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broken hill

Our first flat tyre

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Our first flat tyre

Well, it's not our first flat tyre with the Troopy... that was a year ago, out front of home in Bayside Melbourne. I removed the culprit in the driveway, replaced it with our spare, and dropped it off for a new tube to be fitted by our trusty local mechanic.

But today is another kettle of fish.

From the old NSW mining town of Silverton we've headed back into Broken Hill - the only way to get to Mutawintji National Park. The dirt turnoff is only 50km out on a tarred road, but we don't quite make it.

Pulling over to check a momentary Telstra signal, we get going again only to come to an abrupt halt. A sickening grinding squelch tells us we have a flat.

We jump out, opening the tailgates to retrieve, rearrange stuff and pull out the standard Toyota jack... the truck not sitting too badly, just off the road and on a nice hard shoulder surface.

We pull off one of the good spares. 

With the barrel jack under the back axle on a plate of wood, I wind and wind, until the Troopy chassis begins to lift, and alas, there is a load resounding crack - the jack eyelet that houses the winder rod having abruptly sheared off rending the jack useless.

I remember the number one rule - 'Don't panic.' The ground is stony, baking bloody hot, the air temperature 36degC.

And I remember 4x4 forum discussions from 12-months back - "Don't ever rely on a single jack."

So we unbolt the Hi-Lift jack fixed to the rear bumper, something I had wondered may have become an expensive piece of furniture.... they do have a reputation for being dangerous and unnecessary.

So... for the first time, we use our Hi-Lift jack to get us going again. Without it we would have been up a well known creek without a paddle.

Yes, it did take a bit of getting used too. And the suggestion of the lone passerby to spray the dust-caked Hi-Lift mechanism with WD40 made the job so much easier. Thanks Frank.

Oh... and one last thing... was the Hi-Lift dangerous to use? Well, like most things, some loving care and respect is definitely needed.

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Postcard from Broken Hill - What's in a name?

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Postcard from Broken Hill - What's in a name?

Broken Hill seems a long way from anything, but is certainly entrenched in Australian folklore, being the 'BH' component of 'The Big Australian' BHP Billiton , and becoming the first city in Australia to be included on the National Heritage List - the 'broken hill' that gave the town its name initially being a number of hills that appeared to have a break in them. Alas, all have now been mined away.

And there's no shortage of culture here, with at least 8-galleries showcasing the work of artists including the iconic Pro Hart and Jack Absolam. Chips Rafferty and June Bronhill also came from here.

Today the air is dense and hot at 37degC, but it's hard to warm to a place where over 700 souls have been lost in mining accidents - the youngest killed at age 14 - and most streets are named after rocks and minerals.

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