The mining town of Broken Hill is unlike any other place you’ll ever visit. Here Australia’s pioneering past mingles with the colourful contemporary, and for a city seemingly in the middle of nowhere, there’s more than enough to keep you occupied. Spend some time in The Hill and you’ll discover why people regularly come for a short visit and never leave. The town is full of friendly welcoming people, there are plenty of bars and restaurants, mobile phone reception is no problem around the city, and it is easy to navigate (that is, providing you switch the GPS system off – or at least ignore the machine’s insistence that overgrown dirt track is your best route from Sydney). Click here to see some of Bells’ favourite attractions.
Spend some time in The Hill and you’ll discover why people regularly come for a short visit and never leave.
Everywhere you look, the heritage value of the town is evident: wide streets are fronted with impressively restored buildings in the main CBD precinct. Move away from the centre, and you’ll discover an eclectic mix of stone and tin miner’s cottages in various states of repair (many have taken advantage of the local council’s paint restoration and heritage grant scheme) glittering in the brilliant, artist-attracting late afternoon light. Indeed the sunsets here are among the best you’ll see and a short drive will find ample viewpoints for the sublime.
Once night time hits, drive 2kms out of town and you’ll be struck by the unbelievably bright mass of stars twinkling beneath the ink-black sky. The town is famous for mining, (BHP was founded here in 1883), industrial relations, (the unions first flexed their muscles here in the massive strikes of the early 1900s), and art, (the late Pro Hart and his fellow Bushmen of the Bush exhibited all over the world, countless films and TV commercials have been born from the made-for-the-screen surrounds over the years).
Sometimes it seems like everyone in Broken Hill is an artist. In reality, the town has one of the highest proportion of artists per capita in Australia with around 30 commercial galleries in operation year round and hundreds more serious painters, photographers, sculptors and a growing number of new media and video artists who call Broken Hill home. Check out
The name of Australian mining giant BHP actually stands for Broken Hill Proprietary and the famous ‘syndicate of seven’ who started the company effectively founded a town. The lode of Silver found in Broken Hill turned out to be so rich and pure that the whole town sprung up around it without regard for the fact that it was built on top of a mine. As such, modern Broken Hill hugs the old mulloch heap or ‘line of lode’ as it is officially known. It is impossible to visit Broken hill and not be confronted by the massive mining history of this place. Check out the history of mining in the area at the Albert Kersten Mining and Minerals Museum.
As with many industrial towns, the city has a long history of strikes and other union unrest and Australia owes most of the current ‘standard’ working conditions to the miners of Broken Hill. Up until late 2009, the town even had it’s own special award – the County of Yancowinna Award which was separate from all other states and territories. In the days gone by, the town was more or less totally controlled by the unions. If you went to work on a union badge day, you couldn’t work unless you were wearing your badge. If a union ‘Blacklisted’ your business for any reason, members were forbidden from shopping there, effectively stifling your trade.
Click here for some of Bells’ favourite local attractions.
Check out the official Broken Hill Tourist Website HERE for a full list of things to see and do in Broken Hill or call into the local Visitor Information Centre for a full list of things to see and do in Broken Hill.