Broken Hill CityEconomic profile
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Broken Hill City

About the area

Name origin

Broken Hill was named as a "broken hill" by explorer Charles Sturt when he named the Barrier Range in 1844.

Location and boundaries

Broken Hill City is located in far western New South Wales, about 1,100 kilometres west of Sydney and 500 kilometres east of Adelaide. Broken City is surrounded entirely by Unincorporated New South Wales (Far West).

Economic region
Broken Hill City

Land use

Broken Hill City encompasses a township and surrounding rural areas. Broken Hill is the largest regional centre in the western half of New South Wales. The City encompasses a total land area of about 180 square kilometres. Mining and tourism are important industries, with some sheep farming.


Broken Hill City is served by the Barrier Highway, the Silver City Highway, the Western railway line and Broken Hill Airport.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from the 1850s, with land used mainly for grazing. Population was minimal until the 1880s, with growth through to the early 1900s, spurred by silver, lead and zinc mining and improved access. The population rose from about 21,000 in 1891 to 27,000 in 1901, and then to 31,000 in 1911, before declining to about 26,000 in 1921. Expansion resumed in the post-war years, with the population rising to about 31,000 in 1950. From the early 1970s the population declined, due largely to the closure and consolidation of mining operations. The population fell to about 28,000 in 1976, and continued to decline to about 24,000 in 1986. Gradual decline continued from the 1990s, with the population falling to about 19,000 in 2011.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Broken Hill area were the Wiljakali Aboriginal people.