The Fascinating ‘Ghost Town’ of Silverton

Part One (probably)

The welcome sign says it all…

Quick History…

The small town of Silverton lies just 24km northwest of Broken Hill. It was the original ‘Silver Town’ when deposits were discovered back in 1881. By 1885 the town’s population peaked at around 3000. As the silver and other metal ores quickly became exhausted, and huge metal deposits were discovered in Broken Hill, Silverton declined as fast as it grew.  By 1888 the town’s population was down to 1700 and by 1901 it was 286.

Now only about 40 people live in Silverton and it survives as a thriving tourist village with a mix of old historic buildings and modern art galleries – But still with the odd functioning business…

The Silverton Hotel.

When people talk about “iconic” places and buildings in Australia they always mention the  likes of the opera house in Sydney.  As I have said before I don’t like that word “iconic” but as far as I am concerned you can forget the opera house and the harbour bridge. For me this is what it’s all about. The Silverton Hotel. This place is truly iconic!

A True Icon. The Silverton Hotel

The one problem is that people park their bloody cars right in front of it so getting a clean shot is hard work at this time of day. Maybe they should keep the front of the hotel clear of cars? Yeah; that would be a good idea…

The bar inside the Silverton Hotel
The stage at the rear of the hotel.
The outside bar

The Silverton Hotel is the last remaining watering hole in the town which once boasted ten hotels/pubs and three breweries. This place has appeared in many movies and commercials. here is a sample of those… A list that will surely keep growing…

Self explanatory…

Here’s something else the bar is famous for. All the jokes, quips and funny comments people have written and hung from the ceiling. Here are a few examples…

There are plenty of anecdotal jokes hanging from the ceiling.
More joke signs…
Dani spotted this one and thought it was hilarious. One of the better ones for sure.

Then there was this one. I have no idea what it means. Not even a clue. Probably an old one that I should know… Does anyone know? If you do know, please share and leave a comment so we can all get it.

Does anyone know what this one means?

History and Old Buildings

There are still plenty of great examples of the history of the place dotted about the old town. At its height this place was a thriving business centre. It once had a stock exchange, four banks, a school, newspaper offices, post office and hospital as well as the aforementioned hotels and breweries. With all the activity and transient miners they also needed a courthouse; and of course a Gaol. The old Gaol is now also the town’s museum and most of the old cells house exhibits. You can easily spend  a full day in here but with a restless six year old? That’s a different story…

The Old Silverton Gaol
Inside the old Gaol / Museum
The old prison toilets
Prison Barber’s shop
Former cells now house exhibits
The one remaining example of a prisoner’s cell
View from behind the old Gaol

More historic buildings

Here are some more examples of the old town’s historic past.

Gaol Museum entrance
Silverton Municipal Chambers
A classic old Silverton house
Old remains are dotted all over the landscape

Many of the houses were literally moved; relocated to Broken Hill by their owners. Hence you do not see an old deserted town full of derelict buildings, but you do see many empty lots.

Former streets now totally empty.
More empty space where houses once stood

The town now boasts plenty of art galleries. We only went in a few but just as in Broken Hill you could easily spend days just checking out the art.

Some old buildings have been given a new lease of life
The artwork extends in to the streets in the form of old classic cars
A curious exhibit in front of one of the many art galleries
Butchers shop
An old house remains in use

Part Two Needed… Maybe More

OK. I know this place is now almost deserted and not many people live and work here. But it is so interesting and we took so many photos that I just want to share it all. So definitely more posts are required….

Part Two will follow soon… then probably Part Three also. Yeah! Why not?

By the way: This place still offers accommodation. If I come back to this part of the world this would be my preference as a place to stay.

Leave a Reply