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Broken Hill, NSW

Charles Rasp discovered silver at Broken Hill in 1883 and soon after created the leviathan Australian company Broken Hill Proprietary Limited (BHP). Rasp’s discovery initiated settlement at Broken Hill, where the population soon exceeded that of the nearby town of Silverton. Although Broken Hill is not associated with gold discovery, it is important, in a broad historical sense, to include it in the story of gold because of the key role it played in the economic, political, industrial and social formation of Australia throughout the twentieth century. Today Silverton is a ghost town while Broken Hill functions as a major regional centre. There are hopes that the current mineral resources surge, coupled with new mineral discoveries and extraction techniques, may lead to a new mining boom in Broken Hill. Widely known as the silver city, Broken Hill has extensive silver, lead and zinc deposits. It has also been a key centre for business and trade union activity within Australia.

Keir Reeves