Tourists are fortunate to have interesting historical sites to visit in the region.  Both Burra and Booborowie have historic walking trails and we encourage you to do both.

 

In 1845 with the discovery of copper near the Burra Burra Creek, the first company owned mining town in Australia, Kooringa rapidly grew to be Australia’s largest inland town by 1851. The ‘Monster Mine,’ as this mine became known, was the largest metal producing mine in Australia up until 1860. It had a large influence on the economy of the struggling colony of South Australia, producing about 50,000 tonnes of copper metal between 1845 and 1877, when the South Australian Mining Association’s operations ceased.

Burra has survived as one of Australia’s significant historic towns because of its magnificent collection of historic buildings that give an insight into the life and times of Australia’s early settlement.

Whilst Burra’s story starts with a mine, and this is part of its history, you will see that it is more than that. Like most country towns it has suffered from adversity as well as enjoying good times. Over time it has evolved into an important rural centre servicing the surrounding agricultural and pastoral holdings and more recently a tourist attraction because of its rich history.

In 1993 the township of Burra was placed on the State Heritage Register as a significant historical site, being one of the best preserved mining towns in the state.

Burra is really a collection of townships each with its own story. These townships and their establishment dates are as follows:

Kooringa (1846), Redruth (1847), Aberdeen (1849), Llwchwr (1849), Hampton (1857), Copperhouse (1858), Lostwhithiel (1858), New Aberdeen (1872) and Graham (1875). In 1940 the name of Burra was officially adopted to include Aberdeen, New Aberdeen, Kooringa, Llwchwr, Redruth and Graham. Burra North is often used for the townships of Redruth, Aberdeen and New Aberdeen.

 

THE BURRA HERITAGE PASSPORT

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The Burra Heritage Passport system of a key and guide book enables visitors to explore and discover sites of historical significance at their leisure.

The Passport, which is available seven days a week from the Visitor Centre, includes free entry to Burra’s three museums during their opening hours and a comprehensive guide book detailing more than 40 historic sites over an 11 km driving trail.

Visitors may keep the passport key for the duration of their stay in Burra, to allow time to enjoy the sites and learn about Burra’s wonderful past.

The Passport is great value for money, with discounts given for concession card holders, seniors and National Trust members. School age children are FREE !

Visit  www.visitburra.com/ for further information.

The trail begins at the Burra Town Hall in Market Street and is a circuit of 11 kilometres that is generally completed in two to three hours. Extra time should be allowed for tours through museums. Before leaving on the Trail, visit the Burra Visitor Centre to obtain the opening times of the town’s museums.

  • The Number 16 Trail signs provide directions around the trail.

  • The arrow points you in the direction you need to head next.

 Historic sites along the trail include:

 

 

NATIONAL TRUST MEMBERSHIP

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The Burra Burra Branch of the National Trust of South Australia welcomes you to the Heritage Listed town of Burra.

The National Trust is the largest heritage and conservation organisation in Australia and the Burra Branch has over forty years of volunteer involvement in Burra’s heritage and tourism.

By travelling the Heritage Trail you have made a contribution to the Trust in Burra. If you would like to be more involved in conserving this unique town you can do so by becoming a member of the National Trust of South Australia or by making a donation. 

Donations can be sent to:-

National Trust

Box 97

Burra  SA  5417

‘The future of our past is up to you’

 

 

Historic Burra Mine Site

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Historic Burra Mine Site

This open air area contains extensive remains of the mining operations.

Walking trails with interpretive signs have been provided for public viewing. Explore the area at your leisure.

 

 

Ore Dressing Tower and Ore Floor  1870

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Ore Dressing Tower

The Dressing Tower was erected in 1870 to treat ore from the open-cut workings.

Nearby are the remains of the crusher engine-house that provided power to the Dressing Tower and haulage engine.

 

Morphett's Enginehouse Museum  1858

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Morphett's Enginehouse Museum

This museum allows access to the restored Morphett’s Pumping Enginehouse, the ruins of Graves’ Enginehouse (1877), Mine Offices (1850), Morphett’s Pool (1858), Morphett’s Winding House(1861) and Captain Roach’s headstone.

This engine house was built in 1858 by the stonemasons Paynter and Harris for an 80 inch diameter Cornish atmospheric beam engine. It commenced pumping in 1860 and ceased in 1877. The engine was removed for scrap in 1916.

The enginehouse and shaft timbers were destroyed by fire in 1925 when youths were smoking out rabbits from the disused building.

In 1986, as a Jubilee 150 project, the enginehouse was reconstructed and the shaft retimbered. It is now a museum housing an interpretive display on Cornish beam engines. Morphett’s Winding House, erected in 1861, can be seen close by.

Visit www.visitburra.com for the Museum’s opening times. A National Trust guide is in attendance.

 

 

Mine Lookout

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Mine Lookout

From 1845 until 1867 the Burra Mine was an underground mine worked to a maximum depth of 90 fathoms (165 metres).

From 1870 until its closure in 1877 it was worked as an open-cut mine. However exploratory work continued in Morphett’s Shaft reaching a depth of 183 metres in 1877.

Between 1845 and 1877 it produced 50,000 tonnes of copper metal.

From this lookout you get a panoramic view of the mine showing the extent of the ore body and the level of the groundwater encountered by miners and also a fine view over Burra North.

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Open-cut Lookout

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Open-cut Lookout

Between 1971 and 1981 the modern open-cut operation worked to a depth of 100 metres with concentrate producing about 24,000 tonnes of copper metal.

The low grade ore was converted to copper oxide that was used in timber preservatives and chemical fertilizers.

The groundwater has returned to its natural level of 50 metres deep in the mine pit.

The greenish colour of the water, which changes in intensity throughout the year, is not due to copper content but to a light scattering effect, caused by temperature changes in the water.

 

Peacock's Chimney  Resited 1971

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Peacock's Chimney

This chimney standing at the entrance to the Burra Mine site, is a reconstruction of the original chimney for Peacock’s Winding Enginehouse built in 1857.

Named after William Peacock, a director of the South Australian Mining Association, SAMA, the winding engine hauled from several shafts in the mine and was the longest serving engine at the mine. In 1971 when the engine house was removed to make way for the modern open-cut mining operation, this flue was dismantled and rebuilt on this site by the National Trust.

The figure at the top of the chimney is Johnny Green, the mascot of the Burra miners. Originally made of wood it stood atop Roach’s Pumphouse until 1855. It was replaced with one of sheet-iron at the top of the shears above Morphett’s shaft in 1858.

When fire destroyed the timbers of Morphett’s Enginehouse and shaft, in 1925 ‘Johnny’ was found amongst the ashes and placed on a pole at the mine entrance, until 1967 when vandals cut him down. A third ‘Johnny Green’ was made and placed here in 1972.

 

Mine Stores and Storeman's Residence  1847

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Mine Store, Storeman's residence and Mine Bridge

This building is now a private residence. It was erected in 1847 at the entrance to the Burra Mine and is one of the oldest remaining mine buildings in Australia.

It comprised offices, stores and storeman’s residence adjoining a spacious yard surrounded by a high wall. It was a depot for building timber, iron and mining machinery.

 

Powder Magazine  1847

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Powder Magazine

The Passport key is needed for entry

Erected in 1847 this building is one of the oldest remaining mine buildings in Australia. It was used to store gunpowder for blasting of the ore from the rock faces of the mine. It is constructed well away from the mine workings, with an arched stone roof for added strength in case of an explosion. It was restored by the National Trust in 1976.

THE TOWN LOOKOUT

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Town Lookout

From the town lookout this is a general view of the town ship of Burra, the white roof in the centre is St Joseph’s Catholic Church

Redruth Gaol  1856

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Redruth Gaol

A passport key will be required for entry

Erected in 1856 it was the first gaol in SA outside of Adelaide. It provided for thirty prisoners, male and female.

When the gaol closed in 1897, the prisoners were transferred to Gladstone Gaol.

The gaol was renovated and opened as a Girls’ Reformatory in 1897 and closed in 1922. It is now in the care of the National Trust.

Miners' Dugouts  1850

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Miners' dugouts

You will need a passport key for entry to this site.

With a rapid influx of miners to the mine in the mid 1840s there was an acute shortage of housing in the newly laid out company township of Kooringa. The miners provided their own housing by digging into the soft clay banks of the Burra Creek. The first of these creek dwellings being dug in 1846. They were favoured by the miners, being rent free and close to water.

In 1851 about 1,800 people in a total population of 4,400 lived in nearly 600 of these dugouts. In 1851, three floods devastated ‘Creek Street’ driving the inhabitants from their homes. By 1860 the dugouts were virtually deserted.

Two dugouts have been restored by the National Trust as a tourist attraction.

Redruth Courthouse  1857

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Redruth Courthouse

The Colonial Architect E.A. Hamilton designed this courthouse which was erected in the government township of Redruth in 1857 outside of the South Australian Mining Association’s mining property.

The first courthouse had been in a rented cottage in Kooringa.

The courthouse was closed in 1986 when the court transferred to Clare and the building it now in the hands of the National Trust.

Police Station

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Police Station

The first police station was erected here in 1847.

In 1851 the police force consisted of three constables and three mounted policemen for a community of about 5,000 people.

This building was erected in 1878 after the demolition of the original police station. In the 1960s a new station was erected in Chapel Street, near Market Square, where there had always been a police station.

It is now a National Trust site.

Police Lockup and Stables  1847

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Police Lockup

You will need a passport key for entry to this site.

Erected at the rear of the police station, the cells were used as a temporary gaol until the Redruth Gaol was completed in 1856.

The National Trust opened them to the public in 1976.

 

Smelts Stables and Yards 1849

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Smelts stables

These stables were built from blocks of slag from the adjoining smelter to house up to 100 horses.

Besides the stables there was a blacksmith’s shop and storerooms.

It was the site of Burra’s first agricultural show in 1877 and continued hosting it until 1885.

The stables are now privately owned

Smelts Offices and Manager's REsidence  1849

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Smelts Offices and Manager's Residence

Erected in 1849 as the smelter began its operation.  The stores, offices and manager’s residence although converted to private residences today still retain much of their external appearance.

Thomas Williams, the first manager from 1849 to 1854 was replaced by Captain Isaac Killicoat.

Burra Smelter 1849

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Burra Smelter

This 1.2 kilometre walking trail takes about 45 minutes to complete.

The Patent Copper Co. and later the English and Australian Copper Co. carried out smelting operations at this site from 1849 to 1868.

The first smelting house contained 16 furnaces and a second house with nine furnaces was added in 1854.

Copper metal was produced from the ore using ironstone as a flux, followed by refining in other furnaces. Four tons of coal were required for each ton of ore processed.

In 1851 more than 1,000 men were employed here. Up until 1857 the copper was carted along the Gulf Road to Port Wakefield by bullock drays and when the railway reached Kapunda, teams of mules.

After 1861 most of the smelting was carried out at Port Adelaide. Unfortunately most of the buildings have been removed from the site, leaving some building foundations, rubble and some slag.  

The site is now owned by the Regional Council of Goyder.

Unicorn Brewery Cellars  1873

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Unicorn Brewery Cellars

You will need a passport key for entry to this site.

This brewery was built in 1873 as a modern factory boasting a tall malting tower, a cooperage, a steam driven system of pumps and extensive cellars. It competed with an old fashioned establishment on the site of the present Burra hospital which was then a hotel.

The brewery was forced to close in 1902 when new licensing laws made it uneconomic to comply with their requirements. It was demolished for its stone in 1911.  

The site is now owned by the Regional Council of Goyder.

 

Market Square Museum

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Market Square Museum

Built in 1880, this building was originally the shop and residence of the tailor Andrew Wade.

The building was acquired by the Burra Branch of the National Trust of South Australia and opened as a museum in 1966.

On display in the museum are a large number of artifacts and furnishings from the period 1880 to 1920 donated by members of the district.

The shop at the front of the building is now a sweets shop.

Bon Accord Mine Museum  1859

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Bon Accord Mine Museum

This museum, which is owned by the National Trust, was restored in 1986. It was originally the site of the Bon Accord Mine purchased by Scottish speculators in 1846 who also laid out the early township of Aberdeen.

The initial mining operations were abandoned in 1849 and recommenced in 1858.

In 1859 mine offices, a blacksmith’s forge, carpenter’s shop and manager’s residence were erected. An enginehouse with a 50 inch Cornish pumping engine was also erected to dewater the mine. It was demolished in 1887.

Although some ore was discovered it was not of saleable quality and mining ceased in 1862. However, the water from the mine was important. The Bon Accord Mine supplied water to part of Aberdeen from 1878 and to Kooringa from Dickson’s shaft from 1884.

In 1908 the pumps were shifted to the Engine Shaft and continued pumping from there until 1966 when River Murray water became available.

It is now a National Trust site.

Hampton  1857

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Hampton

You will need a passport key for entry to this site.

This township was founded by Thomas Powell in 1857 and named after the home town of his wife in England. It was modelled on an English village and was home to 30 miners’ cottages and a Bible Christian Chapel.

Hampton was the site of stone quarries that supplied stone for many of Burra’s buildings. It was virtually abandoned in the 1920s with its last inhabitant leaving in the 1960s. 

The site is now owned by the Regional Council of Goyder.

   

 

In 1843 Dr. William James Browne and his brother Dr. John Harris Browne took up the Booborowie run. In 1851 they purchased a crown lease of 153 square miles and in 1853 the brothers purchased 46,978 acres of the lease.

The Browne Bros. established a merino stud and had shorthorn cattle. They went on to purchase properties on the Adelaide Plains, at Mt. Gambier, the Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula and were instrumental in establishing Katherine in the Northern Territory. This led to a large sheep and cattle drive, under the supervision of Alfred Giles, to leave South Australia in 1878.

The northern portion of the station was sold to Henry Dutton and George Melrose in 1897. The remainder of the station was sold in 1910 and 1912 for closer settlement.

Baldry Township was first surveyed in 1875 near Leighton but was abandoned at the time. The Booborowie Township was proclaimed on 29th March 1877.

The Booborowie Valley is not only prime wool, sheep and cattle country, but is also a rich cereal crop and lucerne growing area. 

The township supports many local businesses and trades people in the building industry that service the local area and mid north region.

BOOBOROWIE HISTORY WALK

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The walk encompasses the following stops:-

1. Federation Tables

2. The Booborowie District Soldiers Memorial Hall

3. St. Edmund’s Anglican Church

4. The Wesleyan Methodist Church

5. The Sale Yards and Wheat Stacks

6. The Former Post Office   

7. The Former Hardware Shop

8. The Former Motor Garage

9. The Former RSL Building

10. The Booborowie Hotel

11. The School

12. The Fire Station

13. The Former Tea Rooms

14. The General Store

15. The Former Butcher and Baker

16. The Former Bank

17. The Blacksmith’s Shop

18. The Golf Course

19. St. Dymphna’s Catholic Church

The Former Eating House

The Booborowie District Council Chambers

For more information about each stop, click on this PDF.