Day 10 – Menindee to Broken Hill

Compared to our previous logs – the trip to Broken Hill was quick in comparison. Just over 100kms, we were at our first destination by 9.30am or 10am Sydney time. *Insert interesting fact: Broken Hill is 30 minutes behind the rest of NSW – a result of a train line that connected South Australia to Broken Hill over a lifetime ago. Due to this train line, Broken Hill was kept on the same time zone as the remainder of South Australia! Save this fact for your next trivia night at the pub!

After arriving at Broken Hill and scoping out the locale of our caravan park for the evening, we drove to a local caravan repair shop to fix the water pump – a part of the van that had a slight disagreement with me whilst in Menindee. Despite the Menindee site being absolutely beautiful, we had become accustomed to having water connected to the van during our last eight days in the van. As the Menindee caravan site was not connected to ‘main’ water, we had to use the water pump to extract water for drinking, cooking etc. It broke! Hence the need to get it repaired in Broken Hill. After a quick visit to the repair shop, we were back and running (or should I say pumping)… Felt so proud of my manly repairing skills – think I should ask Santa for a tool belt for Christmas!!

We arrived at camp and quickly set up to explore the Living Desert and Sculptures off Nile Mile Road – a short distance out of town. We paid the entry fee we drove a windy road towards the top of a hill, where sculptors from around the world were commissioned to create approximately 12 sandstone artworks depicting stories of Aboriginal legend, horses, a carving of the sculptors son and one in which “only Fred Hollows and I truly know what the sculpture is”. Really interesting for Caroline and I – Audrey and Ava just ran around like headless chooks for 30 minutes.

Another first for Caroline and I at the sculptures. Friends of ours, Claire and Mark, bought us a selfie stick for our adventure (actually in reflection, I think it was bought for the girls – now claimed by me!). We used the selfie stick for the first time today and loved it – think it will get more use over the next 80 days!! Thank you Claire and Mark!!

After visiting the sculptures, we headed to our next artistic location of the day. An enormous (and very impressive) Solar Farm that AGL own, approximately 5kms outside of Broken Hill. For a novice in the energy arena, I have to say I was dazzled by the technology and infrastructure. The site itself was the equivalent of 160 soccer fields! Solar panels as far as the eye could see. Dave (an employee of First Solar) was absolutely fantastic. He explained the Solar Farm, the impact of the elements (rain, clouds) on wattage and the conversion of the energy. I felt extremely comfortable asking what may have been silly questions as was eager to learn from our personal tour of the plant. Caroline too was in awe of the Solar Plant – a different ‘technology’ to the wind farms she is used to. I could tell from her face that her interest was equally matched by her pride in working for AGL.

After our Solar Farm excursion, we decided to divide and conquer. Caroline took Audrey to get restock on supplies, while Ava and I tried to wash off approximately 30kgs of red earth from the car. May sound like a slight ‘Lachlan’ exaggeration, but it really was approximately 30kgs of dirt that came off the car!! Ava and I picked up Caroline and Audrey and headed to our next destination after restocking the van – the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS).

Similar to Caroline’s interest in the Solar Farm, I felt a deep connection and desire to visit the RFDS. Hearing my Gran Gran (Molly St Vincent Welch) state it numerous times, my Great Uncle Kenyon St Vincent Welch, was the first EVER flying doctor, making an emergency flight from Cloncurry to Julia Creek in 1928. Furthermore, my father and mother also worked for the RFDS as doctor and nurse respectively, living in Broken Hill before I was born. This linage made me very proud to be of St Vincent Welch / Beattie stock!!dsc_0956

After visiting the RFDS we returned back to the caravan park for a quick shower as we had civilised dinner plans for the evening. Caroline had managed to arrange a dinner catch up with one of her school mates, John Wenham, his wife Sarah and their daughter Esther in Broken Hill. Coincidently, John recently worked for the RFDS and shared stories of flying to remote areas of New South Wales and Queensland. We shared a few beverages, a lovely meal of ‘Spag Bol’ enjoying our return to civilised life. Ester was absolutely fantastic, entertaining Ava and Audrey while Caroline, John, Sarah and I engaged in adult conversation. Thank you Esther! And a special thanks to John and Sarah for their hospitality! Please look us up if you are ever in Sydney!!

After dinner we headed back to the van. The girls were exhausted from the action packed evening and fell asleep pretty much instantaneously. Soon to bed for Caroline and I – a long trip tomorrow to Hawker (a town in the Flinders Rangers).

4 responses to “Day 10 – Menindee to Broken Hill

  1. What an amazing day, so much happening as it always does in your lives. So pleased that you enjoyed the RFDS and hope Lach that they had the “Welch” spelt correctly, Gran will have a fit.
    A few tears came to my eyes as I remember so clearly the adventures we had while working for the RFDS. It is a wonderful service provided to people living in remote areas and we enjoyed the sessions not only flying out to do clinics, going to emergencies and doing the sessions on the two way radio twice a day from the house that we lived in diagnosing and prescribing medications by numbers from the kit that the people would have in their homestead. We flew to the Flinders and did clinics flying from one property to anotherover a three day period staying in the homesteads on the properties, Nepabunna in the Flinder, Frome Downs and Innaminka.
    I was flown from Nelia not far from Menindee where we were doing a clinic back to BH hospital when I miscarried our first baby. They sent another plane out to fly me in and that is when we discovered that the medical chest was a little out of date something that one did not think of much back in the 70’s and especially having both worked in a busy hospital with a fast turn around of medical supplies. This was a problem as I am Rh negative and I lay in hospital while Dad continued to work with a delightful man Mr Day whose property we had visited and flown him in with a suspected heart attack the previous day. He sat with me to make sure I was alright he would have been my fathers age at the time and I would have be just 22.
    Keep enjoying and discovering this vast and beautiful country of ours. Love to you, Caroline, Ava and Audrey, we do miss you all but so lovely when we can still chat and see you all on face time, something that was not available when we lived in Broken Hill.
    Have a wonderful day today and drive safely.
    Mum,Rosie,Nanna

    Like

  2. Absolutely love the first ‘selfie’!!
    We are really enjoying reading of your adventures and love all the interesting facts, figures and such wonderful photos.
    Hope Ava is feeling like she’s into the swing of things soon – it sure is a huge adjustment for little ones.

    Like

  3. I loved reading today’s adventures and seeing the photos too.
    The AGL story reminds me of a visit to Rockhampton (I think it was) with Caroline on a visit to WA. We venture off the main road to an AGL landfill site. You can imagine how excited I was about that 😩. However with Caroline’s enthusiasm and explanations on renewable energy and the capturing and storing of methane, I was fascinated and really enjoyed the visit after all.😊.
    Gran Gran, John and Rosie will love it that you went to visit the RFDS, all part of their lives and part of Aussie history.
    Fancy finding an Old Decanian in the middle of Australia, us Brits seem to get everywhere.
    I’m amazed that you can find so much to do on a daily basis.
    Love, hugs and kisses to my beautiful granddaughters. 😘

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s