Broken Hill - the Silver City 

 
Broken Hill is an isolated mining city in the far west of outback New South Wales, Australia. It is near the border with South Australia on the crossing of the Barrier Highway (A32) and the Silver City Highway (B79), in the Barrier Range. It is 315 m (1,033 ft) above sea level, with a hot desert climate, and an average rainfall of 235 mm (9 in).
 
The closest major city is Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, which is more than 500 km (311 mi) to the southwest and linked via route A32. The town has a high historical importance in Australia's mining and economic history, after the discovery of silver ore led to the opening of various mines, thus establishing Broken Hill's recognition as a prosperous mining town well into the 1990s. Despite experiencing a slowing economic situation in the 2000s, Broken Hill itself was listed on the National Heritage List in 2015 and remains Australia's longest running mining town.
 
Broken Hill has been referred to as "The Silver City", and less commonly as the "Oasis of the West", and the "Capital of the Outback". Although over 1,100 km (680 mi) west of Sydney and surrounded by semi-desert, the town has prominent park and garden displays and offers a number of attractions, such as the Living Desert Sculptures. The town has a high potential for solar power, given its extensive daylight hours of sunshine. The Broken Hill Solar Plant, which was completed in 2015, is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
 
Living Desert Sculptures
Living Desert Sculptures
 
Outback Sunset
Outback Sunset
Photography by Ilya Genkin
 

Time Zone

 
Unlike the rest of New South Wales, Broken Hill (and the surrounding region) observes Australian Central Standard Time (UTC+9:30), the same time zone used in South Australia. This is because at the time the Australian dominions adopted standard time, Broken Hill's only direct rail link was with Adelaide, not Sydney. Similarly, Broken Hill is regarded as part of South Australia for the purposes of postal parcels rates, and telephone charges. Broken Hill also used to be a break of gauge station where the state railway systems of South Australia and New South Wales met. 
 

Town name

Broken Hill is Australia's longest-lived mining city. In 1844, the explorer Charles Sturt saw and named the Barrier Range, and at the time referred to a "Broken Hill" in his diary.  Silver ore was later discovered on this broken hill in 1883 by a boundary rider named Charles Rasp. The "broken hill" that gave its name to Broken Hill actually comprised a number of hills that appeared to have a break in them. The broken hill no longer exists, having been mined away.
 
The area was originally known as Willyama. Prior to Sturt's naming, the surrounding area was referred to by the local Aboriginal population as the "Leaping Crest".
 
 

Geology

 
Broken Hill's massive orebody, which formed about 1,800 million years ago, has proved to be among the world's largest silver–lead–zinc mineral deposits. 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. Miners called the ore body the Line of Lode. A unique mineral recently identified from Broken Hill has been named Nyholmite after Ron Nyholm (1917–1971). Lead with the isotope signature of the Broken Hill deposits has been found across the entire continent of Antarctica in ice cores dating back to the late nineteenth century.
 
Miners' Memorial at the Line of Lode mine
Miners' Memorial at the Line of Lode mine, commemorating over 800 workers who lost their lives working the mine
 

History

Town Hall and Post Office
 
Broken Hill Court House
Broken Hill Court House
 
The earliest human settlers in the area around Broken Hill are thought to have been the Wiljakali     Indigenous Australians, once thought to have only intermittently lived in the area because of the lack of permanent water sources, but it has since been found that the Indigenous Clans of the area were able to survive on underground water holes and wells that were unknown to the European settlers. Many of these waterholes are still kept secret from non-Indigenous people. As in much of Australia, a combination of white settler disease and aggression drove them from their lands. 
 
The first whites to visit the area was then Surveyor General of New South Wales, Major Thomas Mitchell, in 1841. Three years later in 1844, the explorer Charles Sturt saw and named the Barrier Range while searching for an inland sea; so naming it because it was blocked to his journey north. Burke and Wills passed through the area on their famous 1860–61 expedition, setting up a base camp at nearby Menindee. Pastoralists first began settling the area in the 1850s, and the main trade route to the area was along the Darling River.
 
Broken Hill was founded in 1883 by boundary rider Charles Rasp, who patrolled the Mount Gipps fences. In 1883 he discovered what he thought was tin, but the samples proved to be silver and lead. The orebody they came from proved to be the largest and richest of its kind in the world. Rasp and six associates founded the Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP), later BHP Billiton, and now BHP again, in 1885 as the Syndicate of Seven. By 1915 BHP had realised that its ore reserves were limited and begun to diversify into steel production. Mining at the BHP mines at Broken Hill ceased 28 February 1939. BHP was not the only mining operation at Broken Hill though, and mining continued at the southern and northern ends of the Line of Lode. Currently   the southern and northern operations are run by Perilya Limited, who plan to open further mines along the Line of Lode.
 
The Battle of Broken Hill took place on New Year's Day 1915 when two Afghan men fired upon a trainload of people who were headed to a New Years Day picnic. Since Australia was at war at the time with the Ottoman Empire, the men were first thought to be Turkish, but were later identified as being from the British colony of India (modern day Pakistan). They killed four and wounded six, before they were killed by a group of policemen and soldiers.
In 1918, the Italian Ambassador to Australia, Emilio Eles, with the help of the Australian police and the army, organised the roundup of Italian deserters working there as miners, to be forcibly sent back to Italy to fight in the war.
 
Broken Hill Trades Hall
 
Broken Hill Trades Hall
 
It is also known for its input into the formation of the labour movement in Australia, and has a rich trade union history. Some of the most bitter industrial disputes have been fought in Broken Hill in 1892, 1909 and 1919. The last of these led to the formation in 1923 of the Barrier Industrial Council, a group of 18 trade unions, which became one of the most influential organisations in the politics of the city. Like many "outback" towns, Broken Hill was built on precious metals, having once had the world's 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 principal industries in the area and there are considerably more sheep than people — almost 2 million Merino sheep.
 
For more information visit Wikipedia at    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_Hill
 
 
 
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