By Lachlan Itter
About a month ago, I went on my first trip to the Outback to visit Broken Hill in far west New South Wales. For any Aussie, there seems to be a romantic attachment to these remote areas and I must admit that even though I only spent 3 days in the town, I absolutely fell in love with it.
There were however, a few things which surprised me...
1. It's not always hot
Don't be fooled into thinking that you'll need to wear shorts and a t-shirt just because you're in the desert. The average temperature around June and July is between 15 and 16 degrees. The entire time I was there I was wearing a jacket and looking back at the footage, there was even condensation on my breath during the morning.
2. Water supply
Where I was in the town, there was an estimated 9 months left before this town of 19,000 people ran completely out of water. The water had been coming from the Menindee Lakes system, through a desalination plant, as well as from bores. A solution has since been found - a 270km pipeline from the Murray River at Wentworth. While this itself is a controversial solution, it will at least provide a reliable and constant water source for the city.
3. Value of mining
This was one of the most surprising facts about the mining in the town - James Poole (one of the Syndicate of Seven who made the first claims in Broken Hill) sold his 1/14 share for 10 bullocks to Sydney Kidman. Kidman sold it 4 months later for £60. By 1890, it was worth £1.2 million.
4. Time zone
Although a part of New South Wales, Broken Hill and the surrounding areas actually observe Australian Central Time. It's a 5.5 hour drive to Adelaide, compared to 13 hours to Sydney so it actually makes a lot of sense. You'll also notice that all of the television and radio programming comes from Adelaide.
But the fact that sticks the most with me, was something I was told by Derek Wyness (a local who has worked on a number of films in the Broken Hill area) when we visited the Mundi Mundi planes on the outskirts of Silverton...