Silverton
Collage of Silverton.

Silverton is slightly more commercial than most of the towns on this list but it earns its place because of the classic pioneer architecture and the semi-arid landscape that experiences only 190mm of rain per year.

With only 50 stalwarts living in a town that once housed 3000 Silverton has become a living movie set for blockbusters like Wake in Fright, Mad Max 2, Razorback, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Missing and Mission Impossible 2. Countless television series and commercials have also been filmed here.

Like its neighbour Broken Hill (25km), Silverton has inspired numerous artists and several galleries showcase various works including The Horizon Gallery and Silverton Outback Art Gallery.

Pastoralists had moved into the region in the 1850's but it wasn't until silver was discovered that Silverton began to develop as a community. A Mr John Stokie had staked a claim and named it Umberumberka and 150 prospectors clambered to his claim and began to establish a small settlement. It wasn't to last. Two kilometres north east was the Umberumberka Creek and the increasing flow of people to the area preferred to set up camp near the water supply. Umberumberka was relocated and the new town of Silverton was proclaimed in 1885. The Australian Town and Country Journal of 1870 proclaimed that "The Custom-house at Silverton records imports for the eighteen months ended June last at £447,621, and exports for the same period to the amount of £784,250."

Silverton also claims to be the birthplace of the union movement in Australia with the formation in 1886 of the Amalgamated Miners' Association of Australasia. It's also claimed that BHP Billiton had it's humble beginnings in the Silverton Hotel although The 'BH' in BHP stands for Broken Hill.

It is the buildings and landscape that draw tourists to modern day Silverton with the famous hotel being the centrepiece. Other landmark buildings include the Methodist and Catholic Churches, Masonic Lodge, Public School And Silverton Municipal Chambers.

Other points of interest around the town include mine tours and camel rides, the Penrose Park Recreation Area, the Scenic Lookout over Mundi Mundi Plains and the historic cemetery.

Recreated pioneer towns can be a bit cheesy but the buildings in Silverton are all original while the Mad Max Museum and the street display of painted VW Beetles help keep things real.


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