So, you’ve found yourself in Silverton, ready to explore the wild, wild outback? Strap on your boots and prepare for an adventure because this ghost town has much to offer.
Located in the far west of New South Wales, Australia, Silverton’s a charming town (just 25km from Broken Hill) that’s as rich in history as it is in character. With only 50 people (you read that right, 50), you might think there’s not much to do, but you’d be wrong. This town is full of surprises and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
If you’re a fan of history, you’ll love Silverton. The town was established in 1880 and was once a booming mining town. Today, you can still see evidence of its mining past in the form of the old mines and mining equipment that are scattered throughout the town. It isn’t just about its mining history – the town has also played a starring role in many iconic Australian films, including Mad Max 2 and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Mundi Mundi Lookout
One of the most famous spots is Mundi Mundi Lookout. From here, you can see for miles and miles across the vast expanse of the Outback. It’s the perfect spot to take in a sunset or sunrise, or just to stand in awe of the sheer size of the landscape.
Day Dream Mine
If you’re feeling brave, why not take a trip down into the depths of Day Dream Mine? This abandoned silver mine is said to be haunted by the ghosts of miners passed. But don’t worry, they’re a friendly bunch – just watch out for the occasional bat.
The Barrier Range
The Barrier Range is another stunning natural feature. The range is home to various flora and fauna, and it’s a popular spot for bushwalking and hiking. As you explore, keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos, wallabies, and other wildlife.
The Silverton Cemetery is another fascinating spot to explore. The cemetery is the final resting place of many of the town’s early settlers, and the headstones provide a glimpse into the town’s past. Take a moment to pay your respects to those who came before.
Finally, if you’re looking for a spot to cool off on a hot day, head to Umberumberka Creek. It’s a popular spot for swimming and picnicking and a great place to escape the heat.
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The Artistic Scene
You might not expect a small outback town to be a hub of artistic creativity, but Silverton’s not your average outback town. With its stunning landscapes and unique character, it’s no wonder that artists and photographers have been drawn to this place for decades.
One of the must-visit places for art enthusiasts is the John Dynon Art Gallery. This little shed across from the Silverton Pub is where you can find the brush strokes of one of Australia’s top-selling artists and local resident, John Dynon. With his quirky and humorous take on outback life, his paintings are a must-see. And if you’re lucky, you might even get to meet the Mayor, Sheriff, and Town Drunk of Silverton (yes, they’re all the same person) who runs the gallery.
But the art scene isn’t limited to just one gallery. The town is home to various art galleries and studios showcasing the work of local and visiting artists. From traditional paintings to contemporary sculptures, there’s something for every taste. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of an artist at work.
Museums and Memorabilia
Mad Max Museum
First up is the Mad Max Museum. If you’re a fan of the Mad Max movies, you’ll love this museum. It’s filled with all sorts of memorabilia from the films, including vehicles, costumes, and props. Even if you’re not a fan of the movies, it’s still worth a visit just to see all the cool stuff on display.
Silverton Gaol Museum
Another museum worth checking out is the Silverton Gaol Museum. This museum is housed in the old Silverton Gaol, which was built way back in 1889. Inside, you’ll find all sorts of interesting exhibits and displays, including memorabilia from past institutions like the Silverton Tramway and recreational activities from women’s football to picture theatres.
Silverton Public School and Museum
If you’re interested in the history of education, you should definitely visit the Silverton Public School and Museum. This museum is housed in the old Silverton Public School, which was built in 1884. Inside, you’ll find all sorts of interesting exhibits and displays, including old school desks, textbooks, and other memorabilia.
If you’re looking for a bit of luxury, why not stay at the Silverton Hotel? They offer spacious rooms with a queen bed, two singles, and a trundle, so it’s perfect for families or groups of friends. Plus, they have heating and cooling, which is a godsend in the Australian Outback. And if you’re feeling peckish, you can always pop down to the hotel restaurant for a bite to eat.
If you’re more of a
Silverton Municipal Campground
But if you’re looking to return to nature, you can’t go wrong with
Silverton Outback Camels
We stayed at Silverton Outback Camels this year during our trip to The Mundi Mundi Bash, and mate, it was a memorable experience that I’d definitely recommend. Not only are the hosts welcoming and accommodating, but the animals are simply incredible. They offer a homestead you can book, or alternatively, you can camp on their farm, and the hospitality is 10/10.
Food and Drink
The Silverton Hotel is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a good time. Not only do they serve up great pub grub, but the memorabilia on display will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Plus, the accommodation is top-notch if you decide to enjoy a couple of beverages and stay overnight.
If you’re looking for a quick bite, the Silverton Bakery is the place to go. Their homemade sausage rolls are a fan favourite, and the range of cakes and pies will satisfy any sweet tooth. My recommendation: the lemon cheesecake tart!
Silverton’s Rich History
Originally called Umberumberka and was renamed Silverton in 1883 – its population quickly shot up to around 3000 people at its peak. This New South Wales town had its own Municipal Council, and businesses lined the main street.
The once thriving mining town was established in the 1880s, during a time when the Barrier Ranges were buzzing with exploration and prospecting activity. It was strategically located in a central, flat position with a water supply, which made it perfect for mining. Back in the day, Silverton was home to some of the richest silver mines in the world, just like its big brother, Broken Hill.
The town’s most famous mine, the Umberumberka, produced over 3 million ounces of silver in its lifetime. That’s enough silver to make over 15 million silver spoons! And if that’s not impressive enough, the mine also produced over 40,000 ounces of gold.
But mining in was no easy feat. The mines were deep, dark, and dangerous, with miners working long hours in cramped conditions. The work was tough, and the pay was low, but the lure of striking it rich kept miners returning for more.
Despite the hardships, the mining industry in thrived for several decades, with the town becoming one of the most important mining centres in the world. Today, the town’s mining legacy lives on, with several historic mines and mining sites open to visitors.
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Mad Max 2
If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic movies, you’ve probably heard of Mad Max 2. The movie was filmed in and around Silverton, and the town’s abandoned buildings and desert landscape provided the perfect backdrop for the movie’s dystopian setting.
A Town Like Alice
A Town Like Alice is a classic novel by Nevil Shute, and it was also made into a movie and a TV mini-series. The story is about a young Englishwoman who is taken prisoner by the Japanese during World War II and eventually ends up in Alice Springs. While most of the story takes place in Alice Springs, the town of Silverton’s mentioned in passing as one of the stops on the woman’s journey.
The towns, rugged landscape and abandoned buildings perfectly set the tense atmosphere required for filming the 1983 Australian movie, Hostage. The movie is about a group of criminals who take a family hostage in their own home.
Journey into Darkness
Journey into Darkness is a true crime book by John Egan, and it tells the story of the kidnapping and murder of a young woman in Broken Hill. While most of the story takes place in Broken Hill, Silverton’s mentioned as one of the locations where the kidnappers and their victims travelled.
The Craic is a 1999 Australian comedy movie that was partly filmed in in this iconic town. The movie is about an Irishman who travels to Australia to find his long-lost son. Silverton’s unique landscape and quirky buildings perfectly set the movie’s humorous tone.
Golden Soak is a novel by Hammond Innes, and it is set in the fictional town of Karra in Western Australia. While not specifically mentioned by name in the book, the town’s rugged landscape and mining history are similar to the novel’s setting.
So, you want to know about the population of Silverton? Well, let me tell you, it’s not exactly a bustling metropolis. According to the 2016 census, it had a population of 50 people. Yes, you read that right, 50. That’s about the same number of people that can fit in a small movie theatre.
But don’t let that fool you, Silverton has some character. It’s a small town with a big history. It was founded after the discovery of rich silver deposits, and at one point had a population of 3,000 people. That’s like a whole mini-city compared to the current population.
Silverton’s population may be small, but it’s a tight-knit community. And let’s be real, it’s not like you’re going to be fighting for elbow room at the local pub. In fact, the pub might be the only place you’ll find anyone to talk to. Joking. We found plenty of amazing locals to have a yarn with on our visit.
Don’t let this stat leave you scared that you’ll be out in the middle of nowhere, with no services…nearby Broken Hill has a population of more than 17,000, and has every service/shop you could ever need while visiting.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the deal with Silverton, the town that’s so small you could blink and miss it?
Well, Silverton may be small, but it’s mighty! This little town has a lot of character and charm packed into its tiny streets. From the Mad Max Museum to the Mundi Mundi Lookout, there’s plenty to see and do in Silverton.
What do you get when you cross the Silverton Wind Farm with a kangaroo? A wind-hopper!
Okay, okay, we know that’s a bad joke. But the Silverton Wind Farm is actually a pretty amazing sight to see. With its towering wind turbines and sweeping views of the Outback, it’s definitely worth a visit.
How many dips does it take to get from Broken Hill to Silverton? Only the bravest travellers know the answer to this one!
Ok, yes, there are a few dips in the road in the road to Broken Hill. It’s actually became a game for our kids every time we drive to Broken Hill. But with stunning scenery and plenty of wildlife to spot along the way, it’s a journey you won’t soon forget (dips and all).