Outback towns just keep on getting more interesting

Published: September 16, 2015
Priscilla queen of the desert, grey nomads, caravans

The outback New South Wales town of Broken Hill is celebrating the success of a festival on the weekend commemorating the 21st anniversary of the filming of ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ in the area.

While it’s not known how many grey nomads were drawn to the rugged mining town by the inaugural ‘Broken Heel’ festival which saw many visitors dress up in drag, it is clear that more and more remote communities are seeking to develop ‘iconic’ events which will put them on the tourist map.

Like many regional towns, the economy of Broken Hill is becoming increasingly dependent on tourism, and Broken Hill City Council hopes the festival will now become a major annual attraction in the same way as the Elvis festival in Parkes, or the ute muster in Deniliquin have.

‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’, a film about two drag queens and a transsexual woman who travel through the outback in a bus called Priscilla, was a surprise international smash, and is credited with bringing drag into the mainstream.

It also significantly softened the tough-as-nails reputation of Broken Hill.

“I love that this city has this legacy now that it’s a town famous for drag,” Broken Heel performer, Philmah Bocks, told the ABC.

  • Do you plan your Big Lap itinerary to take in certain events at certain towns? What are your favourites? Can you see yourself at future Broken Heel festivals? Comment below.
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