Several hours were spent by us looking around the amazing Open Air Museum – the site of the Burra Burra Mine – and reading about the history of the place and equipment, the remnants of which remain.
The impact of the discovery of copper here in 1845 was felt across the world in the UK where copper prices plummeted. Many miners came to Burra from Cornwall, Wales and Scotland and the best of Cornish machinery imported. Until 1860 it was Australia’s largest metal mine.
Our Burra Heritage Passport key opened the gates for us to enter the mine site and also Morphetts Enginehouse, which was originally erected in 1858 to pump water from the mine. It ceased pumping in 1877 and around 1920 the machinery was removed for scrap. The building was later gutted by fire in 1926. A Jubilee 150 project in 1986 saw the enginehouse reconstructed and the shaft re-timbered and now serves as a museum.
We viewed what was left of other structures and equipment left from the mining era and the remains of the houses next to the top of the mine. The powder magazine, situated further away from the mine, was restored in 1970. It is considered to be Australia’s oldest mine building, completed in 1847 for the purpose of storing gunpowder used in blasting at the Burra Burra mine. The walls are 60cm thick and originally lined with sheepskins to reduce the risk of a spark-induced explosion.