All roads in the semi arid NSW lead back to Broken Hill. So, from Menindee Lakes back we came. After 4 nights of glorious sunsets and Pelicans gliding past in a most stately fashion we passed the mountain of dirt yet again enroute to Silverton, the place where we saw our first camel and where emus and Roos own the common ground. Penrose Park is a story in itself, a huge recreation area dating back to 1886 when a group of miners together with a contribution by the N SW govt built a rail line connecting the Silverton to Broken Hill, cost was $6000 and the line shipped over $10 000 000 worth of high grade ore. Most profitable short rail line in the world (?). Actually you know when you have reached Silverton from BH if you have been counting the dips- 39 and you there! The unexpected advantage of this rail line was that the good folk of BH could now come and “recreate” in a beautiful park amongst the coolabah and boxwood trees. 2 cricket pitches, 4 or 6 tennis courts scattered around, a small scale steam engine (hello Pop da Lop) and countless proper children’s playgrounds, slides ever so high, chain maypole swings, swings and see saws, wobbling monkey poles and difficult jungle gyms- the way kids parks were before the days of law suits for unsafe landings…..Robert and I had the most awesome swing in 50 years….
So, where was I? 3 nights there next to an ancient “scar tree” then we shipped out through BH! Restocked the Bus. Good to talk to Jess and Richard, I mean really lekker, and to Sarah and Handrew, birthdays must be noted by longest conversation Telstras allow, if you can’t be face to face. This was also good because while I was yakking Robert took on all on board duties, emptying the poop cartridge, filling the water tanks by engineerious methods in the abscence of help. See photo! I mean, I was busy.
A futile attempt to check road conditions beyond that the road was “open” saw us to Mutawintji. Road turned out to be pretty good and here we are at the first NSW Nat Parks to be returned to at least co management by the traditional owners. We lucked out and joined as tag along to a tour of 2 going to a limited access heritage area – you have to go with an accredited tour guide who has undergone education in the local Aboriginal laws, values and dreamtime histories. Best $40 pp we have yet spent- we gained a depth of knowledge and experience available no other way than by walking out with a man of the land. Michaels ancestry was Irish mixed with Paakarinje – so he could spin a good yarn with facts.
We saw rock art of ochre stencils, and panaramee dot work on rock faces and overhangs, So much meaning and so many stories present but also lost in them. We walked through 4 gorges, 2 with over 12 000 works of art alone. Our $40 didn’t get us their packed lunch, wehad to come home and eat our own mealies. An afternoon walk through another gorge, now a little wiser as to what to look for, an excellent dinner of lamb shwarmer wraps . The 4th gorge we walked through the next day on our own to the permanent water holes, amazingly deep rock pools. A good cycle ride to get there and then a 6km easy walk past the Roos emus and goats. Big sighting was Dad emu taking care of 3 chicks.
And here we are tonight. All tucked in for a low of 5 degrees, positively balmy. The night sky is of a thousand plus stars and now we know how the 7 sisters got up there and that they are looking out for us now. Nighty night.