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Michael Portillo: Great Australian Railway Journeys “Sydney to Broken Hill” Series 01 E02


Michael Portillo explores New South Wales, steered by his 1913 Bradshaw’s Guide. He strikes west into the Blue Mountains and travels 570 miles into the interior of the vast Australian continent to reach the mining city of Broken Hill.

Beginning in the waterside metropolis of Sydney, the NSW capital, Michael investigates the origins of the city as a penal colony, visiting the Hyde Park Barracks, where many of the first convicts were housed. Taking his courage in both hands, Michael climbs to the top of the Coathanger to admire the view of the harbour and tours the city’s iconic Opera House.

At Bondi Beach, he joins volunteers from the Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club, founded at the time of his guidebook, for rescue practice. In the Blue Mountains, Michael hears from indigenous guide Yamandirra about his people’s relationship to the land and is ceremonially ‘welcomed to the country’.

At Katoomba, Michael is in for the ride of his life on the steepest railway in the world. How to follow this 125-second thrill? With an overnight journey on one of the world’s longest trains, the luxurious Indian Pacific Railway.

Arriving deep in the parched Outback at Broken Hill, Michael discovers the precious metal that put this isolated outpost on the international map, silver

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