Silverton was once the bustling home to over 3000 people. Many were miners, but there were blacksmiths, numerous hotels and breweries, printers, solicitors, surveyors, pharmacists, a hospital and everything else a thriving mining town needed, including a gaol and courthouse.
It all started in the 1860’s when Western NSW was opened up by graziers. Later on pioneers and prospectors came to scour the Barrier Ranges for mineral wealth. Silver and lead deposits were discovered and the township of Silverton was born. The township was surveyed in 1883 (with a population of 250) and proclaimed on March 20th 1885 when the population peaked at 3000. The Silverton Municipal Council was formed in October 1886, holding its inaugural meeting in January 1887 in the Silverton Municipal Chambers, which still stand today.
On January 12 1888, the Silverton Tramway Company opened for operation, linking the SA rail line to the newly found Broken Hill field, via Silverton. Repeated requests to the NSW government to lay the line were denied, so Australia’s first privately owned rail company was formed.
Silverton decreased following the large Strike in Broken Hill’s as the larger mine was established. The Silverton Municipal Council held its last meeting in 1889 and people left to find better fortunes in the Broken Hill mine. Building materials were scarce, so whole buildings were transported from Silverton to Broken Hill, loaded onto jinkers hauled by bullock teams, train, donkeys or camels teams, which brings us back to the size of Silverton today.
Locals have made very good use of what is still here and you would be well advised to visit every attraction we have on offer. Today, Silverton is managed by the Silverton Village Committee Inc. The Committee is made up of five members, three elected members from the community and one representative from the Department of Lands and one from the Department of Local Government. Most residents volunteer in one way or another within the community and together we keep things running pretty smoothly. There is so much more fascinating history to learn about and so much to enjoy.
Allow yourself a day or two to explore our amazing outback Village.