The Silver City is a friendly, quirky regional centre in outback NSW, first visited by European explorers in the 1840s and founded in 1883 with the discovery of massive silver, zinc and lead deposits.
Today, the town’s population of about 20,000 people is annually inundated by about 300,000 tourists. Broken Hill is firmly located on the big, drive-across-Australia holiday map and tourists definitely add to the city’s welcoming, casual atmosphere.
Mining, of course, is the other big industry, with the historic mine forming an unmistakable backdrop to the city. Australian base metals mining and exploration company Perilya acquired the Broken Hill Mine in 2002, increasing production and extending its life to more than six years based on existing reserves. In the five years to 2007, Perilya Broken Hill mined 9.4 million tonnes of ore and shipped 645,000 tonnes of zinc metal and 300,000 tonnes of lead.
The pastoral industry is also a significant economic generator for the region, and Broken Hill increasingly becoming known as a movie and cultural hub, too. One Australian artist to put the city on the map was Pro Hart (he lived his life here and did his first sketches down the mine!) The city’s calendar of events is always lively, including weekly AFL matches in winter, two race meetings (St Pat’s and the Silver City Cup) and the Red Desert Live music, food, film and art festival.
Broken Hill offers all the facilities you’d expect from a large regional hub, with an excellent government website (www.brokenhill.nsw.gov.au) detailing community services.
As for temperatures, they range from the low 30s in summer, to the 20s in spring and autumn and down to 12-18c in winter. But be warned: January and February can get damn hot, up into the mid 40s for days at a time.
One more thing: although falling with the borders of NSW, Broken Hill is a Claytons South Aussie town. It follows South Australia’s time zone (half hour behind Victoria and NSW) and gets a lot of its local news from Adelaide.
"Broken Hill is a fantastic town. My old mate from school does the underground thing working for the Caterpillar dealer, Cavpower. The people are fantastic, and it has all the modern facilities of a town of 22,000 people. McDonald's, Hungry Jacks, KFC, Coles, Woolworth's. Good restaurants +top pubs. The Mulga Hill Tavern is the place to go if you are single on a Friday night. St Pat's races are always good. Pro Hart's gallery is worth a visit, same for a trip out to Silverton to check out where Mad Max was filmed. The only thing about Broken Hill is that you become a bit stir crazy, and you have to get out of the joint every once in a while. Popular solutions to this problem are a trip down to Mildura, 260k's, or a five-hour trip to Adelaide."
- Andrew, Aberdeen
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