Broken Hill is a city in the far west region of outback New South Wales, Australia. An inland mining city, 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 315m above sea level, with a hot desert climate, and an average rainfall of 235mm. The closest major city is Mildura, 300km to the south and the nearest State Capital City is Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, which is more than 500km to the southwest and linked via route A32.

Broken Hill
New South Wales
Argent Street, Broken Hill.jpg
Argent Street, Broken Hill's main street
Broken Hill is located in New South Wales
Broken Hill
Broken Hill
Location in New South Wales, near the border of South Australia
Coordinates31°57′S 141°28′E / 31.950°S 141.467°E / -31.950; 141.467
Population17,734 (2018)
Elevation315 m (1,033 ft)
Time zoneACST (UTC+9:30)
 • Summer (DST)ACDT (UTC+10:30)
  • 837 km (520 mi) north west of Melbourne
  • 511 km (318 mi) north east of Adelaide via State Route A32
  • 1,143 km (710 mi) west of Sydney via State Route A32
  • 296 km (184 mi) north of Mildura
LGA(s)City of Broken Hill
State electorate(s)Barwon
Federal division(s)Parkes[1]
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
24.2 °C
76 °F
11.9 °C
53 °F
241.8 mm
9.5 in

The town is prominent in Australia's mining, industrial relations 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 into the late 1990s and 2000s, Broken Hill itself was listed on the National Heritage List in 2015 and remains Australia's longest running mining town.

Broken Hill, historically considered one of Australia's boomtowns, 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 1100km west of Sydney and surrounded by desert, the town has prominent park and garden displays and offers a number of attractions, such as the Living Desert Sculptures.[2] The town has a high potential for solar power, given its extensive daylight hours of sunshine.[3] The Broken Hill Solar Plant, which was completed in 2015, is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.[4]

In the Broken Hill region the major Aboriginal language groups are the Paakantji, Mayyankapa, and Nyiimpaa.[5]

Time zoneEdit

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 nearby 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 nameEdit

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.[6][7] Silver ore was later discovered on this broken hill in 1883 by boundary rider Charles Rasp. The broken hill that gave its name to Broken Hill actually consisted of a number of hills that appeared to have a break in them. This broken hill no longer exists, having been mined away.

The area was originally known as Willyama.[8]


Looking down Sulphide St to the rail line and man-made mullock heaps in the background. The Broken Earth visitor centre is in the background.

Broken Hill's massive orebody, which formed about 1,800 million years ago, has proved to be among the world's largest silverleadzinc 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[9] 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.[10]


The earliest human settlers in the area around Broken Hill are thought to have been the Wiljakali Indigenous Australians,[7][5] once thought to have only intermittently lived in the area because of the lack of permanent water sources.[11]

The Township of Broken Hill in the early 1900s

The first Europeans 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.[7]

Argent Street in 1907

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 began 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. In the early 20th century, Broken Hill was a centre of mining innovation resulting in a viable froth flotation process.[12] Currently[when?] the southern and northern operations are run by Perilya Limited, who plan to open further mines along the Line of Lode.[13]

In 1892 Broken Hill Gaol was built, designed by the Colonial Architect, James Barnet, who also designed the Sydney Museum, among others. Its construction cost £15,000, and was carried out by Dobbee and Son. It opened on 8 November 1892 as a 90-bed facility with five prison wardens and initially holding two female and 19 male prisoners.[14]

The Battle of Broken Hill took place on New Year's Day 1915 when two Afghan men, pushing an ice-cream cart, hoisted a Turkish Flag and 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).[15][16] They killed four and wounded six, before they were killed by a group of policemen and soldiers.[17] The battle witnessed one of the first shots on Australian soil during World War I.

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.[18]

The Broken Hill Trades Hall was commissioned and built by trade unions of the late 19th century

Broken Hill 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.

On 10 January 2007, the Broken Hill City Council was dismissed by the NSW Minister for Local Government following a public inquiry.[19][20]

Parts of the town received record rainfall totals since records began in 1884, with total exceeding 140 mm (5.5 in) fell in a 24 hour period on 16 March 2022. The main street resembled a river in the floods that followed resulting in the death of one man.[21]

Heritage listingsEdit

Broken Hill Court House
Duke of Cornwall Inn

Broken Hill has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Town listingsEdit

The town was listed in 2001 as a National Engineering Landmark by Engineers Australia as part of its Engineering Heritage Recognition Program.[35]

In 2015, Broken Hill became the first city in Australia to be included on the National Heritage List.[36][37]


Electric powerEdit

By the 1920s most of the nine mines on the Line of Lode had their own steam-powered electrical generators to power the surface and underground workings. As Broken Hill is in a desert with little water and virtually no fuel, steam generation was an expensive option. In 1927 a plan for a central power-generating facility was proposed by F. J. Mars, consulting electrical engineer with the Central Mine. The proposed powerhouse would provide electricity and compressed air. The mines agreed and formed Western New South Wales Electric Power Pty Ltd to construct and operate the plant. The Sulzer diesel-powered plant was completed in 1931. This was one of the earliest examples of the use of diesel power generation in Australia. The plant was enlarged in 1950 to cope with increased demand from the North Mine. At the same time, a new power station run by the Southern Power Corporation (owned by Consolidated Zinc) was erected near the New Broken Hill Consolidated Mine to provide power to the southern end of the Line of Lode. Both stations were connected to a common grid that serviced the mines on the Line of Lode.

A HVDC back-to-back station with a maximum transmission rate of 40 megawatts was built at Broken Hill in 1986, to draw from the National Grid. It consists of 2 static inverters working with a voltage of 8.33 kV. After this station was operational, the two other power stations closed and the equipment was gradually removed from the Central Power Station. The mothballed Southern Power Station, now owned by remnant miner Perilya, still houses five, 9 cylinder, Nordberg marine engines and two Mirrlees V16 marine engines.

In 2010, the Central Power Station (CPS) buildings were handed back to Broken Hill City Council for a proposed re-development as a film studio, due to the perceived need for a facility in Broken Hill by some local people in preparation for the production of Mad Max: Fury Road. The historic machinery was all removed and presumably scrapped and the giant pits that the motors were housed in were filled with concrete to convert the buildings into a warehouse type layout. The Broken Hill City Council has received considerable funding and spent a large amount of money and resources on establishing a film studio in the buildings but as at late 2014 these buildings remain largely empty and unused as the production of Fury Road shifted to Namibia, Africa, following higher than expected rainfall.

Aerial view of the Broken Hill solar plant. Broken Hill receives a high proportion of sunlight, making it suitable for electricity to be generated from solar power.

Solar powerEdit

The high potential for solar power given the extensive daily hours of sunshine in the town led to construction of the 53 MW Broken Hill Solar Plant by AGL Energy. It was funded and supported by the Australian Government and New South Wales Government in a bid to encourage the move away from coal generated power in favour of renewable energy. The plant was completed in 2016 and is one of the largest in Australia.

Compressed AirEdit

In 2022, a Silver City ESP a pumped air storage facility is proposed for Broken Hill.[citation needed][clarification needed]


Broken Hill has never had a permanent local water supply that meets the town's needs. By 1888 when the town's population had reached 5,000, the state government built a series of small storage tanks.[38]

By the 1890s, mining development had increased to the point that there was a severe water shortage and the mines and the people fought for water. Emergency water supplies were shipped by rail from the Darling River.[38] In 1891, the Stephens Creek Reservoir was completed by a private company. The cost of water was high but not excessive and people were willing to pay because the environment was arid. Another reservoir was built at Umberumberka, however variable rainfall meant supplemental supplies by rail and rationing was still needed.[38]

Menindee Road over the Menindee Lakes

In 1952, Broken Hill's demands for a permanent water supply were met with the completion of a 61 cm (24 in) pipeline from Menindee.[38] The pipeline could supply 1.6 megalitres (57,000 cu ft; 420,000 US gal) of water per hour. Water storage facilities that are part of the Menindee Lakes Scheme on the Darling River secured the water supply to Broken Hill, making it a relative oasis amid the harsh climate of the Australian outback. High evaporation rates have resulted in the policy of using the local storage for supply before using the pipeline.[38]

In 2004, due to severe drought across much of the Murray Darling Basin Catchment area, the Darling River ceased to flow and the Menindee Lakes dried out. Broken Hill essentially ran out of water, with a muddy sludge coming out of some taps around Christmas time in 2004.[39] The high salt content of the water led to a lot of damage to evaporative air conditioners and rusted out hot water systems at an alarming rate.

Due to the over-extraction of water from the tributaries to the Darling River in the early part of the 21st century, the Menindee pipeline became an insecure supply for the city, in its harsh semi-arid climate. In April 2019, a new New South Wales Government-funded pipeline was commissioned. The pipeline was constructed in a joint venture between John Holland Group, MPC Kinetic Group and TRILITY, running 270 km from Wentworth on the Murray River. There are four pumping stations along the route and a 720 megalitre bulk water storage facility 25 kilometres south of Broken Hill. The pipeline can supply up to 37.4 megalitres (1,320,000 cu ft; 9,900,000 US gal) of raw water per day.[40]


The city's isolation was a problem until the Adelaide narrow gauge railway link was finished in 1888.[41] Since the New South Wales Government would not allow the South Australian Government to continue its 1067 mm (3 ft 6 in) narrow-gauge railway across the border to the mines, the last 31 kilometres (19 miles) were built and operated by a private company, the Silverton Tramway Company.[42] "Silverton" was incorporated into the name because the railway was originally intended to serve the mining town of Silverton. However, by the time the railway reached Silverton it was already being eclipsed by the newer and bigger mine at Broken Hill.[43] The main purpose of the railway was to transport concentrates and ores from the mines to the smelters and port facilities on the coast at Port Pirie, South Australia. Backloading to Broken Hill transported supplies, principally coal for boilers at the mines and timber for the timber sets used underground in mining. The Silverton Tramway Company was the most profitable railway company on the Australia Stock Exchange.

The main sidings and locomotive servicing facilities were in Railwaytown, a suburb of Broken Hill, with sidings running to the south and north to serve the mines. The main passenger station was at Sulphide Street.

The Broken Hill Post Office; rail lines played a significant role in Broken Hill's postal system

From the later 1890s, Broken Hill Council campaigned for a street tramway to provide public transport around town and to the mines. Eventually the NSW Government decided to build one, which was opened in 1902.[citation needed] It was operated by steam trams transferred from Sydney by sea and then by rail across South Australia. After World War I it sustained increasing losses until the New South Wales Government closed the system in 1926.[citation needed]

A curiosity was the Tarrawingee Tramway, a 1067 mm (3 ft 6 in) narrow-gauge railway line that ran north from Broken Hill for about 40 miles (64 km) to an area of limestone deposit which was transported to Broken Hill for use in the smelters at the mines.[44] The tramway opened in 1891 but closed in 1898 as the smelters moved to Port Pirie. In 1889 the Public Works Committee of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly recommended that the Government take over the line and it subsequently became a narrow-gauge part of the New South Wales Government Railways (NSWGR) run under contract by the Silverton Tramway Company.

An excursion train on the Silverton Tramway was fired on by two immigrant supporters of the wartime Ottoman Empire in 1915. They shot dead four people and wounded seven more before being killed by police and military officers.

In 1919, a 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge rail link from Broken Hill to Menindee was opened, mainly to transport water from the Darling River to Broken Hill. Earlier sections of what became the Broken Hill railway line had been opened as early as 1885, reaching Trida in 1919, but a 257 kilometres (160 miles) gap remained between Trida and Menindee. It was finally closed in 1925, resulting in a continuous route from Sydney to Broken Hill. The terminus for the train was at Crystal Street station, 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) from the Silverton Tramway Company's Sulphide Street station. The rolling stock was transported by sea to South Australia and the railway was supervised by the superintendent of the Broken Hill Government Tramways.

In 1927, the direct link to Sydney was completed. In 1937 the NSWGR placed the Silver City Comet into service – the first air-conditioned train in Australia, which ran between Broken Hill and Parkes.

During World War II, land transportation between South Australia and the eastern states became important because of the threat posed by submarines and mines to coastal shipping. Extensive transshipment yards were constructed at Broken Hill in 1942 to allow transshipment of munitions.

With the purchase of the Sulphide Corporation by the Zinc Corporation in 1948, the modern Cockle Creek Smelter was constructed south of Newcastle. This started to take lead and zinc concentrates directly from Broken Hill via rail in the 1960s via the W44 concentrate train, marking the first major use of the rail link to the eastern seaboard.

In 1970 the 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge railway from Broken Hill to Port Pirie was superseded by a more heavily built 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) gauge line, broadly following the narrow gauge route but with easier gradients and broader curves. This completed the long-awaited transcontinental rail corridor from Sydney to Perth]].

Broken Hill railway station is one of the stops of the Indian Pacific passenger service, operated by the Journey Beyond, from Sydney to Perth via Adelaide.[45] The weekly NSW TrainLink Outback Xplorer service was introduced in 1996; it arrives from Sydney on Mondays at 19:10, departing Broken Hill on Tuesdays at 07:45 for the return to Sydney. NSW TrainLink also operates a daily road coach service, departing the Broken Hill Tourist Information Centre at 03:45, connecting at Dubbo with the Central West XPT to Sydney. The return journey arrives daily at 22:45.[46] On 24 June 2019, NSW TrainLink introduced a twice weekly coach service to Adelaide.[47]

Regional Express operates air services from Broken Hill Airport to and from Adelaide, Dubbo, Griffith, Melbourne via Mildura and Sydney. Silver City Scenic Flights[48] provide local scenic flights over the city, longer air safaris to various destinations in outback Australia and also private air charter services from Broken Hill Airport.

Local public transport is provided by CDC Broken Hill, operating four city bus routes from Monday to Saturday.[49] The city is also serviced by two urban taxi companies.


Broken Hill has a hot desert climate (BWh) under the Köppen climate classification. Winters in Broken Hill are relatively mild and dry, although the night and early morning can be cold with moderate frost, while summers are highly variable – mostly hot and dry with some variation (summer storms with high humidity are not uncommon). The average maximum during the summer months (November to March) is about 32 °C (90 °F) with an average of 25% humidity, although occasional rainfall and cooler weather occur. Broken Hill averages 157.3 clear days per year. Dust storms are a common problem in the desert, but in the late 1930s the people of Broken Hill, led by Mr Keast of the Zinc Corporation mine, created green reserves to surround the town thus protecting it from the worst of the storms.[50] Dewpoints in the summer average between 7.5 and 10 °C (45.5 and 50.0 °F).

Climate data for Broken Hill Airport AWS, New South Wales, Australia (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1947-present); 281 m AMSL
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 46.3
Mean maximum °C (°F) 40.6
Average high °C (°F) 33.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.6
Average low °C (°F) 19.4
Mean minimum °C (°F) 13.4
Record low °C (°F) 8.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 26.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 2.4 2.3 2.1 1.7 2.5 2.4 3.0 2.9 2.6 2.6 3.3 2.3 30.1
Average relative humidity (%) 33.5 38.0 38.5 41.0 54.5 62.5 60.0 48.5 44.0 36.5 35.5 33.0 43.8
Average dew point °C (°F) 7.5
Source 1: Australian Bureau of Meteorology (temperature, precipitation, humidity- 1991-2020 normals)[51]
Source 2: Australian Bureau of Meteorology (1947-present extremes)[52]


Broken Hill Town Hall
Broken Hill Technical College

In 1933, Broken Hill was the third largest urban incorporated area in New South Wales, having a population of 26,925.[53] Broken Hill's population peaked at around 30,000 in the early 1960s and has shrunk by one third since the heyday of the 1970s zinc boom, with the decrease attributed to migration from the closure and consolidation of mining operations.[54] The estimated urban population of Broken Hill in 2021 was 17,588.[55] The impact on Broken Hill's economy of the shrinking mining industry and the more efficient mining rates resulted in a higher proportion of part-time employment, higher employment participation rate by females, a general reduction in overall household incomes, and an increase in the average age of the populace as the young leave seeking work.[citation needed]

In 2021, Broken Hill had an unemployment rate of 5.5%, which was higher than the state average of 4.9%.[56]

Broken Hill has always had a small indigenous community. In recent decades, the proportion of the population identifying as Aboriginal has increased markedly; from 0.6% in 1971 to 10.0% in 2021, partly owing to the migration of non-indigenous Australians away from Broken Hill. [57]

In the 19th and early 20th century Broken Hill was home to a community of Afghans. Afghans worked as camel drivers in parts of outback Australia, and they made a significant contribution to economic growth when transport options were limited. The camel drivers formed the first sizeable Muslim communities in Australia, and in Broken Hill they left their mark in the form of the first mosque in New South Wales (1880).[58]

Sacred Heart Cathedral

In 2021, Broken Hill had a population of 17,588. The median age is 44 and 10.0% of residents are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.[59]

86.0% of residents are born in Australia; significantly higher than the national average of 66.9%. The most common other countries of birth are Philippines (1.1%), England (0.8%), and New Zealand (0.4%). The most common reported ancestries in Broken Hill are Australian (43.2%), English (37.8%) and Australian Aboriginal (9.2%). 77.8% of residents reported both parents being born in Australia, notably higher than the national average of 45.9%.[60]

The top religious groups in Broken Hill are Catholic (18.0%), Anglican (8.8%) and Uniting Church (6.1%). 48.8% stated no religion and 9.9% did not answer the question.


Wendt's Chambers; many 19th century commercial shopfronts still remain

Broken Hill has been and still is a town dominated by the mining industry, which led to considerable town prosperity in the 19th and 20th century. The mines founded on the Broken Hill Ore Deposit – the world's richest lead-zinc ore body – have until recently provided the majority of direct employment and indirect employment in the city. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company became Australia's largest mining company, and later became part of the world's largest mining company, BHP.

Before the 1940s, mining was done by hand tools with high labor usage rates and included horse and mule-drawn carts underground. The advent of diesel powered mining equipment in the late 1940s and the move toward mechanised underground mining has resulted in less labor used per tonne of ore recovered, and the mine workforce has declined.

While the low metal prices of the 1990s led to the failure of miner Pasminco, the recent resurgence in metal prices has returned the sole existing operator, Perilya Limited, to profitability and prompted Consolidated Broken Hill Limited to advance development of the untouched Western Lodes and Centenary Lodes. This created over 70 jobs during development and will lead to a second, new, milling operation built within the town.[citation needed]

Owing to its exposure to the vagaries of the mining industry, and because of a swiftly shrinking population, similar to other rural centres, and compounded by its isolation, Broken Hill has encouraged its widespread artistic credentials[citation needed] and is promoting itself as a tourism destination to become less reliant upon mining as a source of employment.

Average incomes in Broken Hill are lower than the national average. According to the 2016 Australian Census the median weekly household income in the city was $968; considerably lower than the national average of $1,438.[61]


The Broken Earth Restaurant is situated on top of mullock heaps and provides panoramic views of the town.

Broken Hill and the surrounding area has many natural and man-made attractions on offer for the tourist. These include mining operations (some open to the public), a visitor's centre and lookout on top of the original Line of Lode mine, historic buildings, town history walking trails, many resident artists and galleries, the Sculpture Symposium, COBB & Co coach & wagon rides, Silverton Camel Farm, Stephen's Creek, several quarries, lakes, the Mundi-Mundi plains, and sunsets. The Albert Kersten Mining and Minerals Museum, located on Bromide Street and Crystal Lane, explores the mining history of the town through geology exhibits.

Broken Hill is a major base for both the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia and School of the Air.

The Brushmen of the Bush was a group of artists who formed in Broken Hill in 1973. Members included Pro Hart and Jack Absalom. The Pro Hart Gallery and Sculpture Park contains a large collection of Hart's paintings and sculptures, as well as many artworks of others that he collected during his lifetime. The gallery also features the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow that he painted in his unique style.

The Astra Hotel

Many clubs exist and are open most nights of the week until late. Establishments catering to both locals and tourists include the Musician's Club and the Barrier Social Democratic Club.

Broken Hill has many literary connections. Crime writer Arthur Upfield developed a nostalgic association with the city after his first visit in 1910, and published The Bachelors of Broken Hill featuring his character Bonaparte. in 1958.[62] Ion L. Idriess wrote the novel "The Silver City" based on the town. Kenneth Cook's 1961 novel Wake in Fright—set in the fictional mining town of Bundanyabba—is a thinly disguised portrait of Broken Hill. Cook based the novel on eccentric ocker characters he befriended in Broken Hill, drawing on their penchant for ritualistic drinking, two-up, hunting and alpha-male mateship. The novel was adapted into a 1971 film of the same name, shot on location in Broken Hill and starring Gary Bond, Donald Pleasence and Broken Hill native Chips Rafferty in his final film role.[63]

Corrugated-iron balconies and awnings are a characteristic feature of Broken Hill's architecture and streetscape

More recently, much of Australian novelist Max Barry's 2013 novel Lexicon was set in Broken Hill. Writing celebrating this unique community is featured in “from this Broken Hill”.[64]

Visitors are often fascinated by the houses with corrugated iron walls. Although corrugated iron was widely used as a roofing material throughout Australia, it was not commonly used for walls of houses.[citation needed]

Cheese slaw is a common and popular side dish in Broken Hill, and some residents claim the dish originated in the city.[65]

TV/film productionEdit

Broken Hill and the surrounding town of Silverton have been used as the base of various film productions.

One of the most well known films to heavily feature Broken Hill is The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert where various scenes in town and surrounding outback were filmed.[66] Mario's Palace, now trading as The Palace Hotel, has the "tack-o-rama" mural featured in The Adventures of Priscilla.[67]

Another well known film to be produced in the surrounds of Broken Hill is Mad Max 2 with principal photography taking place across twelve weeks.[68] Scenes were shot at the Pinnacles as well as the Mundi Mundi Plains.[69] In 2022 filming for Mad Max film Furiosa will take place in Silverton.[70]

Other film and TV productions include:

Other films and shows have used Broken Hill for only a few scenes, such as Mission: Impossible II, 800 Words, and Godzilla: Final Wars[74]


Miner's Memorial at the Line of Lode mine, commemorating over 800 workers who lost their lives working the mine

Health effects related to the mining industry were endemic to Broken Hill for many years. In 1895, as many as 1 in 50 miners were estimated to be affected by lead poisoning. As recently as 1991, over 80% of children under 5 years of age had blood lead levels higher than government guidelines.[75]

In the early 1990s an extensive government funded Lead Education program was established and people with children under 5 were able to have free lead testing of their children, homes and gardens to assess lead contamination levels. Any property that had considerably high lead levels in ceiling dust or garden soil was provided with free remediation works to reduce potential exposure to lead dust.

Lead contamination continues to be one of the most serious health concerns, particularly in children in Broken Hill. All infants are required to receive blood tests to examine lead levels. Streets located next to the major mine, including Gaffney, Eyre, and Slag Streets have the unenviable award of being classified as some of the most contaminated residential streets in New South Wales.[citation needed][76]


The 2BH studios

The town is served by the local newspaper, the Barrier Daily Truth. Major metropolitan and national newspapers from Adelaide and Sydney are also available in Broken Hill.

Local Radio Stations that are available in the Broken Hill region include:

  • 2DRY FM – 107.7FM – community radio station
  • Radio 1656 AM – Independent Local Radio
  • ABC Local Radio as ABC Broken Hill – 999 AM (Since Broken Hill is on Central Time, ABC Local Radio's national and statewide programming is received from Adelaide instead of Sydney when the Broken Hill studios are not broadcasting local programming.)
  • Triple J (ABC) – 102.1 FM
  • ABC Radio National – 102.9 FM
  • ABC Classic FM – 103.7 FM
  • ABC NewsRadio – 104.5 FM
  • 2BH Commercial Radio – 567 AM
  • 2HIL Hill FM Commercial Radio – 96.5 FM
  • Silver City FM 88 – 88 FM
  • Hype FM – 87.6 FM
  • Vision Christian Radio – 94.9 FM

The following television channels are available free-to-air in the Broken Hill region.

Although Broken Hill is in New South Wales, the programming schedules for these channels (excluding the ABC) is the same as those of Nine, Ten and Seven in Adelaide, with local adverts inserted and some variations for coverage of Australian Football League or National Rugby League matches, local and national news and current affairs programs, some lifestyle and light entertainment shows and infomercials. This is because Broken Hill, unlike the rest of New South Wales, is on Central Time. ABC channels are relayed from Sydney, so all programming is a half-hour earlier than advertised.

Southern Cross GTS/BKN broadcasts Seven Network programming including AFL telecasts and other sporting and major events. Southern Cross Ten broadcasts Network Ten output and some programming from 10 Bold and 10 Peach.

On 31 October 2010, Southern Cross GTS/BKN commenced broadcasting a full-time Channel Nine relay service. This service was initially a relay of TCN Sydney, with local advertising inserted until 2013 when it switched to a relay of NWS Adelaide.[77]

The Seven Central service (unrelated to the original Central GTS/BKN) and Imparja Television are available via satellite and terrestrial transmission in the adjacent areas.

Broken Hill was featured during the second leg of The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business.


Broken Hill Correctional Centre, the state's fourth-oldest prison still in operation,[14] is located at 109 Gossan Street.[78] It is important to the Far West region, as it allows for imprisonment closer to families who live in the area.[14]

Notable residentsEdit

Broken Hill War Memorial

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Profile of the electoral division of Parkes (NSW)". Australian Electoral Commission. 25 February 2016. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  2. ^ "Broken Hill". Destination NSW. Archived from the original on 8 July 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Broken Hill Solar Plant". AGL. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
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Further readingEdit

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