Silver City

Round Australia Road Trip #26

While outback towns like Kalgoorlie and Norseman were built on the back of gold rushes in the 1880s, Broken Hill in western New South Wales was founded after the discovery in 1883 of the richest silver, lead and zinc deposits in the world. Broken Hill Proprietary Company, formed in 1885 by seven local men, went on to become the international mining company BHP Billiton. With Perliya Limited at the helm today, these precious resources are still being mined.

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Over the last 130 years, as mining waste was deposited, a massive mullock heap grew to dominate the town. It seems fitting that the Line of Lode Miners’ Memorial sits atop the mountain of rock and soil overlooking the city.

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The memorial commemorates more than 800 miners who have lost their lives while working, with a white rose placed next to each man’s name. Nearby are two dump trucks –Β  a memorial to the only two dead miners still lost underground.

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The main street of Broken Hill is lined with buildings that reflect the city’s mining history. The trade union movement was strong and it was here that the 35 hour working week came to fruition.

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Broken Hill is the Silver City, built for mining and miners.

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21 thoughts on “Silver City

  1. Another interesting post – I am getting to feel I know the country a bit.

    What is ‘mullock’ ? I guess it might be the equivalent of muck or slag – a couple of words from the UK that would fit the context?

  2. Ah, at last, a place I have been to! I really enjoyed Broken Hill, such a contrast to Sydney, but very, very hot! Mindst you Sydney is as hot these days. I don’t recall the memorial, is it newish? I did visit the Flying Doctor base there and out to Silverton and Menindee – fascinating places.

    • It has been a huge enterprise and is still going on. We were interested to see how the cause of death of the miners changed with developments in technology and medical knowledge. There are also far fewer in the last thirty or so years, which would be thanks to adequate workplace health and safety laws.

  3. What a striking memorial! I can’t imagine a more horrible occupation than mining. This area was all pit villages once upon a time. I don’t think anyone could miss being down there.
    Taking the opportunity to wish you a merry Christmas, Carol πŸ™‚ Are you home with family, or visiting? However you spend it, I hope it’s a happy and peaceful time.

    • It would have been an unpleasant job in the past and still has its dangers today.
      Thank you Jo. We are home with family gathered together, except for our daughter who is living in UK and will be in Amsterdam with a friend from home for Christmas Day.

  4. I’ve been doing some work recently on the Broken Hill City Council website. Before that I knew very little about the place – it’s so interesting! I must visit one day πŸ˜€

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