The ghosts of mining towns that died when the precious minerals ran out are scattered all over Australia. BROKEN HILL, on the other hand, has been riding the minerals market roller-coaster continuously since 1888. Its famous "Line of Lode", one of the world's major lead-silver-zinc ore bodies and the city's raison d'être, still has a little life left in it yet.
The surprisingly gracious Outback town – with a population of around 21,000 and a feel and architecture reminiscent of the South Australian capital – manages to create a welcome splash of green in the harsh desert landscape that surrounds it.
Inevitably, Broken Hill revolves around the mines, but since the 1970s it has also evolved into a thriving arts centre, thanks to the initiative of the Brushmen of the Bush, a painting school comprising local artists. Diverse talents have been attracted to Broken Hill, and their works are displayed in galleries scattered all over town. You'll get a pretty good feel for Broken Hill just strolling along broad Argent Street with its grand edifices. The two finest buildings, both from the early 1890s, are near the junction with Chloride Street. The brick Post Office, with its large square tower and double-height veranda, still fulfils its original function, while the former Town Hall is possibly the finest building on the street, done in South Australian Italianate style.
The city is also a convenient base for touring far-northwest New South Wales and nearby areas in South Australia.