Photo: The far west NSW Outback mining city of Broken Hill
Located in the far west of New South Wales, Broken Hill was established in 1883 when silver, lead and zinc were discovered in a long vein running for more than seven kilometres in the area. By 1905, more than thirty thousand people lived and worked here, despite its remoteness.
Today, the place is national heritage listed, there are museums and art galleries to visit, while there are numerous grand Victorian and Federation buildings that reflect a city that was built on the mining wealth of a century.
Argent Street is where you can find some great shopping and a varied collection of restaurants and other places to eat. The city’s precinct of Patton Village has a number of historically inspired shops.
The valuable deposits that created the wealth of Broken Hill were laid over 1000 million years ago from the depths of the earth. Over time, geological movements uplifted the earth surrounding them forming the Barrier Ranges, where weathering brought the metals of silver, lead and zinc close to the surface.
In 1883, silver was discovered by the boundary rider, Charles Rasp at Silverton. Enterprising investors formed the Broken Hill Mining Company (BHP) only two years later.
Located at the railway station, the Broken Hill Family History Group have a research room and library, open for those seeking knowledge on the people and events that shaped this region.
Servicing eighty percent of the country, the famed Royal Flying Doctor Service has a base here which you can tour. They also have the Mantle of Safety Museum, with displays and the School of the Air, which teaches the children spread over the country in remote places, using satellite technology and the Internet.
Located opposite the Broken Hill Visitor Information Centre is the Sulphide Street Railway and Historical Museum. Comprised of actually four museums: The Migrant Museum, the Hospital Museum, the Ron Carter Transport Museum and the Triple Chance Mineral Collection.
In this heritage listed building, the Synagogue of the Outback Museum shows what Jewish life was like in the Outback.
This wonderful museum houses and impressive collection of minerals and mining artefacts, telling the story of Broken Hill. It also houses the Silver Tree, an artistic work made entirely of silver. All 8.5 kilos of it.
The ghost town of Silverton, now home to a number of desert artists, has been the backdrop of countless movies and tv shows, including the Mad Max 2 Film. The town, having a water supply, became a support centre for the many miners exploring the region in the 1880s.
Being close to the physical comforts of Broken Hill, it is now also the home to artists and a favourite Outback place to make commercials, tv shows and movies.
You can visit Silverton, the preserved buildings, not long ago derelict, are now home to art galleries and cafés, while the Mad Max car is now permanently parked here.
You can experience what working in this actual mine was like (without having to do any work). There is a tour where the lift takes you far below the surface. Located halfway between Broken Hill and Silverton.
The Menindee Lake system is the centerpiece of Kinchega National Park. With a rich Aboriginal history, thousands of birds, wildlife and the beauty of the floodplains, whether dry or flooded, will leave one with lifelong memories.
Aboriginals have lived in this region for more than fifty thousand years. Visit their website: Welcome to Mungo National Park.
The town of Wilcannia, where the Barrier Highway (A32) crosses the Darling River. It played an important role as a deep inland river port, reaching its heyday in the 1880s with the paddesteamers, earning the title of ’Queen City of the West’.
East of Broken Hill, Cobar is the town that earned the name ’Copper Town’. See Cobar, NSW.
It is important to inform Local Information Centres (including automotive clubs) of your plans to explore remote areas. Inform them of where you plan to go, when you leave and when you plan to arrive. Take any advice they give you about the local conditions and learn as much as possible about surviving in the Outback as possible before setting out. These are only handy hints, aquiring as much knowledge as possible can save your life.
Search the Australia Tourist Guide