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Home > Travelogues > 2017 Travelogues Index > Broken Hill, New South Wales 4

Broken Hill, New South Wales - history, mining and art

Art

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In September 2017, not long after we left New South Wales to return home, Brooklyn based artist Damien Mitchell completed an impressive sixteen metre long mural of the Afghan Cameleers and the Ghan train which was named in their honour on the Almiraj Sufi and Islamic Study Centre, on the corner Bromide and Argent Streets.  The mural (above) depicts Bejah Dervish and the Ghan passenger train. See the full story on Art News Portal.

 

There are over thirty arts and crafts galleries in Broken Hill.  The city is also home to some internationally recognised artists. 

 

In 1973 Pro Hart, Eric Minchin, Jack Absalom, John Pickup and Hugh Schulz formed the Brushmen of the Bush to exhibit their work worldwide.  This put Broken Hill on the map as a centre for art. 


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Murals

Beryl Street murals: Paintings adorn the street front of this building, which was originally part of a Bowling club with three bowling greens.  Now it is the Centre for Community; a meeting place for community groups and events with Sturt Park extending behind. These murals were painted by Geoff De Main in 1992, representing past and present life in Broken Hill.  A selection of these shown below. 

Mural can be found on a number of buildings, including the mural featured at the top of this page.  One of most striking is of trains, on the front of the Railways Station in Crystal Street (below).  These striking images of steam strains are painted to appear that they are bursting through a brick wall.  These murals were painted in 2004 by local artist Geoff Domain.

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Kevin Charles (Pro) Hart was born in Broken Hill in 1928. His early years were spent on “Larloona” a sheep station, near Menindee, learning by correspondence school. He was drawing from a young age, illustrating his homework at seven and progressing steadily in his talent.

 

He continued to paint and draw after moving back to Broken Hill in his early twenties, even as he worked the long underground shifts in a mine. Indeed, the hard work and the characters in the mine provided much inspiration for the narrative category of his painting styles.

 

In 1976 he was awarded an MBE for his services to art in Australia. In 1982 he received an Honorary Life Membership of Society International Artistique for outstanding artistic achievement. This is granted to only one artist per continent and in 1983 he received an Australian Citizen of the Year Award.

 

Outside of painting, Pro collected vintage cars and a variety of motorbikes. He lifted weights to keep fit, was an “A” grade pistol shooter, loved music and inventing different kinds of engines and machines.

 

Visitors can see a gallery of his art works in Wyman Street, featuring a painted Rolls Royce in front of the gallery.   

 

His paintings adorn the walls in the airport terminal building, depicting aspects of life in and around Broken Hill.  Some are shown here at right.

 

Pro hart designed sculptures can be seen in Broken Hill, such as The Ant and End of Shift on display at the Kintore Reserve.

 

On 28th March 2006 Pro Hart died at his home in Broken Hill.  Read Pro Hart's biography.  

 

Paintings on a wall at the Broken Hill Airport, painted by Geoff De Main. 

 

 

Today there are numerous art galleries around the town, outnumbering the hotels, and a hotel where the walls are a gallery of art; the Palace Hotel.

 

 

 

 

Jack Absalom was born in 1927 in Port Augusta, South Australia, Jack Absalom worked in the North Mine at Broken Hill, New South Wales, where he has resided for the past 66 years. He was brought up in the Nullarbor, west of Port Augusta, and from an early age developed a wide knowledge of the Australian outback from Aboriginals.

 

In 1972, Absalom made a trip to the Flinders Ranges with a group of artists. Although he had never before painted, he felt a great urge to paint the landscape and a natural talent was discovered. He became one of the members of the Brushmen of the Bush; a group of five artists who exhibited in Australia and all over the world raising money for charity. In 1997 he opened his gallery in Broken Hill which showcases his oil paintings, prints, publications, DVDs and his opal collection. Each year Absalom would disappear into the Australian outback for two months to paint.

 

He also starred in a number of television series produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) covering survival techniques and documentaries on the Australian outback.

 

Absalom has been the recipient of various awards, including “Australian Achiever of the Year Award” 1988 and the “Advance Australia Award” in 1995 both acknowledging his contribution to art; “Broken Hill Citizenship Award” for his promotion of Broken Hill; and “Medal of the Order of Australia” (OAM) in 2006 for service to the visual arts as a painter and to the community through fundraising for a range of charitable organisations. 

 

Biography of Jack Absalom from Wikipedia

 

Silver City Mint and Art Centre in Chloride Street displays and sells art and jewellery.  It is also home to The Big Picture, a landscape 100 metres long and 12 metres high, said to be the largest in the world to be painted by one person.  Artist Ando created this multi-dimensional acrylic on canvas painting in 2001-2001. 

We will see more Sculptures at the Living Desert Reserve
 
The Broken Hill area has been the venue used in many movies, particularly the Silver
Follow our visit to Broken Hill and Far Western New South Wales on the following pages
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At the corner of Sulphide and Blende Streets outside the City Council Chambers, Jamieson's Shaft sculpture was created by sculptor Max Lyle in 1979.
 
From plaque in site:
 
 
 
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