presented with a sprig that perfectly matched her ensemble!

Ana, thank you for these gorgeous photos to remind us of a great discovery!


2nd Annual Challenge of Travel Blog Hop

DSCN4354I had no idea what a blog hop was when I signed up for Erin Prais-Hintz’s 2nd Annual Challenge of Travel. (Read about what I blame her for here!) Fortunately she gives you all the information you need.  To date my limited involvement with challenges have been somewhat guilt inducing.  My FlickR 12 Polymer Projects in 2013 is flickering (but not extinguished) with the exhibition, lots of Samunnat stuff and just life in general (next year Elvira I promise I will be better organised!)  I was attracted by Erin’s first Travel Challenge but was in Nepal DSCN4343and preoccupied at the time.  I loved the Nepal inspired necklace she produced for it and determined to participate when I could.

Our challenge was to create a piece inspired by home and for me right now home is Broken Hill-a remote, hot, dusty mining town that they call the gateway to the Outback. It is the BH in the massive mining conglomerate BHP.  This was a timely challenge to respond to my adopted home, to try to convey something of the arid beauty and vastness that I find very special.  I envisioned an intricately caned piece, inspired by some of Carol Simmons beads pictured here andTidepool featured in PCD many years ago.  As often happens though, life suggested other priorities and I had to change the game plan to maintain equanimity.  Erin told me to have fun and I knew I would have more fun by having realistic expectations of what could be achieved.

DSCN4345During the month of the Challenge, the weather warmed and the wonderful desert wildflowers began to bloom…amongst the grey greens of the saltbush we saw vibrant purple solanum flowers with their crown like yellow centres, a steadily growing carpet of white and mauve brachycombs, blood red patches of the flamboyant yet elusive Sturt Desert Pea, yellow blooms I don’t know the name of and unbelievably delicate and beautiful wild magenta violets.  Some mornings I run out on a road to our Living Desert and see only no other people or houses but groups of kangaroos and the occasional emu.  The kangaroos look magnificent as they bound along, inspiring the weary runner. The arrival of two boisterous dogs in our lives meant walks inExif_JPEG_PICTURE the scrubby bush (or bushy scrub) became commonplace.  An early Spring unfolded. It’s not a soft Spring in the outback.  There is still a harshness…the big blue sky, red sandy tracks, bleached skeletons of animals that DSCN4402didn’t survive the conditions; rusting sheets of corrugated iron, stones of so many hues, some flecked with mica, glistening.  I wanted to somehow get the essence of that in the necklace I made.

So, here it is.  Complete with rusted metal, solanum blooms, gum leaves, bleached faux twigs and stones all made from polymer; real bones; a beautiful ammonite fossil to convey the agedness of my continent; and some goat poo (that’s polymer!) in a rueful acknowledgement of the introduced species that are causing havoc to wildlife.  My mum wore this necklace to the opening of the exhibition I have been relentlessly banging on about and she lovedDSCN4409 it which was good enough for me!

Erin, thanks for this wonderful challenge. I am really looking forward to seeing the responses of all the other participants to their homes.  Hello to you all from here!

Colourful characters

Among my half written posts, is one about the amazing women I have in my life. I get quite emotional every time I work on it but I will unleash it at some point in time. Suffice it to say, I am so bloody lucky.  Most aren’t fabulous emailers but they are incredible friends.

DSCN2645One of them is Deb, a friend from Broken Hill who doesn’t need to email yet. She came to Nepal on a Colourful Journey last year and was rushed at like royalty in Janakpur where pilgrims at the Janaki Mandir thought she was perhaps a film star and still wanted to be photographed with her when they found out she wasn’t.  Theatre, not film. They don’t know the half of it.  Her powerful and emotive version of There’s a Hole in My Bucket with her dear friend Kate and the rest of the group for the kids at Sonrisa Nepal, still has us reaching for hankies.  And has become the stuff of folk lore.

Last week, Mark Dapin, a journalist, wrote about Broken Hill in an article called Bent, not Broken. Broken Hill is a very different place. There are many colourful characters. Deb is one.  Mark’s article talked about a few and gave a certain perspective on the Hill.  Deb’s response in her blog here talks about others.  I have the good fortune of being able to hear her fabulous voice as I read.  (Ironic hey?) Makes for a more complete picture I think.