Australia’s first Heritage Listed city is a wonderful mishmash of architectural styles that tell the story of this unique Outback oasis.
Visitors to Broken Hill are quick to remark on the city’s unique appearance. In the shadow of the Line of Lode – the almighty mound of churned earth signifying the mine – the main street is a visual feast of grand boom-era buildings, the laneways a quirky mishmash of corrugated iron and weathered bricks and the wide residential streets eclectically lined with ramshackle miners’ cottages and the odd stately manor. It’s a marriage of architectural styles unlike anywhere else, and it helped earn Broken Hill its National Heritage status.
Drawing from the distinct styles of three capital cities, Broken Hill’s built landscape serves as a tangible reminder of its rich history. As you drive the streets you pass residential buildings reminiscent of Adelaide, government buildings in the style of colonial Sydney and commercial buildings inspired by Melbourne’s Victorian architectural period.
A ‘living museum’ in every sense, Broken Hill’s built environment helps keep the city’s history alive and endears it to travellers, artists, filmmakers and photographers alike. We’ve compiled this photo essay as a teaser for the eclectic built environment you’ll experience when visiting Broken Hill.
Grand Government Buildings
1. Broken Hill’s streetscape comes alive at sunset.
2. Some buildings are so grand, like the Trades Hall, they barely fit in a photograph!
3. If you wind up in the courthouse, at least you’ll have something nice to look at.
4. The historic Railway Station (now a museum) would have made public transport less of a drag.
5. Contemplate your maker after dark at Broken Hill’s imposing churches.
Magnificent Pubs and Hotels
1. Many corner pubs have been reinstated as heritage accommodation, like the beautiful Imperial Hotel. Rumour has it this one even has a ghost…
2. Now doesn’t this look like a sweet place to while away an afternoon?
3. Made famous by Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the enormous Palace Hotel is a Broken Hill icon.
4. Did we mention there are LOTS of corner pubs in Broken Hill?
5. Rest your weary head at a grand historic guesthouse like the Outback Lodge.
6. You’ll be howling at the moon if you spend too much time at the bar of the magnificent Astra Hotel.
Humble Miners’ Cottages and Stately Manors
1. Cheap and light to transport by horse and cart from Adelaide, corrugated iron was one of the primary residential building materials in Broken Hill.
2. Of course, those with cash could afford more substantial building materials.
3. There’s no shortage of personality when it comes to the cottages of Broken Hill.
4. Rusty corrugated iron and crumbling bricks are two of the city’s most common architectural motifs.
5. The art deco period didn’t skip Broken Hill, thankfully.
Unique Commercial Buildings
1. Come for the history, stay for the famous drinks at Bells Milk Bar.
2. Character-filled corner stores dot the wide residential streets.
3. Grand verandas and extra wide footpaths speak of the ‘boom’ periods.
4. Many former commercial buildings are now repurposed. Sully’s Hardware Store is now the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery.
5. Some businesses were more humble than others, but no less endearing.