Silverton is a desolate spot 26 kms north-west of Broken Hill and these days its population is somewhere between 50 and 60. Originally a silver mining town it is now predominantly a tourist town although it has a thriving arts community. One such artist that I visited was Peter Browne, famous as the Vegemite painter. His paintings when I visited were expensive, so I bought a small one only. In retrospect probably a good thing as Roger doesn’t like the emus as much as I do, however, his paintings have appreciated by around 10% for each year of purchase so happily my expensive purchase is now worth much more.
Imagine living in a place where the single storey buildings are taller than the highest tree, or not seeing a blade of grass, just the bare dirt and where eyes are constantly squinting in the harshness of the sun. This isn’t desert, but is classified as being in the semi-arid zone with an annual rainfall of around 190mm. Silverton is surrounded by land that belongs to no council but rather is Crown Land known as the Silverton Common where you can buy a license to graze your animals. This was set up when they used to walk the beasts to market. What they eat goodness knows, but they have an area of 120,000 acres to find something to munch on.
Peter Browne the artist.
Most of you know the Silverton Pub. If you have seen Mad MaxII, Wake in Fright, A town Like Alice, Dirty Deeds and countless others – then you have seen the Silverton Pub. As well as tourism the town has had a life-saving source of revenue in the making of these productions and of course – in 2010 the mad max museum opened in the town.
My memories of Silverton revolved however around the Vegemite artist and having a drink in the Silverton pub. I’d already embarrassed myself in the Broken Hill Pub by drinking beer through a straw (I wasn’t a beer drinker in those days) so I refrained from doing that again here. Instead, Roger and I had a conversation that had all the patrons joining in and taking sides. Pre-nuptial agreements. For or against. Roger was for, I wasn’t. At this point Roger and I were friends, possibly best friends but we certainly had no thought of marrying, each other that is. We had gone to Broken Hill to visit a mutual friend and this was purely a philosophical conversation. First the girl working the bar threw in her thoughts and then, the drinkers, one by one ,joined in. Tempers flared in the heat of the day fuelled by schooner fulls of pale ale. Roger and I decided we were best leaving before it got out of control and left them to continue the discussion. Neither Roger nor I have ever mentioned prenuptial agreements since.
Thank you to Norah Colvin who nominated me this challenge. Norah’s passion is childhood education and even if you don’t have children, there is always thought-provoking insightful writing that keeps those grey cells working.
The blogger I am nominating today (with no pressure to join in ) is Tish Farrell. If you wish to participate it is 1 photo a day for five days add a story fiction or non-fiction or poetry, link to the person that nominated you and nominate 1 person each day.