We stopped over in Peak Hill to see the largest fish fossil in the world: 4.5 metre long Xiphactinus.
Slightly disappointingly, it is a model of a fossil found in Kentucky. However, I could not tell the difference, and it beautifully captures the detail, so I enjoyed it nonethless. There were also “real” trilobites…
… and smaller, but real, fish fossils.
It’s a small collection, but worth a view if you are in town or passing through.
Peak Hill also has a gold mine.
It was worked originally in the nineteenth century for a few months, and then again early this century for six years. There still is a lot of gold, but it is not economic to extract at present.
Cobar is called “Copper City”. They found a bit of gold amongst the copper, but that was just used to defray working costs of the mine – a nice problem to have. Although the mines are mostly abandoned now, there still is a lot of copper still – the owners are waiting for the price to rise.
The heritage society had done a great job at rescuing the various artefacts. I fell in love with the fire engine.
I also really want this for my work chair. The red button on the right would be my “publish the new web site” button. I reckon two joysticks would be better than a mouse!
Broken Hill is still principally a mining town, but has many museums and galleries which are worth a view. The railway museum was our first visit and my favourite.
I loved the old surveying equipment. I am sure this is very close to what my grandfather used in his surveying days.
The astonishing thing for me was that Broken Hill was a major rail junction. There was a tram line that ran from here to Silverton, which is now a ghost town. These steam trains pulled that train.
They also had the Silver Comet, a diesel train that used to connect the various mining towns.
There was a lot of cute paraphernalia from the train ways. I liked this inspection car.
The next museum was the silver mint – lots of lovely things to see and buy, but no photos allowed. Finally, we visited Pro Hart’s gallery. A video presentation told me a lot about this artist – I just thought he messed up carpets.
Silverton is an abandoned mining town that has discovered as new life as a movie set. It has appeared in many movies that I do not recognise, but I did see “A Town like Alice”. Their big movie was Mad Max 2. Ash, Carmel and I visited the museum.
The museum had a number of the vehicles from the movie, mostly stunt doubles and fragments from crashes.
I must confess I saw the movie but cannot remember much detail. I think we need a Mad Max a-Thon when we return to Sydney.
We reached the souvenir store but there was a queue head of us.
These tame donkeys are a bit of a tourist attraction – they feature on the Silverton facebook page. Ash could not resist a selfie!
Coober Pedy is one strange town. As you approach you are travelling through arid, treeless country. (Oddly, it had rained recently, so it was quite green.) Then suddenly when you are about 10 KM out of town you run into all these piles of white mine tailings. Within the town itself, the piles join up into almost continuous tailings. Miners often start on a hill side and then turn their initial excavations into a home and keep adding tunnels.
The Serbs went as far as to excavate a church from an old mine.
We tried our hand a fossicking – called noodling when you re-examine tailings.
I mostly found ochre, but we all bagged some interesting silca crystals.
To the north of the town are the stunning “breakaways”. I think I could dedicate a blog to that one. Here is a panorama I took – click for more detail.