In an LA Tmes article a couple of years ago Christopher Reynolds recommended in a travel article that people step out of their comfort zone on trips to enhance their experience. Going to Broken Hill was Ruth & my recent “stepping out” experience. One of Chris’ 9 recommendations was to hire a local guide without a big bus. We did this in Broken Hill with very mixed results.
We had spent the day in town walking around. We didn’t have a car. It was hot, we were tired, but we still had time for more. The other attractions we were interested in required renting a car. We had tried to do this earlier that day, but all cars were booked. Then we remembered the Sunset Sculptures. The folks at the visitor center had told us earlier that we could hire a local guide to take us there. We walked back to it and booked Milton to take us there. Except for 2 things, it wasn’t worth $90.
Milton picked us up at the visitor center at 4:30. He didn’t say much either driving the 7½ miles west of town to the sculptures or returning. He only became chatty and animated when he told us about the hail storm the previous November that did a lot of damage. He answered my questions curtly and sat in his van while we looked at the works that 12 sculptors had created. In general, he seemed distracted and indifferent. Maybe Milton was just tired of taking customers to the sunset experience. He was, however, honest. He told us bluntly that the town needed more tourist attractions, so the high altitude sculpture park opened in 1993.
The Sculpture Symposium sits atop a rise in the lower Great Basin Range. It’s part of the Living Desert Sanctuary. Milton’s brochure
for the Sunset Sculpture Symposium Tour beckons, “see the stunning sunset and its colors it throws over the country side”. The view is of Outback wasteland beyond the hilltop sculptures. The symposium that brought the sculptures to Broken Hill occurred between April 2 and May 23, 1993. The most popular one is Antonio Nava Tirado’s “Bajo El Sol Jaguar” (Under the Jaguar Sun). Antonio is an Aztec Indian from Mexico City. Based on a song, this sculpture imagines a big cat taking the sun into its mouth at night to protect it. Day is represented by the open circle. Two of the other 11 sculptors invited to participate were from Syria and Georgia. Five of them are Australian with only one having been crafted by a Broken Hill artist. They are somewhat similar.
Two things made this unexpected journey worthwhile. The sculptures were surrounded by an animal reserve. I didn’t know this until we got there and saw kangaroos. When baby roos are found with a deceased mother they are released here to mature. There are currently 30 of them. One ranger acts as custodian to make sure they are not harmed. Milton mentioned that dingos can be a menace. We met Grant and Sherril from Geelong who had also come to see how sunset played on the sculptures. A delightful couple, Grant and Sherril were on their way to Adelaide in their car and invited Ruth and me to go to Silverton with them tomorrow. Silverton, where Mad Max 2 was partially filmed, was not far from the sunset sculptures.