Discover Silverton, a living, breathing part of Australia’s history. Even people who have never been there will recognise it, as Silverton has starred in countless films, television shows and commercials in all mediums.
Nestled in the Far West outback of New South Wales, Silverton was built by miners in search of fortune. Once a bustling home to 3,000 people, residents began to leave in the 1880s when the nearby mines of Broken Hill surfaced. Many took their houses with them. These days less than 50 people call Silverton home and only a handful of buildings dot the landscape.
The town’s smaller size has not slowed it down however.
Silverton offers a thriving art scene, a beautiful landscape and an accessible way to learn about the rich heritage of the region. In June the average temperature is 15 degrees Celsius. In February it is 32 degrees celsius. About 190mm of rain falls each year.
Silverton is located 25 kilometres north west of Broken Hill (31o52’S, 141o14’E) on the Silverton Common, a 12,0000 acre Crown Reserve. It is accessible via sealed road. The Silverton Common has existed for 114 years.
It surrounds the town of Silverton and is set in a semi-arid zone. The Crown Reserve is administered by the NSW Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources. Stock may roam freely on the common, although there are few animals present today. Silverton’s stock owners pay quarterly fees for its use and the money raised is used to maintain and improve the area.
The Common is located in the Unincorporated Area of NSW, which is not managed or governed by a local council. The unincorporated area surrounds but does not include Broken Hill and covers 93,000 square kilometres.
Many people think of Silverton as a ‘ghost town’; nothing could be farther from the truth. Although few buildings remain, those that stand in Silverton reveal a vivid look at NSW’s pioneers and a life lived on the land. Breathtaking views, amazing art, slices of the past and the odd beer all await discovery.
Located about five kilometres West of Silverton, the Mundi Mundi Plains is a truly breathtaking place. Looking out onto the expansive Mundi Mundi Plains, it’s a perfect spot to take in a sunset or picnic. The view must be seen to be believed. The wide, flat heart of the Australian outback extends seemingly forever. On a clear day the curvature of the earth can be seen. Of course, a lot of people have seen the area yet may not realise it, spotlighted as it was in the famous crash scene of Mad Max 2. Sharp-eyed explorers can even find old sets from the movie smattered around.
The 42-acre cemetery is a sombre reminder of the harsh lives lived in Silverton’s early years. Mining accidents were tragically common. Isolation meant that fresh water, fruit, vegetables and sanitation was often in short supply. Typhoid was a constant part of life that took many children. The Silverton Historical Cemetery is a final resting place for some of the region’ Fenced in 1888, today the cemetery is a historical site and cannot be disturbed.
Located nine kilometres West of Silverton, Umberumberka Reservoir continues to operate to this day. Open from 8.30am until 3.30pm every day, visitors can inspect the pumping station, view the reservoir and enjoy the picnic sites and gardens. Water was in short supply in Silverton’s early days. Locals relied on household tanks, wells and nearby Umberumberka Creek for a drink. There was never a lot of rain. While a flood in the creek did something to ease the problem in 1884, as did a public standpipe erected in the centre of town, Silverton was always dry place. These days the reservoir is a standby facility, adding to Broken Hill’s main water supply.
The Daydream Mine is located northwest of Silverton and about 20 kilometres outside of Broken Hill. Established in 1882, the mine attracted a sizeable settlement which, while short-lived, boasted 500-odd residents at its peak, as well as the district’s first smelters. These days, visitors are invited to walk into the mine – and history. Tours take about an hour, and sturdy shoes are recommended. Bookings can be made at the Broken Hill Visitor Centre or you can simply turn up between 10am and 3.30pm any day of the week.
Take a scenic walk on Silverton’s Heritage Walking Trail. It takes around 2 hours walking time taking in all of Silverton’s sights and buildings, you will walk through a railroad cutting and also see the Mundi Mundi (Mad max Lookout). No dogs are allowed on the trail, and it is recommend that you carry water as it can can get quite warm.
As the population of Silverton grew, so did the local school. Reading , writing and arithmetic were first handled out of a tent, which was pitched in 1884. A single-roomed, timber and iron building was built in 1887, housing 140 pupils and two teachers. The building that stands now was built in 1888. The Silverton Public School was closed in 1970. and reopend as a Museum in June 2009.
The Mad Max Museum was opened in September 2010, and Adrian has been working around the clock to ensure the museum meets his standards. He is openly excited about getting people through the doors to share his passion and has plans to continually grow the museum so that there is always something new and exciting to see.
Step back in time at the Silverton Gaol and Historical Museum. Virtually every aspect of life in Silverton’s heyday is represented, with literally thousands of items on display. Tools of the trades of mining, transport, entertainment, technology, food, religion, sport, education and medicine are accompanied by a range of photographs, painting a vivid picture of Silverton’s early years. The unique surrounds of the gaol building, erected in 1889, heighten the effect.
The Silverton Hotel is undoubtedly the heart and soul of the town. Sitting in the centre of Silverton, the pub has maintained its laid-back country lifestyle even as it has flourished into one of the most filmed and photographed Hotels in the country. The Hotel boasts 7 units built in 2014, all having their own en-suites, reverse cycle air-condition and can sleep up to 5 guests.