Sunday, December 16

Burra

We had passed through Burra on occasions, and stopped for short periods to visit my cousin, but time never permitted further exploration of this old mining town.  The story is that in 1845 when South Australia was in financial difficulties, copper was found at Kapunda and Burra,  and the fortunes of the state improved.

At one stage after copper was found the population of the area was greater than Adelaide and Perth combined, some 5000 people.

Today, Burra is in the midst of a vast agricultural area - claiming the title of the Merino Capital of Australia, with many of its historic buildings revitalised and part of a booming tourist area.  The first place to go is the Burra Visitor Information Centre, where one gets a 'passport' and a key (after paying a deposit) to open gates and explore the open cut mine site, and various buildings around the town.


In summer the area is surrounded by fields of "gold"  as the wheat and other grain crops mature and harvesting starts.  As I drove through the area there was much harvesting action.

With a map and booklet of information one can self-drive around the town, checking out the various places that are steeped in history.  The open cut mine is a picture with the green of the water that now collects in the bottom of the mine.
The open cut mine with the lake below.

Mines and their families created living quarters in the creek - but sadly after heavy rains the area flooded,  and they moved to safer areas.  These dugouts have certainly stood the 'test of time'.

There are some 49 places of interest around Burra, which includes the mines and museums, accommodation, hotels, government buildings including the gaol and court house, post office, and a raft of other places that remind us of the difficulties of living in this town in the mid 1800's.

In the time I spent there I was pleased to visit so many of these places, but I have not seen all, and perhaps I will go back to continue to discover more of the history.  I must say the restoration work and the way it is all presented is awesome.  One get's a "passport" with a key, and information booklet and can visit many of these places in one's own time, though some have guided walks, and volunteers who can give further information.

The gaol is particularly interesting as some of the film Breaker Morant was filmed there.  It is hard to believe that it was so long ago that the film was created - as Burra celebrated 30 years since the film was made, in 2009.  Read about it here.   Now I have visited Burra and seen more of it I will have to see the movie again.  The film was shot mostly around Burra - which of course lends itself very much to stories about that the 1800's and early 1900's.  There is more information about the filming here at Wilkipedia.


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