Broken Hill, Outback New South Wales

Broken Hill, NSW

Broken Hill, in outback New South Wales near the South Australian border, is one of Australia's most unlikely tourist meccas.

Where is it?: Central & Far West. Broken Hill is on the Barrier Highway and Indian Pacific Railway line. It is 6 hours drive (516 km) from Adelaide, 14 hours drive (1,145 km) from Sydney and 10 hours drive (839 km) from Melbourne.

Exploring Broken Hill and surrounding regions is effortless with taxis, car hire companies and coach tour operators. There are even scenic flights all the way to Lake Eyre.

Events: St Patrick's Race Day is one of the biggest annual social events in NSW. In eccentric country style, this event is celebrated a week after the rest of the world celebrates St Patrick's Day. Silver City Show is held every September.

Broken Hill is still very much a dusty working town, stuck out in the middle of nowhere on the site of the richest deposits of silver, lead and zinc the world has ever seen. The mines, though still worked, have seen better days, and the town's buildings and streets are reminiscent of the Old West in a John Wayne movie, yet the place is buzzing.

Around Town

Broken Hill is an intact heritage city, without being impacted upon by later modem expansion of the surrounding city. It retains significant civic buildings, substantial private retail and commercial buildings, and surrounding residential areas all of which are largely intact, without the typical demolition and intrusion of inappropriate buildings common in other regional cities.

The Syndicate of Seven is the name given to the original members of the Broken Hill Mining Company formed in 1883, who lodged applications for mining leases along the Line of Lode at Broken Hill. The members all worked at the remote Mount Gipps Sheep station. Each of the seven contributed the sum of £70 each. They are remembered in a memorial outside the city council offices. Not too far away opposite the Crystal Street railway station is a memorial "dedicated to the women of Broken Hill who have stood by their men during troubled industrial times."

Visit the School of the Air (Lane Street) and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (at the airport). Both institutions have an invaluable impact on people living in the remote Australian Outback.

Line of Lode hill

Dominating the town is the Line of Lode hill with its mountain of mine tailings that dissects Broken Hill. You can drive or walk up to the top via Federation Way, which has a number of points of interest. The Line of Lode Lookout and Miner's Memorial is a dramatic, iconic structure on the edge of the mullock heap. The memorial to the 800 plus miners who lost their lives working on the Broken Hill mines. The building itself is a metaphor for the underground lives of the miners, evoking the damp, claustrophobic underground environment. The lookout offers panoramic views over the city. Sharing the top is a visitors centre and cafe/restaurant which sadly is all locked up while it awaits someone to take up the lease. Scattered around the top are many items of machinery used in the mines around Broken Hill.

Art Galleries

Over the past 50 years, many artists are drawn to the area because of the clear light and expansive vistas. There are more than 30 art galleries in the area, showcasing public collections and the work of individual artists. The best known of Broken Hill's artists, Pro Hart, also founded a private collection that features some of his best known works. It includes some of the world's most distinguished artists - Picasso, Dali, Rodin and Monet - and also highlights the works of renowned Australian artists, including Dobell, Nolan and Boyd. The gallery also features his own Rolls Royce that he painted in his unique style.

Parks, Gardens and Reserves

There are numerous parks, gardens and reserves in and around Broken Hill where you can relax and enjoy the day, or visit the memorials found there which recall events, people and places from the city's past.

Mining Heritage Sites

Wherever you go, relics from the golden days of Broken Hill as a premier mining town can be found everywhere. These are some of the most interesting.