ilovebrokenhill.com , was first published on 8 December 2011 by Jane Deany. My blog is all about the famous outback Australian National Heritage Listed City named Broken Hill, located in the state of New South Wales. I first visited #BrokenHill in 2002 and have returned many times since then. ilovebrokenhill.com will help you discover what's great about this historic mining city, where in the mid 1880's the line of lode, a rich ore body of silver, lead and zinc was found. You will find stories about anything related to Broken Hill.

Saturday 28 December 2013

June Bronhill OBE a famous Broken Hill daughter 1929 - 2005

June Bronhill
image courtesy abc.net.au
Not many people change their surname to thank a city, but one of the most famous people to come from Broken Hill, June Bronhill OBE, did just that.

Ms Bronhill was an internationally acclaimed and well known coloratura soprano singer. Her special way of saying thank you to Broken Hill for the support the city gave her by sending her overseas in 1952, for training and improving her chances of success, was to change her surname to Bronhill (a shortened from of Broken Hill).

June was born June Mary Gough in 1929 in Broken Hill.

She was best known for her light opera performances in such productions as 'The Merry Widow' and the 'Sound of Music'. In 1958 alone, Ms Bronhill played the lead role of Hanna Glawari in 'The Merry Widow' over 200 times at the London Coliseum. The Sadler 's Wells Opera production was a huge success and lead to many other operettas for June.

She was known for her impeccable diction. Some of her other roles included the Queen of the Night in the 'Magic Flute', Norina in 'Don Pasquale', Magda in Puccini's 'La rondine' (The Swallow) and Gilda in 'Rigoletto'. Although she was small in stature, her voice easily filled theatres.

Here is a brief YouTube clip of June singing "My Hero" -

In the year she returned to Australia for good, 1976, she was honoured with an OBE for her contribution to music in both the United Kingdom and Australia.

June Bronhill by Allan Warren
image courtesy Wikipedia
She married twice. Both marriages ended in divorce. Her first marriage was to Brian Martin and her second marriage was to Richard Finney and they had a daughter, Carolyn.

She beat breast cancer, but in her latter years grew deaf which impacted her greatly, depriving her of two of her favourite things - performing and talking to people. She retired in 1993 due to her deafness which was caused by tinnitus.

Ms Bronhill's autobiography "The Merry Bronhill" was published in 1987.

June Bronhill died in her sleep on 24 January 2005 in Sydney, aged 75. Broken Hill honoured her by declaring a minute's silence during the Australia Day celebrations two days later.

ABC Classic FM program Music Makers, produced a show on 22nd of this month, a series on Australia's Opera Heritage. Here is the link to program 1 on June Bronhill.

May she rest in peace.

Jane D

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Happy Christmas and best wishes for the festive season Broken Hill

Wishing everyone in and around Broken Hill all the very best wishes for Christmas 2013 and may you have a fabulous festive season, not to mention a fantastic 2014.

Cheers, Jane Deany

Friday 20 December 2013

Forty two degrees forecast in Broken Hill Friday 20th & Saturday 21st

West Darling Hotel's temperature gauge
Weather - heatwave
If you're heading to Broken Hill today or tomorrow, or you live there make a note that it's going to be a hot couple of days. Both Friday and Saturday are predicted to reach 42 degrees in the city. Sunday will be a little 'cooler' with 36 degrees forecast.

If you're a visitor, a few things to note -

  • virtually everywhere in Broken Hill is air conditioned,
  • the heat is a actually is hot, dry and not too bad really (in my opinion),
  • there are lots of cafes, pubs and clubs to enjoy a cool drink and the ever-present air conditioning,
  • just don't forget to take extra water with you.
Also, as always in summer, especially in Australia which has the highest skin cancer rate in the world, but don't let that put you off visiting Oz and Broken Hill, just please do remember your hat and sunscreen.

The most dangerous times to be exposed to the sun is between 10am and 2pm, or 11am and 3pm if the region you are in has daylight savings. Broken Hill does operate on daylight savings time in summer. By the way, note that Broken Hill operates on South Australian time (central time), even though it is in New South Wales.

It's the summer solstice on Saturday 21st at 17:11 UTC (GMT) in the southern hemisphere so it's no surprise that things might be warming up! Given Broken Hill is on ACST time, and it's now daylight savings, I think Broken Hill's summer solstice is 14:41 Sunday 22nd December.

Is that what you work it out to be? Are there any experts out there on this subject as it's often debated whether the southern hemisphere summer solstice is on 21st or 22nd of December. Obviously it depends exactly where you are.

Cheers, Jane D

Wednesday 18 December 2013

School holidays in Broken Hill 2013-2014. There's lots to see and do.

Broken Hill is a great place to come for the summer school holidays. It's no hotter in summer than other cities around Australia, for example Perth, Melbourne or Sydney. It is a nice dry heat too. So this is my annual post about some of the best things to do and see when visiting Broken Hill and the surrounding district.

Broken Hill mining landscape with full moon at sunrise
To begin with, a few good reasons to visit Broken Hill over the December 2013 - January 2014 school holiday period are - 

  • it's not as busy as in the peak seasons of Autumn or Spring;
  • as it's off-peak, there are often better prices for accommodation etc... and other special deals to be found. Just ask the tourism operator if there are any school holiday specials; and
  • Popular 'photogenic' sculpture at sunset
  • with less tourists, photo opportunities are easier at popular tourist attractions such as the 'Living Desert Sculpture Park'. The sculptures themselves are a fantastic attraction and are set in a striking location which photographers flock to it. It's a great spot for a sunset picnic. Sunrise is spectacular too and not as busy.

Regardless of when you visit, there are lots of great things to see and do.

Some of my favourite attractions include the -

I love the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery in Argent Street. It is housed in an historic building, Sully's Emporium, and has an excellent regional gallery collection. There is always an impressive and sometimes thought provoking exhibition on the go.

There are about 24 or so other galleries in Broken Hill and nearby Silverton. You can find a list of all of the galleries in the region at the foot of this website. Alternatively you can go to www.ilovebrokenhill.com 's sister website www.artofbrokenhill.com which also lists the galleries. www.artofbrokenhill.com will eventually contain more comprehensive information about various local galleries, art groups, artists, art organisations and possibly art events from the region.

Here is a list of some more local attractions - 
Historic Trades Hall Building
  • RSL Hall of Fame - Argent Street
  • Historic Day Dream Mine (20km NW Broken Hill, off Silverton Road) - 08 8088 5682
  • Argent Street - main Broken Hill shopping strip which includes beautiful old buildings such as the Town Hall Facade and the famous The Palace Hotel (internal murals, 'Priscilla Queen of the Desertmovie fame amongst other things. Two-up is also played there weekly)
  • White's Mineral Art and Living Mining Museum - 1 Allendale Street - 08 8087 2878
  • Patton Village - Patton Street, South Broken Hill
  • Film Studio Precinct - Eyre Street, South Broken Hill
  • Social clubs including 
    The list just goes on and on. There are countless things to do and a wide variety of places to stay and dine and don't forget to check out some of the galleries. For a city of under 20,000 people, there are a lot of galleries and they are well worth visiting.

    As you can see there is a lot to do in and around Broken Hill. Perhaps you should book an extra night or two, you may need it and there is a wide variety of accommodation available.

    The Broken Hill Visitor Information website lists lots of attractions, as well as many accommodation options (although not all are listed on that site) - check their website www.brokenhillaustralia.com.au . The Visitor Information Centre is located on the corner of Bromide and Blende Streets.

    Line of Lode view with Miner's Memorial (left) and Broken Earth Complex (right)

    There are plenty or restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs and takeaways to enjoy a delicious meal and parks to enjoy a picnic.

    There are a couple of options to cool down and go for a swim (apart from the motel pool). There is the fantastic Broken Hill Regional Aquatic Centre which includes an outdoor 50m pool and an indoor 25m pool, an adventure/water slide and disabled access. I've seen Kangaroos grazing on the lawn just outside the centre.

    If you feel like something more beachy, there is a huge water body - Menindee Lakes about 110 kms south east of the city which is a beautiful spot to include in your visit, as is the nearby Kinchega National Park and the famous huge shearing shed.

    The road to Silverton.
    You never know what you might see!
    Share on social media
    Look at more Broken Hill images on @ilovebrokenhill 's Pinterest account or Tweet special Broken Hill finds to @ilovebrokenhill on Twitter.

    Why not follow ilovebroken.hill Google+ as well. We're just getting started there.

    Of course there's an ilovebrokenhill.com Facebook page as well. Please like us there and spread the word about Broken Hill, this fabulous outback Australian city located in far west New South Wales.

    Enjoy your holidays, drive safely and pack some extra water just in case.

    Cheers, Jane Deany

    Sunday 8 December 2013

    www.ilovebrokenhill.com blog by Jane Deany is 2 years old today!

    One of the Living Desert sculptures
    and me. This sculpture recognises
    Broken Hill's mining heritage.
    You can see a pick and shovel
    carved into the stone.
    Happy 2nd Birthday www.ilovebrokenhill.com 
    On 8 December 2011, I began my www.ilovebrokenhill.com
    blog. You can see the link here to my first post. Amazingly, it's two years now since that day and I have written 204 posts.

    It has been a lot of fun to date, very interesting and informative, and, yes, I am going to continue blogging about Broken Hill as I haven't run out of things to say.

    Writing for my blog has given me an excuse to meet and talk to many Broken Hill locals. I have made some new friends along the way and been featured in the local news a few times as well.

    News Update
    In this last year I decided to become a full time blogger. I also advise and train people on how to use social media including blogging (just one of the many forms of social media).

    Blogging can be lots of fun and many people make a living from it.

    I really enjoy sharing my social media knowledge and, being an ex-secondary school and TAFE teacher makes it a natural progression to add training to my blogging business, which, by the way is called 'theblog-ed'  www.theblog-ed.com

    All this has come to be from the fact that I started a blog two years ago about Broken Hill!

    You may have noticed that www.ilovebrokenhill.com is ad free. I haven't ruled out advertising or related possibilities such as sponsorship in the future. If you think your Broken Hill business might have a service or product that would suit my blog please feel free to contact me to discuss. My primary target audience is visitors to Broken Hill.

    Cheers, Jane Deany
    Founder and creator of www.ilovebrokenhill.com

    Saturday 7 December 2013

    Broken Hill Christmas Pageant 2013 today 6.00pm. Don't miss it!

    Broken Hill Christmas Pageant 2012 float
    corner Oxide and Argent Streets
    Image courtesy Barrier Daily Truth
    Entertainment/Community Event
    Christmas is in the air in Broken Hill.  The annual Broken Hill Christmas Pageant begins tonight at 6.00pm local time. I'm sure there will be some great photos in the "Barrier Daily Truth" newspaper on Monday, not to mention many uploads to facebook pages all around, and of course, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube etc... Hopefully there will be many updates to various local's accounts, as it will help those who can't be there to not miss out on all the action.

    At 4pm, the activities kick off with a Community Market in Beryl Street at the Centre for Community.

    At 6pm the Pageant will begin and from 6.30pm an after party at Sturt Park will see the festivities continue and a float category award will be announced at 7.30pm. There is also a movie in the park as darkness falls - Elf, a family favourite.

    The Pageant begins on the corner of Lane and Oxide Streets, the 35 floats will then head down Oxide Street until they reach and turn right into Argent Street (the main street in Broken Hill). The floats then travel down Argent Street until they reach Sulphide Street, where again they turn right. They then turn left into Blende Street where they will disperse.

    Temperature gauge - West Darling Hotel
    at corner Oxide and Argent Streets
    where the Pageant turns into Argent Street
    Activities at the after party include -

    Santa, Food Stalls, Bouncy Castle,
    Pony Rides, Games and Activities, HillFM
    Dave Currie, Giveaways, Merry Go Round

    I will put this event in my diary for next year as there are too many Christmas parties and events at home in Melbourne to make the trip this time. Hopefully I can make the trip next year. It is just one of the many Broken Hill events that I still look forward to attending in the future.

    The Pageant and accompanying festivities will be a lot of fun for everyone.

    Last year's Pageant was on 1 December 2012, see link here to my article about the event.

    I would love to hear feedback from anyone who goes or who's been in the past.  What was it like?  What was your favourite float?  You get the idea ... don't be shy.

    Cheers, Jane D

    Wednesday 4 December 2013

    Did you know ilovebrokenhill is on Pinterest? Why not check it out!

    PinterestDid you know www.ilovebrokenhill.com has a Pinterest account? New images are being added regularly. www.ilovebrokenhill.com has had the Pinterest account since April this year, I just haven't mentioned it.

    If you haven't already used Pinterest it's a lot of fun, and useful too. I highly recommend it.

    I would love you to have a look at www.ilovebrokenhill.com 's Pinterest account and even follow a few boards or re-pin a few pins and help share what Broken Hill has to offer.

    Pinterest is a great and easy way to see some of the sites of Broken Hill from the comfort of your own ... well you get the idea ;-)

    In fact www.ilovebrokenhill.com is not only on Pinterest, it's on Twitter @ilovebrokenhill, YouTube, Google+ and Facebook as well.

    Cheers, Jane Deany          

    Thursday 28 November 2013

    Karrie Lannstrom art exhibition opens Sunday Broken Hill Art Exchange

    'Summer City Meltdown' by Karrie Lannstrom
    Pastel on archival paper,  50cm x 70cm
    Art Scene
    'Hanging out in Da Hill'
    Well know local Broken Hill artist Karrie Lannstrom has been busy preparing for her second solo exhibition which will open at the Broken Hill Art Exchange this coming Sunday 1 December 2013. Cathy Farry, the manager of the BrokenHill Regional Art Gallery will open the exhibition at 10am.

    I first met Karrie in 2012 at a Broken Hill Carer's art exhibition where she was one of the exhibitors, see link here to read that story. Karrie is a real dynamo, very effervescent, quite a character in fact and a very talented and passionate artist. Last month she was honoured to receive the 2013 NSW Carer's Award for her contribution to caring for her local community.

    'Back in the Hood - Argent Lane' by Karrie Lannstrom
    In Karrie's own words, this "exhibition contains 17 works on paper, 13 of which are new and unframed except for mat board and foam back with plastic all done by framers. All works including previously framed ones are $500 and under”. Karrie will also have printed cards for sale.

    'Sunshine Sunflower Days'
    by Karrie Lannstrom

    The works are mainly pastels, and all are produced on archival quality paper and materials. This is Karrie's second solo exhibition, her first was in 2010. Earlier in her career, Karrie gained a Certificate III and IV in Fine Arts from the local Broken Hill TAFE.

    Some of the things Karrie says she loves about the Broken Hill region are the arid harsh lands, the corrugated iron houses often held together with bell wire and cobwebs, the extreme weather that can change the place drastically and the ruins of post industrial mining, the wild beautiful flowers and the wilder characters who survive and thrive on the edge of civilisation here in Broken Hill. Karrie is a member of a couple of the local art groups namely the Broken Hill Art Exchange and the all women's art group Gaara Arts Inc. Karrie also teaches art voluntarily at the local Broken Hill hospital.

    The lady herself - Karrie Lannstrom
    The gallery at the Broken Hill Art Exchange (BHAE) is open 10am – 4pm daily.

    Address - 145-157 Duff Street, Broken Hill South
    Telephone - BHAE (08) 8088 3171

    Contact Karrie - 0428 873 524
    Email Karrie - kjlkosmic@bigpond.com

    The exhibition runs from Sunday 1 December to Friday 20 December 2013.

    I wish Karrie every success with her exhibition. I can't wait to see it and am planning a trip sometime soon so I won't miss out. I'm sure it's worth a look and you never know, you might come home with a new artwork. Some pieces have already sold pre-exhibition which is great news for Karrie and some sold on opening day.

    Congratulations Karrie, cheers, Jane D

    Saturday 23 November 2013

    International Space Station visible above Broken Hill 24 Nov 8.46pm

    Thanks Linda Nadge @nadgeee for alerting us via Twitter to the visibility of NASA's International Space Station (ISS) which will be orbitting over Broken Hill in the evenings from Wednesday 20 November to Thursday 5 December 2013. Her tweet shown below has a link to NASA's International Space Station - Spot the Space Station site for more details about exactly when the ISS will be visible.

    Check it out. I hope the sky is clear for viewing this rare event.

    Cheers, Jane D @ilovebrokenhill  and  @janedeany

    PS This is my 200th post!

    Monday 18 November 2013

    Lego Colosseum in Broken Hill at the GeoCentre

    Lego Colosseum at the GeoCentre Broken Hill
    Another great reason to visit Broken Hill in the next little while is the Lego Colosseum visiting exhibition on display at the Albert Kersten Mining and Minerals Museum also known as the GeoCentre.

    The exhibition is a Nicholson Museum University of Sydney travelling exhibition.

    Address:     2 Bromide Street, Corner Silver City Highway (Crystal Street), Broken Hill. Telephone 08 8080 3500

    The centre is open 1 - 5 pm Saturday and Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm Monday to Friday.

    The exhibition runs from 6 September to 1 December 2013.

    Lego Colosseum at the GeoCentre Broken Hill

    If you're a Lego lover or a history lover or both, it's a great opportunity to see something a little bit different.

    I think you'll enjoy it.

    Check out this tweet by Michael Turner @michaelmuseums about the Lego Colosseum - 

    Cheers, Jane D

    Friday 8 November 2013

    Coworking and Broken Hill in the news in Queensland

    Jan Stewart, Culture Host Hub Melbourne
    Hub Melbourne is a coworking space
    Regional Coworking
    On 8 October I wrote an article about how "Coworking could increase employment opportunities in Broken Hill". Naturally, these principals can be applied to any regional location.

    I was pleased to have this article republished today on www.digitalworkhub.com.au 's website in their blog/news section.

    The Digital Work Hub Project is about trying to get coworking happening in South East Queensland.

    I've been coworking for a year at Hub Melbourne and it's fantastic.

    Historic Broken Hill Trades Hall
    Business was done differently in the past and
    trade unions played a big part in how business
    was conducted, especially in Broken Hill
    I highly recommend trying coworking if you get the chance. It's a great way to meet other people, network, innovate and collaborate.

    You never know when a serendipitous connection may be made, or an innovative idea pop up.

    Coworking also helps stop or at least reduce isolation if you're working from home, especially by yourself.

    Hopefully coworking in some form maybe on its way to Broken Hill.

    See link to the article on the www.digitalworkhub.com.au 's website here "Can coworking work in regional towns?"

    Cheers, Jane Deany

    Monday 28 October 2013

    Defonet wins the 2013 Broken Hill Clubs Silver City Cup

    Community Event
    The Silver City Races were last weekend. Over 3000 spectators took the opportunity to see this Broken Hill country race meeting which is famous for its family feel.

    The event is one of only two race meetings that grace the famous Broken Hill St Patrick's Race Club.

    The connections of Silver City Cup 2013 winner Defonet
    with club president Dave Gallagher. Image courtesy Darrin Manuel - Barrier Daily Truth

    There were six races in all, ranging from the 900m (R2) Flat Out Tyre Maiden Plate which was won by no 5 Quinzel, to the feature race, the 1600m (R5) Broken Hill Clubs Silver City Cup, which was won by no 3 Defonet (Morphetville), a gelding trained by South Australian based trainer Paula Trenwith.

    Defonet started the race as a short-priced favourite after a late plunge which saw the odds tumble from $5 to $2. He led the field of eight all the way from barrier 3, and was ridden by apprentice jockey Ms Desi (Desiree) Stra (54kg). 'Drafted' carrying 55.5kg and trained by Philip Cole placed 2nd and New Zealand 'Cable Bay' trained by Brian Searle came 3rd carrying 59kg.

    Proud trainer Paula Trenwith tweeted the news - 

    I hope you enjoyed the day if you were lucky enough to make it along. I heard the weather was perfect.

    Congratulations Defonet and connections, Paula Trenwith and Desi (Desiree) Stra. Cheers, Jane D

    Friday 18 October 2013

    Broken Hill Fringe Festival Fever ... October 17 - 27, 2013

    Community Event

    It's all happening in Broken Hill - don't miss the Broken Hill Fringe, a festival which runs from - 

    17 - 27 October 2013 all around Broken Hill.

    It's the first regional hub of the recently held Sydney Fringe.

    The Broken Hill Fringe is a community based inclusive arts and cultural festival for the Far West region of outback NSW Australia.

    More details about the jam packed events schedule are on the festival's webpage www.brokenhillfringe.com

    South Broken Hill Hotel - one of the Broken Hill Fringe venues
    Image from www.gdaypubs.com.au Jon Graham

    211 Patton Street, South Broken Hill
    check out the best of ABC Open photography exhibition there

    The Fringe also has it's own Facebook page - Broken Hill Fringe

    Wish I could be there - enjoy, cheers, Jane D

    Friday 11 October 2013

    Robin Sellick 'Roids' exhibition at Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery

    Robin Sellick - Broken Hill
    Art Scene
    Don't miss well known local Broken Hill photographer Robin Sellick's new 'Roids' exhibition which opens tonight at the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery.

    The exhibition is a collection of polaroids that Robin has taken over the years during his quite long photographic career which has seen him photograph some very famous and high profile people as well as the everyday person.

    The selection of images was made to highlight the process of the shoots and the compositional choices. Some images depict celebrities whilst others have been included as they were just plain interesting.

    Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery - 404-408 Argent Street, Broken Hill NSW

    From 6pm tonight - Friday 11 October 2013

    Exhibition continues 12 October 2013 - 24 November 2013

    Gallery hours     10am - 5pm Monday to Friday, 10am - 4pm Saturday & Sunday

    I was pleased to meet Robin for a coffee a few weeks ago in Broken Hill, he's a really interesting and friendly guy.

    All the best for the exhibition Robin, cheers, Jane D

    Thursday 10 October 2013

    It's World Mental Health Day! Good mental health is so important!

    Community Event
    Logo of
    Australian and New ZealandMental Health Association
    It's World Mental Health Day and the message is very simple - please look after your mental health no matter who or where you are.

    Isolation in regional areas makes many people even more at risk of depression and other related mental health issues. Help is out there, always remember it's better to ask for help as it can be too easy to spiral downhill especially with all the stressors we have in today's busy world.

    Of course depression isn't the only mental health issue, there are so many, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia just to name a couple.

    Here's a tweet from Lifeline - check it out.

    Call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or your local GP if you feel you need some help. Also there are many other organisations designed to help people with mental health issues. Some of the organisations are 'Mind Australia' 'sane' 'headspace' and 'beyondblue'.

    Even just share how you're feeling with a friend to start with. A good friend will be happy to listen.

    Here's to your good mental health. Cheers, Jane D

    Tuesday 8 October 2013

    Coworking could increase employment opportunities in Broken Hill

    Coworking is on the increase all around the globe. Could it be beneficial in Broken Hill I wondered? If you're not sure what coworking is, check out this Youtube clip below to find out more and why it could 'work' for you! Then see my article below the clip for more information.

    Okay, so now you've got some idea about coworking. I can tell you I'm already doing it and I think it's really cool, but don't just take my word for it.

    I did some research for another publication about coworking in regional areas such as Broken Hill and in the process I spoke to a few people in the know.

    As the coworking topic is bigger than just being about Broken Hill, this "coworking could increase employment opportunities in Broken Hill" article may appear on other sites related to coworking. Depending on where you come across this article, the original article appeared on the www.ilovebrokenhill.com blog on 8 October 2013 and you can link back to the original article here"coworking could increase employment opportunities in Broken Hill".

    Here's what I found out about the worldwide coworking trend, which according to wikipedia kicked off around 2005 in San Francisco.

    Historic Broken Hill Trades Hall building.
    Business was done differently in the past and trade unions
    played a very big role in the world of work especially in Broken Hill.

    "A growing trend has seen collaboration focused coworking spaces popping up around the globe to meet an ever-increasing demand worldwide. Sustainability, and sharing resources and knowledge are key factors driving this new way of doing business. Here in my hometown Melbourne I co-work part-time at Hub Melbourne, a highly regarded, privately owned, coworking space in the heart of the city, now in its third year of operation. In Newcastle and Wollongong in NSW, coworking spaces are also being created to meet demand.

    It should be high-lighted that coworking spaces are not serviced offices, executive suites or business incubators. Co-workers typically work in a shared office space, whilst they work on their own businesses or projects, often as solo operators or in partnerships, and sometimes as part of a small business. A growing number of big corporates have found that sending teams to a coworking space created opportunities to connect and collaborate with budding entrepreneurs and start-ups, often facilitating seed-funding and partnership opportunities.

    Could the concept work in Broken Hill? That was something I spoke to Jan Stewart about whilst I co-worked at the Hub last week.

    Jan Stewart Hub Australia Culture Host
    sitting in front of Hub artist in residence
    Robert Lee Davis's desk.

    www.flickr.com/photos/robertleedavisart )
    Yammer updates (yammerfall) intranet in background
    Jan is the Hub Australia 'Culture Host' which means she assists with Hub's three Australian offices including the new Sydney and Adelaide spaces. I asked Jan to explain the reasons for the growing popularity of coworking spaces? She said that there is a “shift towards the sharing economy and the way we do business”.  People and organisations “have become more aware of the benefits of sharing resources and the importance of sustainability”. A greater emphasis on collaboration is also a growing trend. Jan highlighted the popularity of sharing services, citing other sharing examples such as accommodation service “airbnb” and car share schemes such as “Flexicar”.

    Another key factor is “the internet which makes it easier to share what we have”. With the exponential use of portable devices, gone are the days of being tied to a single PC and a dedicated desk.

    A membership of a coworking space usually means you can use the space on a part or full-time basis depending upon the membership level. Part time members usually sit wherever there's a free desk. Members can have permanent desks if they require, and often use the space to enjoy the opportunity to network and meet new people, which in traditional office spaces wouldn't often occur. The open-plan environment and, in the case of the Hub, the numerous professional development and social events for members and guests help to increase the possibility of making useful and often serendipitous connections.

    Jan Stewart of Hub Australia sitting at the Space Host desk.
    In the background is some of the coworking space at Hub Melbourne
    Coworking is popular among freelancers and telecommuters who may find working from home to be very isolating. From a regional point of view where remote locations certainly create isolation, the opportunity to co-work could not only offer a remedy for loneliness, but could also bring the benefits of sharing new ideas.

    When I discussed the coworking concept with regional Enterprise Development Centre representatives in the past, one issue that came up was “a fear of sharing ideas in case someone pinches them”. It's a natural fear, and some caution is needed when sharing ideas, however idea theft is preventable if precautions are taken. Often, when two or more people become involved in developing something, even better solutions can arise – the “two heads are better than one” principle can weigh in in a positive way.

    I also spoke last week with a coworking business manager from the Victorian regional city of Warragul, Teresa Mitchell (who I met through the Hub). We spoke about her Coworx organisation which is in its first year of operation.  She noted that one issue is to get people to feel comfortable working “without walls”.

    An idea being discussed is to create a mobile coworking space for a region, which, like a mobile library, could travel to different locations on a regular basis, giving locals the chance to co-work and share ideas.

    Hub Melbourne in Donkey Wheel House - Bourke Street
    coworking space, image from www.bradkrauskopf.com
    One of the differences between a city versus regional coworking space is the limited supply of co-workers.  For a business offering a coworking space, part of the revenue comes from memberships.  Another important source of income comes from the hire of meeting rooms, so the availability of permanent meeting spaces would also be recommended for an organisation looking to set up a coworking space.  This could be a negative aspect of a mobile space, but availability of rooms for hire through affiliates could provide the solution.

    I also spoke to Brad Krauskopf, Hub Australia CEO and founder, earlier in the year about regional  coworking spaces and he felt they were certainly on the horizon, but the idea would take a little longer to take off than in cities.  He also indicated that a public-private partnership model would more likely succeed in a regional location as the lower numbers of potential members mean that it could be difficult to be sustainable as a purely private venture.

    Hub Melbourne in Donkey Wheel House - Bourke Street
    coworking space, image from www.bradkrauskopf.com
    I asked Jan what members loved about coworking at the Hub and she explained “Hub's mixed bag lunches where members bring food to share each Thursday and the 'wine down' drinks each Friday at 5pm."

    Members also valued “the presence of a 'Space Host' who provided the opportunity for potential fruitful connections.  The sense of community and of being supported” were also appreciated.

    (I suspect the funky range of seating options at the Hub is another factor in what appeals to members. There's also a very popular hammock option!)

    Coworking could be of great value to people in regional locations such as Broken Hill.  Perhaps it's just a matter of time before the idea really takes off."

    If you have a positive coworking story share it via Twitter @CoworkingisCool

    Happy working, or should I say happy coworking! Cheers, Jane Deany