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Memorial access talks ‘underway’

Tuesday, 14th January, 2014

Line of Lode Chef Ethan Davis is job hunting after the announcement that iconic restaurant Broken Earth would close its door - and gates - on Friday. Line of Lode Chef Ethan Davis is job hunting after the announcement that iconic restaurant Broken Earth would close its door - and gates - on Friday.

By Erica Visser

NSW Crown Lands is working to keep the Miners Memorial atop the Line of Lode open, after it was announced Broken Earth restaurant would close its doors on Friday.

Crown Lands inherited the Broken Earth restaurant and Miners Memorial in 2010, after the Line of Lode Association went into voluntary administration.

The restaurant’s lessee, Wilson Cuy Pty Ltd, told staff that the business would close this Friday as it was not making money.

The iconic Miners Memorial is accessed via the restaurant, but a spokesman for NSW Crown Lands said it was in discussions with relevant parties in a bid to keep the historical site open.

“We understand that last week the lessee informed staff of the decision to close,” the spokesman said.

“Crown Lands has spoken to the operators and is continuing to talk to mining company CBH regarding ongoing access to the Miners Memorial for the public.

“It is our intention to keep the memorial open.”

The spokesman said it was too soon to say whether Crown Lands would actively seek another lessee for the restaurant.

Yesterday, the gates to the road leading to the Line of Lode remained closed throughout the day.

Chef Ethan Davis had spent the last five years working most nights at the Broken Earth restaurant.

Mr Davis gave an emotional farewell to co-workers last week, after the news the venue was closing.

He said that staff weren’t entirely unprepared for the announcement as they were aware the business had been under financial strain for some time.

All employees had their contracts changed from permanent to casual during last year, with some facing shift cuts.

Mr Davis, who will be forced move to Adelaide if he cannot find a new job in Broken Hill, said that locals had not supported the business.

“I mean it did come to a shock that the hard decision was made by the management to close, but when your business is running at a loss and you’re not having the locals backing in your non-tourist season it is really hard,” Mr Davis said.

“The (lessees) tried very hard and did every possible thing in their power to keep that place going after my last boss, John Groenendijk, knocked it to the ground and ran off!

“You can only do so much, and everybody knows money doesn’t grow on trees.

“I just hope that someone else will take over the lease because it’s such an amazing place for Broken  Hill.”

Wilson Cuy took over the lease in March last year after Mr Groenendijk’s company, Turnkey Distributors, went into voluntary administration.

Some of the public blamed the structure of the restaurant for its demise, but Mr Davis said that the only problem was the outdoor cool rooms, which required staff to regularly cart food in trolleys.

Mr Davis chose to forfeit his last four shifts in a bid to begin the hunt for a new job.

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