Broken Hill is one Australian town that needs very little introduction. Growing from a small mining township in the 1880s it has developed into a large mining and tourism centre.
The town has been described as a living, breathing time-capsule – “an artifact that survives in the desert and waits to be rediscovered with its Art-deco shop fronts from a bygone age and many monuments throughout the town paying homage to the men and women who suffered and died so the town could survive.”
Our overnight stay has not provided us with much of an opportunity to truly explore the town or the nearby town of Silverton on this visit, but there are a couple of things worth knowing that puts some further perspective on the town.
The Great War visited Broken Hill on New Year’s Day, 1915, when two camel drivers loyal to the Ottoman Empire opened fire on a picnic train, killing five men, women, and children in what remains the only act of war to be committed on Australian soil. You can view where this occurred on a small lane not too far from the Broken Hill caravan park.
During the second-world war a large part of Australia’s gold reserves were transferred to the town and away from the coastal capital cities to protect it from the possibility of a Japanese invasion.
And surprisingly, in Sturt Park there stands a monument to the musicians of the ill-fated Titanic that was erected in 1913. It would seem extraordinary that an inland community in Australia has a monument to the tragedy that occurred in the icy-waters of the Atlantic Ocean on the other side of the world…
Standing on the urban boundary we looked westward as the sun drifted low onto the horizon, the town at our back and nothing but the red desert ahead of us, as far as the eye can see.