Burra, a beautiful town settled amongst rolling hills in South Australia’s mid north is a pastoral town rich in mining history. Settled in 1845 Burra was one of the worlds majour copper mines up until 1877 and quite literally financially saved the young colony of South Australia. Now days the town showcases this amazing mining history and agriculture and has also laid claims to be the “Merino capital of the wolrd”! We had visited Burra many times before but one thing that we had never done was complete the Heritage trail around the town. What better time to do it than on our 18 month trip around Aus we thought. The information centre located in the heart of the town is where you can purchase the key and receive your comprehensive information booklet to guide yourself around the many different locations.
There are 49 locations to search for and view on this awesome self guided Herritage trail, 8 of which are locked and can only be accessed by purchasing the passport. We’ve selected a few of our favourties to share with you and highly recommend taking the time to discover this incredible country town. There’s no better way to do it than by purchasing yourself a ticket to discovery with the Burra Heritage Passport.
Redruth Gaol was originally built as a prison in 1856 and was the first prison to be built in South Australia outside of Adelaide. Walking through the rooms today, one room displays a run down of the prisoners who passed through the doors of Redruth Gaol and what they were convicted for. Swearing would see you in jail for two weeks whilst being drunk would see you locked up for three weeks! How times have changed! The prison cells are still visible and there’s no mistaking the exercise yards, complete with glass shards decorating the tops of the walls to stop prisoners from escaping!
In 1897 the jail was transformed into a girls reformatory and was operational until 1922. Ironically the only ones who managed to escape from its walls were a few of the girls in the reformatory! Redruth jGaol itself is probably most famous for its part in the 1980 war time Australian classic “Breaker Morant“, with one of the rooms displaying information about the movie. This is one of those locations where you cant help but get an eerie feeling from, but soooo worth a look!
Located near the miners cottages close to the centre of town is the Unicorn Brewery Building. The brewery was established in 1873 and soon became a booming success with the brewery supplying all of the 9 pubs in town. The brewery was closed in 1902 and was dismantled to re-use the stone but the underground cellars, managers house and walls of the brewery block still remain. These tunnels are actually where they filmed part of another Aussie film “the water diviner!
The Police Lock-ups and Stables
The police lock-ups and stables were built in 1847, just behind the police station, and was used as a temporary Gaol until Redruth was built in 1856. Stables and additional cells were built on in 1873. A mining town with nine pubs, well they definitely would have needed more lock ups back then! For now, the boys had fun locking Carlo up!
Morphett’s Engine House Museum
The museum, housed with in the walls of what once was used to pump the rising ground water from the monster open cut mine, is quite impressive and very informative. The volunteer who greeted us gave us a great rundown of the building and demonstrated to us, via a working model, just how the pump use to work. It’s quite amazing to see the thickness of the stone walls and the craftsmanship that went into building these incredible buildings back in 1858.
Situated on the side of a hill on the outskirts of town lies the ruins of Hampton Village. The township was founded in 1857 and named after a village in England, and was home to 30 miners cottages and a chapel. The settlement itself was actually modelled on that of the one back in England as well. It is an amazing place to visit, just imagining what it would have looked like all those years ago and to imagine what life would have been like for the families who once dwelled within the walls of these buildings.
This is just a few of the amazing places youll be able to explore with the Burra Heritage Passport , we can genuinely say we loved every minute of exploring Burra and other locations such as the Bon Accord Mine, the Powder magazine and the Miners Dugouts are also high on the list of our favourites. Spending more than a day in town is quite an easy task so why not make a weekend of it or even longer, you are able to keep the key for the heritage trail for the duration of your stay in Burra, so there’s no rush. Check out some of the accommodation in town HERE or take a look at our post on Burra Creek Gorge if you’d love an amazing free campsite to base yourself at.
At A Glance :
Where : Burra is situated roughly 150km north of Adelaide and the Burra Heritage Passport can be purchased from the Information centre located in the middle of Market Square, opposite the Rotunda
Cost: $30 Adult – $25 Concession – School Age Children with adults are free
More Info: Burra and Goyder Info Centre