So . . . like many Aussies our overseas holiday was cancelled because of the COVID pandemic.

What to do? Where to go? Like the rest of Australia we’ve decided to hit the road in search of a little adventure — to break the boredom at home.

Our destination is outback Broken Hill and we’re driving a bright orange Citroen C5 Aircross (beep if you see us).

Reckon we won’t see another car like this one out there.

Day Eight takes us 300km from Broken Hill to the opal mining town of White Cliffs.

But before leaving Broken Hill and our friends behind, promising to come back soon — we decide to give the Citroen C5 Aircross a wash.

It will get dirty again soon enough, but it’s better than having the bugs baked on by the sun and becoming part of the paintwork.

There’s also one last thing we want to check out before leaving town.

Back in the 1980’s, artist Pro Hart built a house on Chloride St, but it wasn’t just any house.

This one comprises a couple of domes linked by a tunnel.

The idea had legs but in reality with fixed windows and little ventilation, mould started to form all over the interior walls.

And, with round walls, it was difficult to find furniture that would fit the rooms.

Oh, Mr Hart!

Locals call it the “Bra House” because the two domes with their round protruding vents on top look like . . .  well, a pair of boobs.

It seems Mr Hart was a comedian as well as an artist of note.

Unfortunately, the Bra House is difficult to photograph concealed as it is behind a high fence and hedge.

Guess the current owners got tired of tourists wanting to photograph it while they were having a barbie outside.

As we leave Broken Hill behind we pass a pair of large satellite dishes that sit behind a high chain wire fence set a couple of hundred metres back from the road.

There’s no sign to indicate who they belong to or to explain their purpose in anyway..

Maybe they’re part of the US Government’s early warning missile system?

As midday passes the temperature is already sitting on 40 degrees and is sure to get higher.

The flies are a constant source of annoyance.

They’re on you as soon as you get out of the car and so persistent that the great Australian wave becomes the great Australian dance.

The road ahead and even the clouds themselves are tinged red from a dust storm and willy-willys form quickly and just quickly dissolve again as we pass.

White Cliffs is one of four places opal is mined in Australia.

Opal was discovered here in 1872 by a group of kangaroo shooters.

When the group filed a claim, opal had not yet been listed under gemstones, so it was decided to file the claim under the Gold Mining Act.

Cricketer Bill O’Reilly was born in White Cliffs, the son of the first school teacher and rated by the Don as the best bowler he ever faced.

Many of the locals (there’s about 100 of them we’re told) live underground to escape the intense heat.

We’re spending a couple of nights in the Underground Motel, so at least it will be cool.

The rooms are rudimentary with a toilet down the hall and shared bathroom facilities that are accessed from outside — but it’s all about the novelty.

Luckily, we have a booking because the bloke behind us was turned away.

Unluckily, we arrive at the same time as a bus full of oldies, who we’re told will be eating at 7 o’clock.

The pub does dinner, suggests a tactful receptionist.

After unpacking the car we find a quiet room down the hall.

Hope the pub’s good?

More to come tomorrow.

 

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Chris Riley e1562539398605 96x96 - We hit the road to Broken Hill -- Day 8

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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