Broken Hill has been recognised as Australia’s first heritage listed city, having been listed on the National Heritage List alongside the Australian War Memorial, the Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef.
This listing was in recognition of the city’s significant mining history and contribution to the Australian and International mining and resources industry. The listing also recognises Broken Hill’s contribution to industrial relations, with many conditions of employment, including workplace safety originating from Broken Hill. Add to the mix, our innovation, our people, our landscapes and all contribute to the celebration of our heritage.
Perhaps the greatest challenge of our rich mining history is the population decline that has ensued from the peak of over 35,000 people in the 1950’s.
The effects of this mining decline have placed pressure on economic prosperity and job creation. Indigenous populations are increasing, the population is aging and it is hard to attract and retain young people and families.
A smaller population can be just as vibrant, however it comes with its challenges. The need to diversify our economy and the need to address the changes in affordability of our public infrastructure base are both two key challenges for our city.
With what was once the world’s largest ore body slowly coming to the end of its mining life, the population has had to rely on other means of employment to stimulate its economy.
Since the 70’s and 80’s Broken Hill has become increasingly recognised by government, businesses and tourists as being integral to the Outback New South Wales tourism region and it is known for delivering a range of attractions and experiences, linked to mining, heritage, culture and the provision of authentic visitor accommodation.
The city welcomes over 150,000 tourists every year. Our recent Heritage Listing is expected to expand these numbers further.
Broken Hill boasts some fantastic Cultural Facilites including the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery which is the oldest regional art gallery in New South Wales. It was established in 1904 following the bequest of three major artworks by Mr George McCulloch, one of the founders of Broken Hill Propriety Limited (BHP). The bequest included Lynmouth, North Devon, 1867 by James Webb, After the Bath, 1890, by Harriette Sutcliffe and Memories, 1891 by John William Godward RBA.
The Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery provides an annual program of locally curated exhibitions along with touring exhibitions from major cultural institutions. A selection of works from the collection is on permanent display in the upstairs gallery. The annual program endeavours to include work by established and emerging Aboriginal artists from around the Far West region of New South Wales.
The Gallery is housed in the historic Sully’s Emporium. Operating from 1885 – 1985, Sully’s Emporium was the longest surviving commercial business in Broken Hill providing much of the heavy machinery and equipment for the development and exploration of Broken Hill’s mineral fields.
The Albert Kersten Mineral and Mining Museum in the old Bond Store building (1893) located at the corner of Bromide and Crystal Streets, this geological science museum boasts a 42kg silver nugget, large mineral collection and is home to the Silver Tree. The interpretive centre's hand-on displays highlight the history of the planet and the science of crystals.
At the Ablert Kersten Mining and Minerals Museum you explore all aspects of Broken Hill's unique geology, as well as the earth sciences of mineralogy and metallurgy. We show you the impact these sciences have had in Australia. Our displays bring to like the story of Broken Hill's geology, from its formation eons ago to its transformation into a mining an industrial centre of significance, not only to Australia but to the world.