Sunday, October 23, 2011

Silver screen @ Silverton

I guess I could acknowledge that I'm no movie buff, but even I've heard of the Mad Max movies. In the vague sort of way non movie goers have, I knew it'd been filmed somewhere in Australia, but hadn't realised I was in the very town we were camping near till someone asked how much time I'd spent at the Mad Max Museum and the Silverton Hotel.
Hmm, perhaps I missed out on something?
The Silverton Hotel.
Its name changes regularly to fit the theme of the movie.
As for the Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, I had seen and enjoyed it. Oh, so that was filmed here too - and how many other movies? Twenty-four! How many have I seen? mumblemumblemumble, shuffleshuffle, change of subject...
What I referred to as The Priscilla Road. I resisted the
temptation of sitting on the roof of the car, swathed in chiffon.
Possibly I'd seen some of the vast array of advertisements filmed in Silverton? Perhaps something eyecatching from Panasonic, Landrover, Telstra, Coca Cola, West End Beer, Dove Soap, Hyundai, Mercedes Benz, Pajero, Smiths Chips, Pepsi, Gatorade or Mastercard? um, er, no, ah well there you have it, I don't watch TV much either.
Googlemaps gives an idea of the size of Silverton in its heyday. There you'll see streets and house lots clearly marked as if they exist even today. Now it's a shadow of its former self, except I assume during filming.

At its peak there were 3000 people enjoying the spoils of the minerals found here, but as these declined, and people moved to the now bustling town of Broken Hill a short drive away, with its richer mineral deposits, the population fell to its current level of less than 50.

There are places of interest for the tourist in Silverton, an attractive cafe, artists clearly inspired by the dramatic landscape selling their work, museums, a coin cutter and not a lot else.
The cafe features old walls and garden -
the indoors part of the cafe is out of the pic to the right.
Andy Jenkins, the coin cutter is the only person registered to deface Australian coins. He makes great jewellery! Any of the pieces would make a distinctively Aussie gift or memento.  Link here with good shots of his welcoming studio and an aerial photo of Silverton - his web site is well worth looking at to get a sense of the area.  (No, I'm not on commission! We spent an entertaining 1/2 hour at Andy's workshop - he clearly loves his work and spins a good yarn.  His pendants, buttons and charms are refreshingly different from the mass produced, cloned jewellery you see all too frequently.)

As a destination Silverton is great and I'm glad we stayed there rather than at the more urban Broken Hill.
We picnicked at the most remote picnic bench I've ever sat at.
Thanks to the people who carted it  up the hill!
Hmm, but if you want to live the high life, it may not be your thing.
Vast, desolate, beguiling. We missed the lightning storms over the Mundi Mundi Plain
 - which was possibly for the best, as we would have been the tallest things around for ... forever.
A close up of the sign in the pic above.
I wanted to ask who would trespass, and why -
which I hope doesn't sound cityfied and arrogant, but I am genuinely curious.
The Mundi Mundi Plane stretches 400 km to the west to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. Mundi Mundi means no water - uh huh, that seems pretty accurate. Video here.
See all those little blue lines that normally denote rivers and wetness?
It's a trick. They're mostly dry except after the odd flood.
Wheehooo - a pretty standard riverbed!
Note the blocks of concrete - they used to be the road.
It was washed out in the recent severe floods.
The Barrier Ranges viewed from the campsite.
Delicate sunset over the Mundi Mundi Plain

More information on Silverton is here, including accommodation, tours, history and places of interest.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. great to see and I'm not sure I'd have known if Mad Max was American or Aussie - I don't think I've seen any. Though Priscilla Queen of the Desert was great fun ..

Love the photos and descriptions - the jewellery guy shows how to reinvent himself .. I must say it looks an interesting part of the world, despite the flatness ..

Cheers Hilary

Manzanita said...

Dear Sue,
I get so caught up with "life" and then I realize I miss reading special blogs.
I've thought I've always lost myself in movies but you got me on this one. Never saw the Max series.
That picture of you at the picnic table in the middle of "flat" is a classic. You hit on the high spots.... as in the sign... "Trespassers will be prosecuted." That is such a hoot. When I see flat land like that, I think of my dog. She could run in every direction and never get out of sight. :)
I better think about a new post. Past time. Ha

Liza said...

Thank you for taking us on this trip with you.

Ms. Becky said...

WHAT??? you live in where you do and you've never seen a Mad Max movie? oh dear. we've got to get you some culture Sue. :) now it's my turn - I've never heard of the Priscilla Queen thing...
but really the MM movies are classics. check them out.
your photos are testament to how vast and beautiful a land it is where you live. just breathtaking. happy week to you Sue. (and I really do miss your shadow shots).

sue said...

Hilary, Priscilla was good wasn't it. It's strange how the pictures don' truly give an indication of the way the sparse beauty gets under your skin. I wonder if that's how it is in Africa?

Manzanita, "life" does rather get in the way doesn't it. Becky (a few comments further on) recommends the Mad Max movies, perhaps we'll have to watch one sometime! As for dogs, I think they'd suffer with the vicious prickles, but I know what you mean. Hope you're well and having a good week.

Liza, my pleasure. I'm ready to head off again, pity it's not possible!

Becky, oh dear. My hard won credibility has just gone AWOL totally. How about you watch Priscilla and I watch Mad Max? Shadows get in your blood don't they! Must get back to them.

It's lovely to see you all here. Have a great week.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. Priscilla was fun and gave us that glimpse into the outback .. I'm sure Africa and Aus have similar drawings into their lands that will remain under our skins.

Enjoy the week - sorry you can't leave home just yet again! Holidays are always good .. Hilary

Arlee Bird said...

The Mad Max series is one of my favorites. Silverton and the Mundi Plain look like fascinating areas. Reminds me of parts of Texas. I love desolation.

A Faraway View

sue said...

Lee, I really have to watch those movies, it's just that blogging seems to take all my time! There's something about the sheer space and emptiness that gets under your skin isn't there. Wonderful stuff!