War in the Australian Outback

Broken HillBroken Hill is one Australian destination 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 with its many Art-Deco shop fronts from an era long-gone and many monuments that pay tribute to the men and women who forged an existence in the red-parched landscape making it what it is today.

Typical of many outback towns if you scratch a little beneath the surface it often reveals an underbelly that is interesting, unique, and important to the mosaic that makes up modern Australian history…

Many battles were fought at “The Hill” between miners and the management of the mining companies, but there was another battle that took place that laid a tragic mark on Australian history.

Many visitors to “The Hill” will be familiar with the caravan park on the town’s western boundary, and I have stayed at it on a number of occasions as we head to and from central Australia. However, many are unaware that within about half-a-kilometre of the park a significant event occurred on New Year’s Day 1915.

On this day the Great War visited Broken Hill when two camel drivers loyal to the Ottoman Empire opened fire with their rifles on a picnic train that was heading to Silverton, killing five men, women, and children.

The assailants were killed in a gun battle that went for a number of hours and this event is reported as being the only act of war to be committed on Australia soil.

A rail carriage similar to the one that was involved on this fateful day is positioned were the attack took place, little more than about a 15-minute walk from the caravan park.

So next time you visit Broken Hill be sure to scratch the surface a little, you’ll be sure to find something as precious as the metals they have mined there for well over a century.

 Photo: Baz – The Landy

10 thoughts on “War in the Australian Outback

  1. Gallivanta August 26, 2014 / 2:56 pm

    So much of Australia’s history yet to be unscratched, I would say.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lavinia Ross August 26, 2014 / 2:14 pm

    I think there is a long history of blood shed over mining. My grandfather died as the result of a coal mine collapse. When my father ran for judge some years later, someone tried to assinate him as he was on the side of safety reform. He lived, and gave up politics. Probably many such stories from many countries.

    I may get to see your area of the world someday. All these posts have my interest up!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Lavinia Ross August 27, 2014 / 6:58 am

        And swap stories over food & wine! Rick has a few of his own… 🙂


  3. waexplorer August 26, 2014 / 11:14 am

    Great piece of Australian history, I certainly didn’t know that there was an act of war on Australian territory during the WWI.


    • Baz - The Landy August 26, 2014 / 11:18 am

      Amazing isn’t it…

      Scratch beneath the surface and there is so much to see and learn…

      Cheers, Baz – The Landy


      • waexplorer August 26, 2014 / 11:32 am

        I think history in Australia isn’t as obvious as it is in Europe, where you come across old churches, buildings etc. It’s true, here we need to scratch a bit further to find it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Mary Strong-Spaid August 26, 2014 / 10:26 am

    Well, it is wonderful that you gave it an introduction, because I certainly had not heard of it before. Fascinating history!

    Liked by 1 person

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