Saturday, 10 October 2015

Day 2 - Broken Hill - Mine Museum (Part 1 of 2)

Our morning started bright and early with much anticipatory energy filling the air.  My Dad cooked us a lovely warm breakfast of fried ham, mushrooms and tomato on toast. We took a drive back into Broken Hill town so I could see the homes where my Grandmother was born as well as the home of her Aunts.

1a Argent Street Broken Hill

This is no 1a Argent Street Broken Hill. In this home some of my extended family. They lived and worked here and it's been beautifully maintained. Sarah and Maria Downes lived here. Aunt Charlotte Downes was a seamstress here.
My Granny (Kathleen Armstrong) as a baby along with her Mom (Bertha), Father (William Armstrong)  and brother (Charles Armstrong) at No 3 Argent Street.

No 3 Argent Street is where my maternal Great-Great-Great Grandmother Downes lived over 100 years ago. Unfortunately I couldn't get a good photo of the home as it now has a fence in front of it. 

Watson Armstrong
Number 3 Argent Street was purchased by Watson Pepper Armstrong and he brought his wife Jane to Broken Hill from Adelaide.  My Grandmother Kathleen Thelma Armstrong was born in this house in 1911. The original floor was made of compact news paper and shone with polish.  After Watson Pepper died my Great Granny made the home into a boarding home (For men with bow-ties only) to generate an income for her family.

Fun Fact:  Argent Street was the first street in Broken Hill.  The name derives from Latin argentum, which derives from the Greek 'Αργυρος, translated as silver or white metal. Silver is one of the precious metals mined in Broken Hill.

Broken Hill Cemetery

Our next stop was at the cemetery.  We found the family grave. I found it really interesting that the cemetery is laid out by denomination.  There are six people buried in this grave. It felt surreal to be standing here and seeing this grave and knowing my ancestors are buried here and that they are part of the founding families of Broken Hill and Australia.


White's Mineral Art & Living Mining Museum

Visiting this great museum was such an amazing experience, this is a living museum. It was opened in April 1991.  Inside was a fascinating experience.  Once we paid our entrance fee we watched a documentary on the mining and beginning of mining in Broken Hill. I loved finding out about the strikes and unrest and realizing that my Grandmother was actually living in Broken Hill during these turbulent times (The Great Strike).  This event led to the 35 hour work week and improved health and safety conditions for all.

Top Row: Phillip Charley (18 years Old Jackaroo - sold his half for $100) George Urquhart (Overseer at Mt Gipps), George Lind (Book Keeper - Sold his shares)
Middle Charles Rasp (German Stratton Hand)
Bottom Row: David James (became rich) George Culloch (Manager at Mt Gipps) and James Poole (Sold his shares)

Here in Australia I have often heard about BHP Billiton. What I did not realise was the BHP stands for Broken Hill Proprietary and was started by seven men (pictured above). The mine began as a silver, lead and zinc mine.  It was incorporated in 1885.

Broken Hill is 132 years old. One of the interesting things about this museum are the pictures.  Each picture is hand crafted out of crushed rock which has been sourced from the local mines.  Some of the historical pictures are made by enlarging historical photographs and using them as a template. There is no glass in front of the artworks as they are very hardy.  You're allowed to touch them to feel the different minerals.

At the end of the video Mr White took us into the passage and switched off the lights and lit a candle which was hand held in an item he called a Spider. He proceeded to show us all the amazing ways in which this candle holder was used in the mines by the employees.  The then presented a talk on the mining methods used over the last 100 years in Broken Hill.  Each of the methods is illustrated in a framed picture made by Mr White.  He started making the pictures in 1971.  He is still making them but says it's becoming harder to source the rock now because mining practices have changed.

The most interesting part of his story was about the Clydesdale horses and how they would tie their feet together and then lift them upside down and lower them into the mine for work. The same method was used to bring them up and out the mine after their rotation of work down below.

After this the lights were put on and we were able to browse and ask questions about the different things we saw.  The inside is built to resemble actual mine shaft heights and environments.

Some of the displays we had a look at:

Actual miner clothing and safety items

Crushed mineral collages of historical buildings in Broken Hill

Nathaniel and Isaac holding mineral rock and seeing how heavy they actually are

Isaac, Nathaniel and Daniel looking at mineral rocks in the show case.

Modern day mine model.

In the mine ...

Mine procedures.

Pictures of mining tools used in Broken Hill and actual implements.

Close up of mining model from the early 1900's

A wheelbarrow from 1800

The mine drill from years ago called a Widow Maker because the dust made the men sick.
Once we had finished looking through the mine we took a look at Mr White's wifes hobby which cosists of a large doll and teddy collection.  She has hand made most of these.

My Dad and I looking over the doll collection.

Nathaniel and Daniel looking at the Teddy Bears Picnic.
I really enjoyed the experience of exploring a little of the history of Broken Hill and the mining industry. In fact I'd love to go back and explore more of the local attractions.

  • This museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  
  • It is a great family experience.  
  • Location: 1 Allendale Street, Broken Hill NSW
  • Phone: 08 8087 2878
At the risk of this post becoming too long I will be sharing the rest of our day in a new post to come.


Friday, 9 October 2015

Sudoku Training Kit for Children {FREE Download}

Sudoku is one of those critical thinking games that I just assumed was far too difficult for me to learn.  It looked complicated to me. A year ago while on holiday my friend encouraged me to give it a go.  She explained the rules and lets just say that was the beginning of a very enjoyable holiday past time for me.

I was at a friends house and she had this really neat wooden Sudoku board on her coffee table and we got chatting about it.  She had designed a really neat children's set and was in the process of teaching her five and seven year old how to work through the thinking stages of Sudoku.  She graciously printed off her training pack and gave me permission to share it with you my readers!

Download your FREE  Sudoku Training Kit for Children here.

Teaching children to play Sudoku is a matter of patient practice and coaching.  In the printable you will find a number of boards to use.

Begin by printing page 9 and 10.  Once you have printed these two pages cut out the Sudoku training boards and laminate them for durability.

Begin with the two by two square board.
From your kit of tactile number blocks gather together four blocks numbered 1 to 4.
Explain to your student that you can only use each number once.
Set up the board with the three suggested numbers and ask your child to add in the final number.

Follow this exercise with using Rows to practice.  Use the same deduction technique.
Now use the column list and redo the same exercise.

From this your student can see that the process is the same in a square, a column and a row.

One your student grasps this concept it is time to practice using six tiles and the six tile 'square' which is found on page 6.

As your student gains confidence follow up with the graded practice working your way up through the different levels adding in more numbers.

Making your own Training Sudoku tiles.

  • One Sheet of half inch square tiles. You will need a total of 91 squares.
  • A permanent marker.
  • Optional—glaze to seal the tiles
Write a single number on each tile. Be sure to draw a line beneath the number six to prevent confusion between nine and six.

You will need nine tiles with the same digit for each numbers one through nine.
Set the tiles aside to allow the ink to set over night. I painted a glaze over mine to give them added protection. You now have enough tiles for a nine by nine square.

Download your FREE  Sudoku Training Kit for Children here.

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Today the homeschool Blogging Crew are sharing some new FREE printables for you to download.

  1. Free Printable Pumpkin Coloring Page for Fall by Amy at Homeschool Encouragement
  2. A Simple Formula to Create Your Own Juice Recipes by Marcy at Ben and Me
  3. Free Alice in Wonderland Mega Pack by Misty at Year Round Homeschooling
  4. Monster Preschool Math Worksheets by Monique at Living Life and Learning
  5. FREE Christopher Columbus Notebooking Pages. by Annette at In All You Do
  6. Creative Homeschooling with Nature Walks & Flowers (Free Notebooking Pages) by Kelli at Adventure Homeschool
  7. Printable Christmas Preschool Pack by Jennifer at Organized Home, Organized Homeschool
  8. Thanksgiving Lego Challenge by Tauna at Proverbial Homemaker
  9. Veteran's Day Unit Study by Tara at Embark on the Journey
  10. Celebrate Canada by Bonnie at Write Bonnie Rose
  11. Be an Encouraging Person {Growing in Godliness Series for Kids} by Anne Marie at Future Flying Saucers

Homeschool Blogging is hosting a weekly FREE Printable Friday each week.

 Do YOU have a FREEBIE to share ?  Join in the fun by linking up below!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Day 1 - Melbourne to Broken Hill {Outback Adventure 2015}

L Dennis, Chareen & Nathaniel 
R Isaac, Derek & Daniel

The reason it's been so very quiet around here is that I have been on the trip of a lifetime into the Outback of Australia.  I do confess that I now have a deeper appreciation for the sheer magnitude of size of Australia.  In the last 22 days I have traveled 6,982 km ( 4,338.5 miles) and I am in awe of the beauty that is Australia. The Outback is the local colloquial term for the isolated rural area of Australia.

Nathaniel and I traveled with my Dad in his Terracan  which is affectionately known as 'Dingo'. It's a Hyundai diesel Terracan 2007 CRDi (King of the Offroad) which has a few modifications for driving in remote areas. My Dad blogs over at Dingo Den's Travels about his travel adventures.

My brother Derek and his two sons Daniel and Isaac traveled together in his 2003 (MY04) NP GLX DiD Pajero. This car is affectionately known as Grunter and you can read about his the modifications he has made to his car in preparation for this journey here: Grunter's Mods.

Happy Birthday Derek!  Cake made by my sister

Over the years the family have developed the tradition of meeting together for a super early breakfast at Mc Donalds before we embark on an adventure.  Seeing that my brother would be celebrating his birthday on our trip my sister baked him a surprise cake!  You can see some of the spectacular cakes she makes over on Facebook and Instagram.

My Dad driving and the beautiful sky as we commenced our adventure.

We were on the road by 6:30 am as we had over 800 km to drive on day one.  Our destination was Broken Hill.  I have wanted to visit here for many years because my maternal grandmother was born here.

'Grunter' trail blazing before us in the early morning.

 We decided to take a slightly different route to Broken Hill via Bendigo.  Bendigo is a beautiful city located in regional Victoria and was birthed during the gold rush. I hope to one day return and explore this beautiful city's architecture and history. An interesting fact about Bendigo is that it is located very closely to the geographical center of the state of Victoria in Australia.

Beautiful fountains along one of the main streets in Bendigo.

One of the glorious cathedrals we passed by.
One of the traditions that my beautiful Mother started with our family whenever we traveled was to stop for morning tea along with her beautiful basket loaded with glass cups, flask, tea and coffee.  At 10 am we arrived in Charlton. We stopped at Travellers Rest to enjoy tea and chocolate muffins. Travellers Rest is located along the Avoca River Walking Track.

Travellers Rest in Charlton.

This fish intrigued me and upon closer inspection I realised it was one of the decorations from Melbourne from the 2006 Commonwealth Games.  It represented Kenya and is a Broadbill Swordfish Xiphias gladius.

This 'key' was made by a volunteer that came to Charlton to help with the clean-up after the devastating floods of January 2011. It represents the spirit of volunteerism in a situation of adversity.

As we drove north it became noticeably warmer and you could see spring being announced in nature all along the road sides.  There was a lot of spring growth upon the trees and there were constant surprises of wild flowers along the roads.

Next stop was Merbein where we enjoyed a beautiful packed lunch that was most satisfying thank you Mom!

About half an hour later we crossed the Murray River over the Abbotsford Bridge.  This bridge is a liftspan bridge. This bridge is a steel Allan truss-type bridge spanning the Murray River between Curlwaa NSW and Yelta Victoria. The Murray River is Australia's longest river at 2,508 km (1,558 miles).

 Australia is a land of contrasts.  One moment you are driving through lush vegetation, the next scrub fields and a moment later dry land.  It is ever changing and never twice the same.  Here are a couple of photo's of the landscape within one hours driving!

We arrived in Broken Hill at 5 pm and spent the night in a cabin at Broken Hill Tourist Park.  Although Broken Hill is in New South Wales it operates on South Australia time which was rather confusing to start with.

Plenty of mining evidence all over Broken Hill

Broken Hill Tourist Park

Lovely cabin in Broken Hill

A beautiful sunset after a wonderful start to our first day on the road.

Stats for our first day on the road

  • Distance 844 km 
  • Average speed 78.8 km/h 
  • Total time 10:43

The children decided it was warm and wanted to swim. It was so funny to see their reactions to the cold water in the pool!

A photo posted by Chareen (@chareenr) on

And all of a sudden I was surrounded by the sound of silence and this is what I saw ...

A photo posted by Chareen (@chareenr) on

My Dad will be sharing his thoughts on our Journey over at Dingo Den's Travels and my brother has shared his thoughts over at Grunter's Blog Day 1


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