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The Broken Hill Sculptures Symposium and Living Desert

Why Visit The Living Desert and Sculptures

What makes the Broken Hill Sculptures spectacular is the sunlight reflection that adds changing colours and nuances to their natural sandstone. Every day at sunset, the light creates a unique canvas of colours and shadows. Truly magnificent scenery that you must witness live. Let your trip to Broken Hill start here with this guide to the sandstone sculptures and the Living Desert flora and fauna.

The Magnificent Broken Hill Sculpture Symposium
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Interesting facts about the Broken Hill Sculptures

The Broken Hill Sculpture Symposium work commenced on 1st of April 1993 and ended in the first week of May. From then, a lonely hill named Sundown, the haunt of wedge-tailed eagles, was transformed into an iconic artwork for this mysterious Outback town. The 53 tonnes of stones, cut from sandstone boulders from the Wilcannia region, were transported up to the Sundown, with the help of the whole community, from local contractors to the city council.

Here is what Lawrence Beck, the director of the Sculpture artworks said:

The help we had from the people of Broken Hill was an heroic scale and resembled to me the city of Lhasa in Tibet, also in a harsh climate, survives because of its incredible ability to give.

The 12 beautiful Broken Hill Sculptures

The team of 12 international artists carved the rocks into 12 beautiful sculptures within six weeks. Let’s take a look at some of these 12 sculptures standing against the blue and pink sky on the Sundown Hill.

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The Motherhood

(on the right-hand-side). The sculpture of Motherhood is symbolic of the connection between mother and child with its finer details left up to the viewer’s imagination. Badri Salushia from Azerbigan carved this sculpture. He says: “The child is a portrait of my son and the fine details are left to your own interpretation“.  Gordon Pupangamirri made the breath-taking Tiwi Totems. The sculpture depicts traditional burial poles with carved birds, fish, and tortoises.

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The Bride by Dr Mahomad Mira

The Bride by Dr Mahoma Mira illustrates the figure of a reclining woman with her face and breasts facing the sun; her hand is raised in greeting. Emu, kangaroo and the Southern Cross are all symbols represented on the body of the woman. This piece is very graceful to behold. The Horse constructed by Jumber Jikiya pays tribute to horses and the nobility of these beautiful creatures. At Stalin’s request, all the Georgian horses were slaughtered.

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Angels of the Sun and the Moon

The Angel of the Sun and the Moon  – on the right-hand-side – was created by Valerian Jikiya. This work was described by the sculptor as a device to measure time and light. The eastern face of the sculpture reflects the moon, and the western front reflects the sun. Each season brings about changes in the statue due to the shadows that flit across it.

The Moon Goddess

The moon Goddess, by Conrad Clark, is a work of art representative of the moon. It is based on an Aboriginal Legend of a woman who steals the moon and places it in a dilly bag. You can see the legend in this amazing sandstone sculpture.

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Bajo El Sol Jaguar

It could not be a Sculpture Symposium Guide without a photo of the Bajo el Sol Jaguar. This is probably the most photographed sculpture, on media, printed brochures and magazines, making of the Sculpture Park Broken Hill an international artwork.

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The light and shadow reflecting on the stone, changing the colours of the sculpture sunset.

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The most well-known piece of Sculpture Hill is the Bajo el Sol Jaguar by Antonio Nava Tirado. It is something you must see in Outback NSW. This sculpture is a rendering of the duality of day and night. It is one of the most photographed sculptures here and is also celebrated as an international work of art. The star of Venus represents the night, and the circle created by the sun represents the day.

Enjoy the Sculpture Sunset

The sunset from the Sundown Sculpture Hill is magnificent, among the most beautiful sunsets, you can experience in the Australian Outback. Because of the light reflection all over the surrounding outback plains, colours constantly change from soft pink to dark violet, from golden orange to scarlet red. From the photos here below you can get an idea of how they look like.

This spectacular sunset scenery will make you want to come back to Broken Hill to marvel at the sheer beauty of the Sculpture Symposium and the peacefulness of the outback landscape.

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Hope you enjoyed this virtual Sculpture Symposium Tour and inspired you to experience it live.

How to get to the Sculpture Symposium Broken Hill

To reach the top of the hill, there are two ways: you can either walk the 1,5km trail form the living desert main area where you have parked your car, after visiting the Living Desert Reserve, or you can drive back past the main entrance and turn left for more 2km up to the hill.

The walking trail is what mostly appeal to people, but if you decide to walk up the hill you will have to walk back unless someone is picking you up at the other side. Walking back after sunset means walking in the darkness, so wear sturdy shoes and take a torch with you, if you decide for the walking trail to the sculptures hill.

The Broken Hill Sculpture & Living Desert Sanctuary

The Living Desert Sanctuary is a unique desert flora and fauna reserve, located only 9 km from Broken Hill, where you will experience some unique Australian nature’s beauty. The wide open spaces of the Outback with an abundance of native wildflowers and plants, such as the Stuart Desert Peas, the desert wattle, wild peaches, silver tails to name a few. Moreover, you will walk various trails through the reserve, learning about the culture of the indigenous people. Spotting wildlife, red kangaroos, colourful birds will also be part of your experience.

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The Living Desert includes beautiful walking trails. Start with the flora walking trail, to then proceed with the cultural walk trail. The whole park is bordered with an electrified fence to protect the park from feral animals, like cats and foxes. The main entrance gate closes at 4.30 pm, so unless you want to jump over the electrified fence, make sure you are back on time and make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy at a slow pace this timeless natural reserve.

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The Flora Walk Trail in the Living Desert Sanctuary

The Flora Walk Trail is one of the trails within the Living Desert Sanctuary where you will have the chance of seeing many native plants and wildflowers and read about them. Several boards close to each plant show not only the plants names but also explain about the ecosystem and the management for biodiversity. Some photos reveal the beauty and the itinerary through the park.

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There are so many beautiful plants and wildflowers; here you can view some of them.

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The Cultural Walk Trail in the Living Desert Sanctuary

The cultural walk trail encompasses another section of the living desert and leads you through indigenous sites where you will learn about the cultural significance of the place. Moreover, along this route, there are lookouts with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Simply unbelievable as you can see from the photos here below.

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The Cultural Walk Trail takes you through interesting aboriginal heritage sites like the simulated shelters built with broken Mulga for protection from the sun and dust storms. The 12 poles are made from Red River Gum by aboriginal students and stand out across the blue sky and the vast horizon. Altogether you will walk through 9 sites including a scenic lookout, a viewing hide where kangaroos and native animals come in to feed or just to find shelter from the sun.

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The site no. 9 is the white quartz outcrop. Truly amazing. These white rocks stand out across the red earth landscape. Spotting wildlife is the most exciting part of the discovery itinerary in the Living Desert Sanctuary.

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Can you see the kangaroo in the middle of the photo? It was challenging to take a picture here because of the electrified fence, but a fantastic experience to see kangaroos hooping into the bushes.
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Everywhere inside the Living Desert and especially from the lookout, you can view the vastness of the outback, the sheer beauty of the wide-open spaces, as far as the eye can reach.

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Where to stay in Broken Hill

I was not surprised when I found out that there are over 150 accommodation places in Broken Hill. From hotels to B&B, cottages, Holiday units, Bungalows, hostels you have a wide choice.

Check our Broken Hill Travel Guide

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Broken Hill Sculptures and Living Desert Sanctuary
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