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Hidden Gems

Broken Hill's Unique Architecture; A Photo Essay


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

Broken Hill streetscape

1. Broken Hill’s streetscape comes alive at sunset.

Trades Hall

2. Some buildings are so grand, like the Trades Hall, they barely fit in a photograph!

Broken Hill Courthouse

3. If you wind up in the courthouse, at least you’ll have something nice to look at.

Sulphide St Railway and Historical Museum

4. The historic Railway Station (now a museum) would have made public transport less of a drag.

Sacred Heart Cathedral

5. Contemplate your maker after dark at Broken Hill’s imposing churches.

Magnificent Pubs and Hotels

Imperial Hotel

1. Many corner pubs have been reinstated as heritage accommodation, like the beautiful Imperial Hotel. Rumour has it this one even has a ghost…

Broken Hill

2. Now doesn’t this look like a sweet place to while away an afternoon?

Palace Hotel

3. Made famous by Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the enormous Palace Hotel is a Broken Hill icon.

Corner pub

4. Did we mention there are LOTS of corner pubs in Broken Hill?

Outback Lodge

5. Rest your weary head at a grand historic guesthouse like the Outback Lodge.

Astra Hotel

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  

Miners' Cottage

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.

Stately Manor

2. Of course, those with cash could afford more substantial building materials.

Miners' Cottage

3. There’s no shortage of personality when it comes to the cottages of Broken Hill.

Miners' Cottage

4. Rusty corrugated iron and crumbling bricks are two of the city’s most common architectural motifs.

Art deco cottage

5. The art deco period didn’t skip Broken Hill, thankfully.

Unique Commercial Buildings

Bells Milk Bar

1. Come for the history, stay for the famous drinks at Bells Milk Bar.

Corner store

2. Character-filled corner stores dot the wide residential streets.

Grand verandas

3. Grand verandas and extra wide footpaths speak of the ‘boom’ periods.

Sully's Hardware Store

4. Many former commercial buildings are now repurposed. Sully’s Hardware Store is now the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery.

Silver City Newsworld

5. Some businesses were more humble than others, but no less endearing.

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