Broken Hill is the first Heritage-Listed city in Australia, but what makes it so special?
In January, 2015, it was announced that the entire city of Broken Hill would be added to the National Heritage List – an Australian first. But the main question on everyone’s lips was, why Broken Hill? Aren’t there lots of important heritage towns and cities around Australia?
And the answer is yes, of course, there are lots of towns that could tick off one or two of the many criteria for inclusion on the National Heritage List. But Broken Hill nailed the brief, meeting all but one of the criteria with ease.
Here are the 10 reasons Broken Hill was Heritage-Listed?
1. A RAINFOREST IN THE DESERT
Broken Hill is a ‘mineralogical rainforest’, comprising close to 300 mineral varieties that tell the story of 2.3 billion years of the earth’s history. It’s home to a rare volume of minerals and one of the world’s richest deposits of silver/lead/zinc
2. ECONOMIC SUCCESS
Mining in Broken Hill was vital to the development of the nation, moving Australia into an industrial, economic powerhouse and one of the world’s biggest resource suppliers
3. WORKERS’ RIGHTS & SAFETY
Broken Hill helped shaped modern Australian society thanks to early workers fighting for their rights and safety. Broken Hill even created the eight-hour working day – it’s no wonder this city is so well loved!
4. INVALUABLE SOURCE OF INFORMATION
Broken Hill’s rich and formative mining history, its stories and anecdotes regarding protests and union action and its natural geological significance make it an invaluable source of information and research relevant to Australia’s understanding of itself
5. THE BROADER MINING STORY
The quintessential mining town, Broken Hill represents the boom and bust nature of mining communities across Australia. A ‘living museum’, our city tells the broader story of our nation’s mining heritage
6. AN OASIS IN THE DESERT
Aesthetically unique, Broken Hill combines grand, boom-era buildings with ramshackle miners’ huts quite literally in the shadow of the Line of Lode and mining relics. All of this within the uniquely beautiful, sprawling Australian Outback. Aesthetically, Broken Hill is unlike anywhere else in the country
7. TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
The birthplace of revolutionary mining innovations that became standard throughout the world, Broken Hill has long been a place of brilliant minds and groundbreaking technology – quite literally!
8. CONTRIBUTION TO THE ARTS
Thanks to its unique aesthetic and outback landscape, Broken Hill has produced some of Australia’s greatest artists and inspired photographers and filmmakers the world over. From the Brushmen of the Bush to Priscilla, the city’s representation in the arts has been staggering.
9. AUSTRALIAN HEROES
Broken Hill has produced some of the greatest minds in Australian history. From the Lode’s discoverer Charles Rasp to engineer and metallurgist GD Delprat, union organisers Percy Brookfield and Eugene O'Neill, environmentalist Albert Morris and artist Pro Hart, the city has made far more than its share of contributions to the list of Aussie legends.
10. A SPIRITED BUNCH
Lastly, the people of Broken Hill – past and present – earned the city its Heritage Listing. They were recognized for their unique and enduring sense of community, and their self-sufficiency and resilience in the face of a harsh outback location. So what are you waiting for? Now’s the time to visit Australia’s first Heritage-Listed city!