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Bright future beckons

Saturday, 31st December, 2011

By Paula Doran

 Today we gather some of the Far West’s leaders - the movers and shakers if you like - to look ahead to the New Year.

(If you move and shake and we haven’t included you, apologies now.) 

While many of our city’s leaders come from vastly different backgrounds - some born and bred, travelled, educated and returned - others are from away, that mysterious place that encapsulates the rest of the world outside Broken Hill.

What they have in common is focus, drive and commitment.

They are united in their mission to drive into 2012 and achieve a goal.

And while on first glance each of those goals is quite separate, scratch a little deeper and you will see that it’s actually the same goal that unites them. They all want the Far West to progress, to gain momentum, drive and inspiration and operate at its very best.

What a lovely thought. And why not?

Why shouldn’t this unique outback jewel rise in the coming year and achieve all that is humanly possible?

It’s a long time between drinks for the movie industry, perhaps by the end of the year the world will be talking about the new ‘Priscilla’ and mumbling ‘Max who?’ at that promise long gone.

We are certainly ending the year in incredible shape in the mining industry. CBH is chugging along and the Rasp Mine will be in full production next year.   Perilya has promised 10 years or more, depending on the ore extracted from the likes of Potosi and Silverpeak.

One gets the feeling real estate will nudge past its stubborn streak when CBH launches into a further recruitment drive in the coming months. 

Housing sales are like a petulant child sometimes. No matter how hard you plead, push, placate and boss, they just won’t move until they’re ready.

On the broader horizon, the city is being called upon to embrace a technology-rich future. If Linda Nadge has her way every resident and politician alike will soon understand the true depths of possibility and necessity of what could be from a fast broadband connection.

Where the houses end, and the pastures begin, the graziers of the Far West are quietly heading into a good year. One never likes to get too excited because there’s a high risk bushfire season to get through. 

But if the stock prices stay high and feed keeps coming, then the reunions planned for Agfair in May, (when four-wheel-drives are tethered like horses in an old Western), will be plucky gatherings indeed.

Back on asphalt and there is a sense of excitement in the cafes for brunch. A quiet excitement buzzes for those who let it. There is something new about to arrive and it’s more than just Eggs Benedict at Alfrescos!

In the 1990s when Tony Blair was voted in as Prime Minister, British newspapers declared the new guard had arrived. The good-ship Cool Britannia was launched, a catch-phrase that came to embody a sense of renewal, youth and energy that was overtaking a tired old girl.

It’s that sense of renewal that I feel in Broken Hill right now. The return of Robin Sellick, who with partner in crime, Jack Marx, has spent easily a year celebrating the essence of the Silver City and its people through their book “The Life and Times in the Republic of Broken Hill.”

Sellick lives and breathes his belief in the dusty old girl that is Broken Hill. He adds vibrant hues to a dusty horizon, as does Jack, a Sydney journo entrenched in the media pack who was so drawn by those stories of the Hill, the sense of something just a little magic, that he pulled up digs and moved here.

Tonight I am going to sit and reflect in my favourite place in Broken Hill. It is perhaps the belly and base of the new guard - The Palace. But it’s not Mario’s any more, it’s Esther’s, just another one of the many BH-born characters who have returned from adventures afar to carry their home town into the next chapter.

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