The magical light at Broken Hill

Broken Hill, this heritage listed city nestling at the base of the Barrier Ranges and surrounded by desert, is renowned for the quality of its light. Artists have, for years, been drawn to settle here. The light is crystal clear and colours sparkle. It has a spiritual aura. This is what drew sculptures from around the world in 1993 to be part of a sculpture symposium.

This is a definite must see, so late one afternoon we drove the 10 kilometres to the “Living Desert Reserve”b h arfjc 024_4000x3000We had to bypass the flora and fauna sanctuary as the trail up Sundown Hill to the site of the sculptures would take approximately an hour and the plan was to see the sculptures in that magical light of the golden hour.

The trail was not an easy walk, the track was covered with rocks and boulders and had to scramble along in some places but oh the scenery was stunning. sculptures (9 of 25)_4000x3000sculptures (10 of 25)_3781x2836Bathed in that special late afternoon glow. Suddenly an inquisitive head popped out from behind a rock.sculptures (6 of 25)_3340x2526Look at the size of those ears. sculptures (7 of 25)_3517x2636As we approached the top looking back I could see Broken Hill in the distance.sculptures (14 of 25)_3827x2870Then rounding a corner the sculptures dominated the area with their presence. The first one was engraved with the names and nationalities of the 12 sculptorssculptures (11 of 25)_2201x2875The story of the creation of the symposium is the stuff of legends. How one mans dream became a reality. This was told on the information board and it tells it so much better than I could, so I will let it explain how it started.

sculptures (12 of 25)_3587x2787After walking up the track to the top of Sundown Hill and seeing the magnificent views spread below, bathed in that special light, I could visualise how Lawence Beck would have a special connection to this site after seeking the spiritual guidance of the great wedge-tailed eagle. So began the start of his journey to create these awe-inspiring works of art. sculptures (13 of 25)_3645x2734I read this information board and it sent shivers down my spine as I visualised these 12 men working day and night to transform the huge blocks of sandstone and breathe life into them to create imposing works of art.sculptures 2 (8 of 20)_3989x2992sculptures 2 (10 of 20)_3763x2797This is the imposing sculpture that Lawrence Beck created back in 1993. These sculptures have been here 25 years now and are an icon that will go down in history as the creation of this one mans dream. sculptures 2 (9 of 20)_3602x2619I did not get the information about this balancing monolith. But I see a whale surfacing from the surrounding desert and love how it is swimming toward the setting sun.

sculptures (20 of 25)_3625x2871sculptures (19 of 25)_4000x3000Each sculpture had an information board telling the story of the artist, where they came from and their feelings that inspired the beauty of their work.

A group of students and teachers were the only others at the site and they seemed to be in awe of the sculptures, many of them touching them, but also taking lots of selfies as they did their project to sketch the sculptures and then write about their feelings of them. sculptures 2 (11 of 20)_4000x3000sculptures 2 (12 of 20)_4000x3000Being a horse lover this was one of my favourites. My heart was touched by the fact that it is a tribute to the horses of his homeland that had all been slaughtered at Stalin’s request.

We spent over an hour absorbing the beauty of these sculptures. But the sun is going down, a chill wind is creeping over the site and we have that rugged rocky trail to walk back down. So I will show just one more, another favourite, then leave the rest for another post.

sculptures 2 (3 of 20)_3000x4000sculptures 2 (5 of 20)_3661x2704I will leave you with the mystical sound of Jarge Reyes as he plays “Bajo El Sol Jaguar”

sculptures 2 (17 of 20)_2852x3802sculptures 2 (19 of 20)_4000x3000sculptures (5 of 25)_3848x2501

The Lens-Artist photo challenge from Amy this week is “magical light”



  1. Wonderful light PP. I am not sure about the first two sculptures, but I like the last one – kind of looks like one of the heads on Easter Island although the reference to a jaguar passes me by. You and Jack do a lot of scrambling over rocks! You would think they’d make an accessible pathway to this place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually when we got to the top we found there was a road access for cars round the other side that I totally missed seeing. The walking track was a challenge especially with wonky knees and not too good balance…photos don’t really capture the feeling of the site

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Pauline, I did not follow up on the music that inspired the Aztec sculpture.
    But that music is fitting and enhances the whole effect of the sculpture.
    When I hurry by greedy to fit in everything the true essence is miss.
    To take the time to savour the experience is the way to truly enjoy.
    The music clip you put in was what made this post exceptional.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved visiting this place about 20 years ago. It is so good to see photos of it again and to seee thee magic is still there. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the last things I did before I left Broken Hill was walk up to the sculptures – from the road side, no car access then – at night. They were a favourite place that I visited often. Did you notice my chisel mark on Lawrence Beck’s sculpture??? That was the result of an early morning visit. “Do you want to have a go?” he said!

    You’ve done this special place proud, and oh, the light! You’ve captured it beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So were you one of the inquisitive souls that wandered up while they were creating the sculptures? It would’ve been a magical experience seeing them at night. I can imagine the atmosphere and camaraderie created during the weeks they all spent together and the final result is a magnificent monumental achievement. Lucky you putting your mark in stone


      • Camaraderie, and a few babies so gossip said. A few years later they paid artists to paint at various points around the site en plain air for a few weeks in return for the donation of one painting from the time to the art gallery. Sadly I couldn’t find this collection at the art gallery, and the man I spoke to knew nothing about it. I think such ideas must have departed with the art gallery director of the time.

        Liked by 1 person

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