Gayle is an accountant. Shh – don’t tell. She thinks she’s a writer.
Published December 26th 2014
Best Places to See in Silverton
Thirty-nine dips in the road and around 25 kms from Broken Hill is the almost deserted town of Silverton. Some say it is a ghost town and it does look the part as the buildings are few and scattered. According to the town's web site, less than 50 people live there now; not a metropolis but inhabited none the less. It is a tourist town, with more to see than you might expect.
Silverton is home to a number of buildings constructed in the 1880's and the Silverton Gaol, restored by the Broken Hill Historical Society in in the late 1960's is a fine example. The Gaol is now an 18 room museum, a testament to Silverton's past, a story told by its antiques, memorabilia, photographs and documents.
One of the more macabre displays is the bath in which bodies were kept in preservative until the coroner from Sydney arrived. That trip is nearly 1,200 kms and I can only wonder how long it would have taken in the late 1800's. I do hope the preservative was effective.
In an old exercise yard, prisoners' toilets devoid of privacy are set into nooks in the wall. It must have been a bleak existence. One cell is displayed as it would have been, complete with ball and chain.
A room dedicated to music pays homage to opera star June Bronhill whose real surname was Gough. Funds for Ms Bronhill's professional training as a singer in London were raised by the community in her home town of Broken Hill and it was as thanks that in 1952 she adopted the name Bronhill, an abbreviation of Broken Hill.
Another area houses washing machines through the ages, including a 1928 Maytag washer which was driven by a petrol motor.
In a roomed themed for education I came across a box of Quesionaire Rods. I'll admit to some excitement as I'd not seen these since my own school days. Oh dear, am I showing my age. For the younger folk, these rods were used to teach arithmetic. The rods were of ten different lengths and colours and could be lined up against each other. Ten white rods, ones, would form the exact length of one orange rod, a ten.
My husband's attention was captured by an extensive display of radio valves. Elsewhere are displayed a morse code machine, a 1926 radio receiver, a pedal generator, a epidiascope (a projector), antique typewriters, and telephones.
There are old sewing machines and kitchen implements, measuring scales and cobbler's equipment and of course mining paraphernalia. With thousands of items on display, time will be needed to do justice to these historical treasures.
The Silverton Gaol Museum is in Burke Street, Silverton, NSW. Silverton is 25 kms north west of Broken Hill along Silverton Road.
The museum is open 9.30am to 4.00pm daily (except Christmas Day).
Entry fees (Dec 2014) are $2.50 for adults, $1.50 for pensioners and students and 50 cents for children under 12.
The Silverton Hotel is a movie star, having featured in such films as Mad Max 2, Razor Back, A Town Like Alice, Dirty Deeds, and The Craic. Perhaps you have seen it. Built in 1885, it was originally the Silverton Post Office but became the hotel in 1918 after a fire destroyed that essential establishment, the original Silverton Hotel.
Typical of the time, the hotel has a wide front verandah and patterned bricks framing the windows. It is a striking building. Inside, it is adorned with photos of the pub's film history and other memorabilia. Why not grab a cold one and take your time reading the walls
The museum sits on the hill at the top end of town, a corrugated iron shed painted with Mad Max 2 murals, with car parts protruding from its tyre lined roof.
We enter through a themed door, (no spoilers, head out there and see for yourself). Inside, the walls are lined with stills from the movie. A video plays on a screen near the roof and there are life size models of the films characters. As this is copyrighted material, photos are not permitted inside.
The museum is open 7 days - 9am-5pm (winter) 10am-4pm (summer) but it is advisable to call first if you are making a special trip to see it.
There is an admission fee.
The rich outback landscape draws artists to Silverton. At least two are resident here and many more display their work in the galleries and in some cases on old cars.
John Dynon Art Gallery
John Dynon's Silverton Art Gallery is in a most unusual corrugated iron shed, heralded by a paint dribbled VW, and surrounded by a fence made of bicycles. Inside paintings representing the outback in all its guises are displayed.
The gallery, where Albert Woodroffe maintains a studio not only exhibits his work but that of many other artists including the late Bronwen Standley-Woodroffe, Clark Barrett, Warwick Fuller, Lindsay Womersley, Jennifer Harnett, Laima Politis with James Evan Jones. Also displayed are sculptures and ceramics, glass and woodwork.
The Silverton Outback Art Gallery and Justin Cowley's Art Studio
The Silverton Outback gallery where Justin Cowley maintains a studio, displays and sells paintings and sculptures by a variety of items and prints souvenirs and gifts are also for sale. You will find original work by John Dynon, Peter Browne, Justin Cowely, Leo Smanioto and Mick Andrich.
Silverton Café and Tea Rooms
Where can you buy ginger beer spiders and quandong ice cream? At The Silverton Café and Tea Rooms, that's where. Inside the double brick walls of this quaint café and museum it is comfortably cool. This building was originally constructed in the 1880's and renovated in recent years by the café owners.
Quandong ice-vream, the signature dish of the Silverton Cafe and Tea Rooms.
The café serves home cooked meals that remind me of dinner at my grandparents. There is stew, damper burger, rissoles (called Stockman's Balls), and mash. Devonshire tea is served or if you prefer, plunger coffee, milkshakes, and spiders. The café is licensed.
Wander the rooms where collections of old bottles and antique dolls are displayed. Some of the bottles are for sale. Next door a stands a derelict house, its yard almost a museum in itself. There you will find rusted spades, teapots and pans, pots and ceramics, lamps and wheels, iron bedheads and even the front end of a vintage car.
Memoribilia in the yard next to the Silverton Cafe and Tea Rooms
Mundi Mundi Plains
Remember the song, 'On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever'. So it is at Mundi Mundi Lookout, only five kms west of Silverton, from where the curvature of the earth can be seen across the Mundi Mundi Plains. On a clear day they say you can make out the Flinders Ranges, 150 kilometres away in South Australia.
Voted amongst the best 100 views in Australian by australiantraveller.com, this magnificent vista was the location for the crash scene in Mad Max 2 and it is a popular location for many an advertisement.