Broken Hill, New South Wales

Broken Hill is a mining town with about 18,500 inhabitants in the far west of the Australian state of New South Wales near the border with South Australia. The distance to the city of Sydney is approximately 1200 kilometers to the east, Adelaide is located about 500 km south-west. The city of Broken Hill coincides largely with the local administrative area of ​​Broken Hill City. The city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Wilcannia -Forbes.

In Broken Hill applies as in neighboring South Australia, the Australian Central Standard Time (UTC 9:30 ), unlike in the rest of New South Wales, where the Australian Eastern Standard Time (UTC 10) applies. In the city there is therefore always half an hour earlier than in the rest of the state.

  • Here born 7.1



It is believed that the first settlers in the region of the future Broken Hills Aboriginal people from the group were Wiljakali. Due to the lack of water in the region is a temporary settlement as well as an expulsion by the first European settlers probably.

The first Europeans in the region was of '' Surveyor General of New South Wales '', which is the highest land surveyors of New South Wales in 1841. In 1844 Charles Sturt discovered during his explorations of the Barrier Range ( altitude 439 m). The name suggests that the mountain range for Sturt was the great obstacle to the north, which after a lake situated in the territory was blocking him in finding their way. It consisted of old, twisted sedimentary rock which was compressed from granite, diorite, etc., and traversed by numerous white quartz veins.

Nomads began to populated the area in the 1850s, their supply route took it along the Darling River.

The expedition of Burke and Wills from 1860 to 1861 led by the area of its base camp was located at nearby Menindee.

Gold Rush

Sturt's description of the rock formations of 1848 led to a gold rush in 1867, which came to an abrupt end by lack of water and the non- discovery of gold. At this point, just looking for gold and not for other metals or ores, the rich silver deposits were overlooked.

The first recorded discoveries of silver-lead ore go on P. Green and the 1876 back: He found the ore in Thackaringa, 50 km from Broken Hill. The successful mining of these deposits led in 1882 to a renewed ' noise ' in the area ( Thackaringa and Umberumberka ). With the measurement of the area of Silverton in 1883, numerous richly mineralized Silbererzkörper were encountered.

Town foundation

The city's founding took place only in 1883 was: Charles Rasp, an inspector of pasture fences for the 'Mount Gipps station ' discovered in the region, some rock formations, including Quartz Awakening ( a sign of mineral resources ) and took samples of a metal from which he believed that it was tin. Analysis indicated a high concentration of silver, and lead and zinc as well as traces of other heavy metals. The concentration of silver in the ore collected by Rasp were higher than in any known until then mine.


Rasp secured with the " Syndicate of Seven" a 16 acre claim, and the six of these original claims of lying also each 16 ha The syndicate was declared insane, but managed a shaft, the shaft Rasp, in the ground to drive and met in 1884 at a depth of 30 m to a rich silver mineralization. Shortly after silver ore were also found in other areas of the central claims. On August 10, 1885 shares were sold to the "Broken Hill Proprietary Co. ". Later, four of the original seven claims were sold and renamed the company in BHP Billiton.

Broken Hill is the oldest still in operation deposit in Australia. The Haupterzkörper extends over 5 km and up to several 100 m depth.

Origin of the town name

It was Sturt, of a '' Broken Hill '' (English: Broken Hill) in his diary described. The ' broken hill ', the Broken Hill owes its name, consisted of a variety of hills that looked as if they were divided by a gap.

As part of the subsequent mining operations, the hill that gave the city its name, were completely degraded.

Climate, vegetation

The Broken Hill Located in the semi-arid climate, however due to its elevated location on more than 300 m above sea level is not quite as high temperature as the surrounding land, sand storms are common.

In the early years of mining, the vegetation was cleared to Broken Hill. Up to a grassy vegetation with scattered herbs after rain No permanent vegetation could form. Only through a large-scale greening measure in the 1930s, part of the original vegetation has been restored.


Broken Hill is located in the southern part of the so-called Curnamona Province, a cratons block to the west of New South Wales and to the east of South Australia. The Broken Hill Domain with the ore body of Broken Hill is the south-eastern part of the Curnamona Province in which come to light the Paleoproterozoic rocks of the Willyama Supergroup. The rock unit was probably deposited in an intracontinental backarc basin behind a subduction zone. The age of the supergroup is about 1.72 to 1.70 billion years. In this basin there were believed to be a semi- grave system, the main fault is assumed west of Broken Hill. The thickness of the Willyama Supergroup is estimated in the Broken Hill Domain at up to 13 km. Prior to around 1.6 billion years, the rock units were metamorphosed and deformed overprinted in Olarischen orogeny. The Delamerische orogeny about 500 million years ago also had an influence on the rock units, albeit far smaller one. The ore body of Broken Hill is located stratigraphically within the middle part of the Willyama Supergroup. It is a sedimentary - exhalative deposit, although the exact etiology is still controversial. It is the largest lead-zinc ore body in the world with approximately 280 million tons of ore order the deposit is about 10 times greater than the comparable deposit Rammelsberg near Goslar in Germany. Haupterzminerale are galena and sphalerite, but the ore also contains large amounts of garnet. The average ore grades are 2.5 to 15% lead, 5 to 20% zinc and from 20 to 300 g / t silver. The deposit Broken Hill is known for its abundance of different minerals, including many exceptional rarities.

Today's city

Today, the mining boom is over, the lead-silver -zinc sulfide but is still mined industrially in large quantities. Also formerly disused mines are again put into operation in order to reduce deeper ore reserves under the city. The city has asserted itself in solitude and is the gateway to the outback of New South Wales. There are numerous Desert National Parks and ghost towns such as Silverton In the wider area.

Street names

Striking in Broken Hill is that many streets the names of chemical elements or minerals carry, has grown up as a tribute to the raw materials, through the Broken Hill. Streets and roads have therefore names like " kaolin Street ", " Gypsum Street ", " Crystal Street" and " Silver Street " (see image ).

Lead exposure

In infants in Broken Hill elevated lead levels in blood were measured as a sign of chronic lead exposure. These are a result of exposure of lead dust as they were released during the degradation of leaded silver ore and. The absorption of lead by young children is oral, so by taking the lead dust through the mouth. Through a very conscientious sealing of houses and a professional cleaning lead dust exposure could be controlled in a closed living spaces. Outside accordance secure living spaces can be found in the dust still high concentrations of lead. The Health Authority of New South Wales has established a comprehensive program to control lead exposure of residents of Broken Hill. Instead of almost seem hopeless redevelopment of the entire site, is enhanced working towards a change in the behavior of the population. The aim is that only 5 % of 1-4 year-old a blood lead concentration of 15 ug / dl have.


Born here

  • June Bronhill, opera singer


Pictures of Broken Hill, New South Wales