Road trip to mines and dust.

The Silver City Highway took us out of Mildura, and we headed north to the home of the largest mining company in the world.

Charles Sturt, the explorer, in 1844 saw, and named, the Barrier Range, and commented in his diary that he had seen a ‘broken hill’, as part of the Range. Later silver ore was found at the ‘broken hill’. The hill is no more due to the silver ore having been mined and mined.
Some called the town ‘Silver City’, others the ‘Oasis in the West’ and yet others called it the ‘Capital of the Outback’, but today is is Broken Hill.
Although Broken Hill is in New South Wales, over 1100 kms (680 miles) west of Sydney, the nearest major town is Adelaide in South Australia, which is more than 500 km (311 miles) south west of Broken Hill.
The average rainfall is 235 mm (9 inches), so it is an ideal place for hosting one of the largest solar powered generating plants in Australia.

Broken Hill is an interesting ‘old Australian’ town, with wide streets, friendly people and plenty of places to visit.
During our road trip last year we (my wife & I) decided to stay in Broken Hill for three nights.


Wide streets and friendly people.


Broken Hill is quiet, but not dead.

During our stay we planned to visit Silverton, which is a ‘ghost’ town about twenty five kms from Broken Hill.

On the way to Silverton we decided to visit an old mine called Day Dream Mine. We thought the tour of the mine began at 10.30 am, so planned to arrive just before the start.
The sealed road out of Broken Hill was fine until we came to the turn to take us to the mine, which was about thirteen kms along a dirt road.


The picture above is of the beginning of our thirteen kilometre drive. We had to go through two or three barred gate accesses. Maybe the gates were to comply with health and safety at night, because there is nothing worth stealing, unless you are big in to dust.



I was glad that I hadn’t cleaned the car earlier.

DSC03613rEventually we arrived at the mine. A young lady was the only occupant of this ‘office’  (the lady in the picture is my wife, Maureen), and she told us that we had missed the start of the tour by half an hour, but we could join it if we wished. The next tour would be about an hour and a half later.
We declined her offer and just chatted about the mine as she pointed out various items of interest, which were old rusty mine equipment from the 1800’s, and where the old town used to be located. DSC03607r



The picture shows the remains of the old ‘town’, more like individual houses, built by the miners. The settlement flourished between 1882 and 1889.

We didn’t wait for the next tour and with hindsight we made the right choice. The following day we met a husband and wife, and the husband’s elderly mother.
They were on the mine visit while Maureen and I were in the ‘office’ of the mine. They commented about not having the correct footwear to climb down a steep ladder to the bottom of the mine. The elderly lady was 81, and she was glad when it was all over, but her son and his wife also found it hard going, and they were in their late fifties. Having been down a deep slate mine in North Wales (on a vertical train) we were quite happy to miss the Day Dream Mine – perhaps if we were younger we would feel different.

Our next stop was the ghost town of Silverton.


%d bloggers like this: