Broken Hill is an isolated mining city in the far west of outback New South Wales, near the border with South Australia. By distance it is much closer to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, than it is to Sydney. There has been a significant decline in the mining industry over recent years.
Broken Hill is Australia's longest-lived mining city. Its massive orebody, formed about 1800 million years, has proved to be the world's largest silver-lead-zinc mineral deposit. The orebody is shaped like a boomerang plunging into the earth at its ends and outcropping in the centre. The protruding tip of the orebody stood out as a jagged rocky ridge amongst undulating plain country on either side. This was known as the broken hill by early pastoralists.
Beyond the Darling River on the edge of the sundown, is where they used to say you would find Broken Hill, as if there was nowhere further to travel in Australia. Perhaps it was the feeling of suddenly being confronted by such vast space, like an inland sea rolling into the sunset.
The desolate landscape surrounding Broken Hill is like driving towards a painting of soft mauve and sage hues. It is any wonder the city has become known as a mecca for artists. It is here that the magnificent clear blue skies and the magic light are also much loved by film makers from Mad Max 2 to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
It is here that the big red roos run two hundred kilometres in a night chasing a thunderstorm, and the unique Sturt Desert Peas bloom in dark red soils.
Broken Hill is a mining town in the far West New South Wales with a population of 21000 and lies in the Barrier Ranges. Its 220 meters above sea level and has a average rainfall of 235mm and summer temperatures that hits well over 40C.
Broken Hill was founded in 1883 by a boundary rider called Charles Rasp who patrolled the Mt Gipps fences. In 1883 he discovered what he thought was tin but when the samples came back they were Silver and Lead instead of tin and the ore body they came from became the largest and richest of its kind in the world. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company ( BHP) was founded by the Syndicate of Seven (see mines link) to mine the ore body of Broken Hill in 1885. But in the early days there was water shortage and the mines and the people fought for water so they would ship water on trains from the Darling River. Till 1952 when Broken Hill's demands for a permanent water supply were met with the completion of the construction of the pipeline to Stephen's Creek. The city isolation was big problem till the Adelaide narrow gauge rail link was finished in 1888 and the construction of a rail link to Sydney.
Broken Hill has been called the 'Oasis of the West, 'Silver City' and the 'Capital of the Outback.' Although over 700 miles west of Sydney and surrounded by semi-desert, made famous in the 'Mad Max' film, the town still manages colourful park and garden displays to surprise the unsuspecting visitor.
Like many 'outback' towns Broken Hill was built on precious metals, having once had the worlds richest deposits of lead, zinc and silver. Although now depleted somewhat, mining still yields around two million tonnes annually. Some mine tours are available. Sheep farming is now one of the principle industries in the area and there are considerably more sheep than people -almost 2 million Merino Sheep.
Broken Hill is also one of the stops of the Ghan and Indian Pacific luxury trains which are two of the classic train journeys. The GHAN goes from Adelaide to Alice Springs and The Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth via Adelaide. The luxury trains take several days to traverse Australia but these are truly trips of a life time.
Encircled by Reserves
Dust storms are a common problem in the desert but the ingenious people of Broken Hill created reserves to surround the town thus protecting the encircled town from the worst of the storms.
South east of the town is the Kinchega National Park which encloses the Menindee, named after the nearby town, and Cawndilla Lakes. Broken Hill is situated at the junction of the Barrier Highway and the Silver City Highway. Wilcannia is a small town to the east of Broken Hill situated on the Darling River. It has many attractions of historical visit. The area is a fascinating place to visit with many contrasts.
Broken Hill, mining city in southeastern Australia, in New South Wales state, and the site of one of the world's largest known deposits of silver and other ores. The mines in the vicinity of Broken Hill are still producing substantial quantities of lead and zinc, although many jobs have been replaced by new technologies. As the mineral resources in the Broken Hill area have dwindled, tourism has become increasingly important to the city's economy. The town is known as a center for artists, and a number of galleries line the streets. Dams on the Darling River channel water to Broken Hill, making it an oasis amid the harsh climate and topography of the Australian outback (the continent's vast interior region). Broken Hill is the largest town in western New South Wales. The closest large city is Adelaide, which is more than 500 km (300 mi) to the southwest in the state of South Australia.
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