Into the Outback
Broken Hill Travel Blog› entry 132 of 254 › view all entries
Yesterday we got on the bus to Broken Hill. It was a 300km journey and once we had left Wentworth (a small town not far from Mildura) there was a noticeable change of scenery. It was a lot greener than we expected, but that unmistakable red earth still showed through. A storm had followed us from Mildura, and we were surrounded by deep grey clouds, lit up with flashes of fork lightening, making the landscape seem even more dramatic. The land was so flat that the sky just seemed vast; most of the time we don't really appreciate it living in urban areas. We stopped for a quick break at a place called Coombah, the only sign of human activity on the whole of the 300km stretch of road.
Today we awoke with the rain. Now bearing in mind that Australia is in its 6th year of drought, this was surprising to say the least - obviously the storm from yesterday had not fully cleared.
The origins of Broken Hill go back to 1883, when boundary rider Charles Rasp pegged out a 40 acre lease of a "broken hill" that he believed contained tin. Little did he know that it contained the largest single source of lead, silver and zinc ore ever discovered on earth, 7.5km long by 250 wide - known as the "Line of Lode." It is thought to have originally contained more than 300million tons of ore; these days there are only 700 miners left, working on the southern and northern tips of the line. Estimates reckon on another 10 years of mining, and after that the town's future is uncertain. Compared to other outback mining towns it is doing well but still the population (23,000) continues to gradually decrease, as does the towns pubs - down from 70 - 20!