Far West Art Guide

Australia's First Heritage Listed City

A true outback city in every sense, Broken Hill is a living, breathing time capsule where the great mining prosperity of yesteryear blends seamlessly with a rising modern art scene, all set amid a sprawling desert landscape. It’s a place of huge skies, red rocky earth and a fascinating and internationally significant history. It is, after all, Australia’s first heritagelisted city, and its secrets are just waiting to be discovered. With its roots in the silver, lead and zinc mining industries, Broken Hill experienced great prosperity during the 19th century and the architecture of that period lives on to tell the tale.  

These days, Broken Hill is a cultural hub, home to more than 30 art galleries exhibiting work inspired by the stunning landscapes of outback NSW and countless museums encapsulating the city’s rich history. This is Australia’s most accessible outback city, so what are you waiting for? Your authentic Australian outback experience awaits.   Broken Hill is a beacon for a wide range of Australia's creative types. Broken Hill’s iconic national status is defined by the diverse work of some of Australia’s most creative individuals. For generations, they have drawn inspiration from the city’s largerthan-life history – from mining to social advocacy – and its spectacular ancient setting. Today, the grand dame of the outback continues to be the muse for a passionate community of painters, sculptors, ceramicists, musicians, actors and film-makers.   

More galleries than pubs

There are more than 20 galleries in Broken Hill; in fact, galleries outnumber pubs. Typical of the city’s colourful character is the art and attitude of the late Kevin ‘Pro’ Hart. You can see Pro’s direct and humorous approach expressed in so much local art. Take time to chat with the artists about their down-to-earth lives and you’ll understand where it comes from. There is also plenty of art to enjoy around the city streets, from intriguing sculptures in public parks to bold wall murals that depict Broken Hill’s heritage. Art is even set amid the landscape outside the city – the sculptures in the Living Desert Reserve reflect both the diverse culture of the region and an appreciation for the city’s magnificent surroundings.

Photo Credit Amanda Johnson Artist Broken Hill

The culture of Broken Hill is further represented through diverse creative practices that span centuries, ranging from ancient Indigenous storytellers to 19th century architects and famous 20th century artists like Russell Drysdale and Clifton Pugh.

Today’s creators love the light and landscape with equal passion, and express themselves via diverse media – from painting and sculpture to basket-weaving and photography.