Broken Hill is a city situated in the far west of New South Wales, surrounded by vast arid plains.
Often described as an oasis in the desert, Broken Hill has been built on the back of a mining boom that began during the 1880s due to the discovery of rich deposits of lead, silver and zinc. Mining has prospered ever since, although this has scaled back in recent decades due to the depletion of mineral reserves.
Tourism has developed into a major industry in Broken Hill, with tours of several underground mines available for visitors. There is a visitor centre and lookout over the city perched on top of the Line of Lode mines on the southern side of the railway. Broken Hill has developed into an important regional art centre with a collection of galleries and outdoor parks with stone sculptures.
The commercial centre of Broken Hill is located along Argent Street which is lined with grand buildings and historic shop fronts. Many streets radiating out from the town centre have been named after things related to the mining industry.
In complete contrast to the desert-like landscape surrounding Broken Hill, there are several attractive parks and gardens within the city.
24 kilometres north-west of Broken Hill is Silverton which is almost a ghost town these days. Originally a thriving mining centre during the 1880s, the town quickly declined at the end of that century due to the rapid depletion of minerals and the huge deposits discovered at nearby Broken Hill. Along with the residents also went most of the houses, transported to Broken Hill. These days, Silverton is a popular tourist destination with a number of historic buildings remaining, the most famous being the Silverton Hotel built in 1885. Due to its remaining historic buildings and desert surroundings, Silverton has been used as the scene for a large number of movies and advertisements over the years.
Due to the fact Broken Hill is just 48 kilometres from the state border with South Australia, the city maintains a much stronger affiliation with the South Australian capital of Adelaide (which is just over 500 kilometres away) than the New South Wales capital of Sydney (over 1,110 kilometres away). The area around Broken Hill also follows the time zone used in South Australia rather than New South Wales.
The nearest city to Broken Hill is Mildura, located just under 300 kilometres south, in Victoria.
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