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Mad Max Four and Silverton.

Road Trip Day 5: 27th May 2007 (Afternoon)

The town of Silverton, just north of Broken Hill, is one of the most filmed towns in Australia. Most known for Mad Max 2 (just on the outskirts of town was the location of the film's fortress) other films shot here include, Dirty Deeds, Razorback, A Town Like Alice, The Craic and more.

In particular, the Silverton Hotel has not only been featured in many films but also appeared in many TV commercials. It's name has been changed so many times it must be hard for locals to keep track of when visitors arrive; "Can you tell me where the Mundi Mundi Hotel is?". If you ever visit the Silverton Hotel, there is a list on the wall telling you all the names and for which film or commercial the name was used for.

It's not just the exterior of the hotel that has been filmed either. The interior is 'classic' Aussie Pub too. Perhaps that's why it's been used in a number of beer commercials?

If you want to know exactly what Silverton's film history is just visit the Hotel and browse the film memorabilia on the walls. There's photos of Mel Gibson and the Mad Max crew actually in the Pub.

An interesting newspaper article pinned to one wall from 2002 talks about Mel Gibson's production company, Icon Pictures making Mad Max Four in Africa because they were unable to get studio space in Australia (at the time most of our major studios were booked out with the second Star Wars Trilogy). I don't know what became of Mad Max Four. Never heard of it going into production but I hope it does some day.

I know the focus has been on Mad Max (what can I say I'm a fan of those films - especially number 2) but, just before I change topic, I can't not mention the replica of Max's car in film number 2 that is permanently parked out the front of the pub. The car looks like it has seen better days and one could almost believe it is the, some what beaten up, car from the film.

Silverton, whilst being a very empty town with a population between 62-82 people depending on which brochure you read, is home to a number of Australian artists including, John Dynon and Pete Browne. Rose and I visited both artists galleries.

John paints bright Australian landscape images that are spectacular to say the least. He seems to have quite a sense of humor too, which is reflected in the exterior of his studio where a prominent, occupied, out door 'dunny' greets you at the gate.

Pete Browne has a wicked sense of humor too and appeals more to my taste. His work is cartoonish and illustrative but definitively 'Aussie'. He's developed a particular type of emu character that recurs throughout his cartoons, oil paintings and sculptures. Outside his studio you can see and old volkswagon decorated with the 'Pete Browne Emu' (see photo)

Whilst his paintings and sculptures are the centre of attention in his gallery there are the occasional panels with Pete Browne quotes that enhance his off beat humor. One such panel reports that he has lost his space ship and if found please return it so Pete can go home.

The rest of Silverton is equally interesting. There is the Old Gaol Museum, The Coin Carvery, Horizon Gallery and a very nice cafe where Rose and I stopped for a late lunch.

We finished our day by heading out to the Mundi Mundi Lookout (otherwise known as the Mad Max lookout). From this lookout you can see the site of the Mad Max fortress (though not much remains since they blew it up). What is more impressive is that you can see the horizon for such a wide expanse that you can actually notice the curvature of the earth.

Silverton is easily a day trip if you don't want to rush seeing everything. It's far from the 'ghost town' that the brochures describe but it's about as close to a ghost town as you can get with people still living there.

As a failed mining town, with many of its original buildings either falling down or having been transported to Broken Hill years ago, it feels isolated and forgotten. However, as a tourist attraction, the locals are working hard to keep the town alive.

It really is a town with something for everyone.

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