Burra Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Burra

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    MORPHETT'S ENGINEHOUSE MUSEUM

    by balhannah Written Jul 5, 2012

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    Morphett's Enginehouse & Pumphouse
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    We made this our next stop on our Heritage pass driving tour. Once we turned into the mining area, the road became dirt, not bitumen like the main road.

    Once at Morphett's Engine house, all we had to do was show our passport and have it stamped. A Guide told us information on the Engine house, built in 1858, and then explained the workings of the engine and pump system used to de-water the mine. This is included in the admission price. We then were left to look around on our own.

    This triple story building now is a Museum, with steps leading up to the top [3rd] floor, where we were able to go out onto a porch and enjoy a good view of the Open cut mine which is now a lake.
    Morphett's engine house was used between the years 1860 to 1877, this was when pumping ceased. Later, the engine was removed for scrap metal.
    Outside you can walk through an underground adit and view the mineshaft and original pumping equipment along with the remains of several mine buildings.

    You would never guess how this building caught fire and burnt down.

    This is true......
    The year was 1925, and some young local lads were rabbiting here. They decided the best way to get the Rabbits out of the mine, was to smoke them out, and I guess you know the rest......
    The building caught fire and was burnt to the ground!

    It was reconstructed and re-timbered to its former glory as a Jubilee 150 project in 1986.

    There is a parking area, and Toilets [may be a bit smelly]
    OPEN.....Daily 10 am – 12.30 pm
    Allow 60 minutes if you wish to walk and see everything.

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    PAXTON SQUARE COTTAGES

    by balhannah Written Jul 6, 2012

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    Paxton Square
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    Paxton "square" cottages?..... Are the cottages square?......NO!

    The square comes about, as there are 33 Cottages, all joined and forming a complete square!

    The Cottages were named after a William Paxton, who was a Chemist in Hindley street, Adelaide, and one of the shareholders in the Mining Company.
    These were Mining Company housing, and consisted of either two, three or four bedroom homes.
    The Cottages were constructed by Cornish Stone-masons employed by the mining company, in hope the Miner's would leave the dug-outs they were living in.

    In 1849, 14 Cottages were built, with all 33 completed by 1851. Over 161 people lived here in 1876. In the plan, were lane-ways leading into the square where the children could play safely, and the adults held mining meetings.

    IN 1912, the cottages were auctioned off, and were bought and used as low cost housing for the poor, hence the name change in this era, to "Humanity Square."
    Since 1980, the district council has taken over ownership and now they are available as accommodation.

    You can now rent either 1 or 2 bedroom cottages.
    1 bedroom cottage - queen and single bed in bedroom + kitchen & bathroom
    2 bedroom cottages with various queen / single bed set ups + kitchen, lounge & bathroom

    Hope you can do without television for a while, as there is NO telly, Open fires [Burra gets cold!], Linen is supplied. I thought the prices were quite reasonable, only $90 for a double, in a 1 bedroom Cottage, and for 2 bedroom cottage, $110 per double.

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    MINER'S DUGOUTS

    by balhannah Written Jul 6, 2012

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    For short people only!
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    The Dug-outs were fenced off, so once again, we used our "passport key" to open the gate and gain entry.

    Kooringa, Burra in the 1840's, and Miners were pouring into Burra in hope of finding work. The trouble was, where were they going to live, there wasn't enough housing available! So, the Miner's found their own housing, and this was by digging into the soft clay banks of Burra Creek. The first one of these dugouts was completed in 1846. The Miner's were happy living here as they were rent free, and water was close by.

    I found it incredible that 1,800 people in 1851, lived in 600 of these dugouts. It was also in 1851, when the creek flooded, forcing these poor people from their homes. By 1860, most had left these dugouts, and now they have been restored for tourist's like you and me to go inside and see what it would have been like living in one!
    No way I would want to, especially on the side of the creek bed!

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    MARKET SQUARE

    by balhannah Written Jul 6, 2012

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    The Burra Market Square is where the lovely Rotunda is located. It really isn't a square, but more of a triangle, and is the centre of Burra, where roads from Adelaide, Morgan and Broken Hill meet.
    In its earliest days, it consisted only of a standpipe and horse trough shaded by a single tree. Until as late as 1900, livestock was sold here on market days in the old, English village fashion. The Market Square still looks like it is in the 19th Century, but instead of Horse and carriages, it's Cars that are parked.
    The square today has a traditional band rotunda,with lovely cast iron lacework. It was built in 1911 and dedicated to the memory of King Edward VII. Other buildings include the National Trust folk and mining museum, which began life as a tailor's shop, and the 1847 Miners' Arms, now the Burra Hotel. It was in this square, where the Cornish miners used to get drunk, and have fist fights and wrestles in the square, no wonder it was used in the film, "Breaker Morant.".

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    TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE- HERITAGE PASSPORT

    by balhannah Written Jul 5, 2012

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    Visitor Info Centre
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    YOUR 1ST STOP IN BURRA

    At Burra, it is essential to visit the Info centre first, that is, if you want to see everything for a cheaper price!

    Burra has a Heritage passport for sale which includes a gate key, this is what I bought.

    It allowed us to access 8 locked sites, including the Monster Mine area, Redruth Gaol, the underground Unicorn Brewery cellars, the Dugouts and free entry to Burra’s 3 museums during their opening hours. An excellent guide book details 49 historic sites over an 11 km driving trail.

    This is available seven days a week from the Burra Visitor Centre, and you can keep the passport key for the duration of your time in Burra. I paid a deposit which was given back to me when the key was safely returned to the Centre.
    The Passport is great value for money, with discounts given for concession card holders, seniors and National Trust members. School age children are FREE !

    PRICE IN 2012.....Adults $25...Concession $20
    $5 for NT members and locals.......Children are free

    You do not need the Heritage Pass to visit the museums, you can visit on your own, and the cost would be $5.00

    To find the Visitor centre, just look for the blue signs with a bright yellow "i"
    It is located across the road from the Rotunda in the main street of Burra

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    BURRA TOWN HALL

    by balhannah Updated Jul 5, 2012

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    Now with have the Heritage pass and key, we head to our Car to begin the route.

    Our 1st stop, was at the Town Hall, built in 1874. Inside is a History room, with historical items, of course!
    There are historical photos of how Burra once was, and an unusual collection known as "The Pascoe" collection. Mr. Pascoe was the local Barber, and had a collection of Stud Merino Sheep photos. It was in his shop until 1911, when it was moved and put on display here!

    ENTRY TO THE TOWN HALL IS FREE
    OPEN....11 - 3pm

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    KOORINGA TELEGRAPH STATION

    by balhannah Written Jul 5, 2012

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    Regional Art Gallery

    A few steps away from the Town Hall, is the attractive Kooringa Telegraph Station that was built in 1861.
    It is now used as the Burra Regional Art Gallery. Inside, are colonial paintings from 1851.

    When it was used as a Telegraph Office, Explorer, "John Stuart" sent a telegram to the Governor of S.A. saying his party had successfully crossed the continent from north to south.

    The building was added to in 1890 and in 1911, a wing was added to house the telephone exchange.

    ADMISSION IS FREE
    OPEN...1-4pm

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    ST. JOSEPH'S CATHOLIC CHURCH

    by balhannah Written Jul 5, 2012

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    Stone Altar
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    Next to the Art Gallery, is St. Joseph's Church, built by the Jesuits from Sevenhill in 1874.
    There wasn't always a Catholic Church in Burra, services used to be held in private homes and then at a Church in Commercial street in 1849. Behind the Church, is a Convent and School, both have been closed since 1970. The Presbytery was built in 1885 sits next door to the Church.

    Inside the Church was old and new. The new was stone used for the Altar and other pieces in the Church, never seen anything like it in another Church!

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    ST. MARY'S ANGLICAN CHURCH

    by balhannah Written Jul 5, 2012

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    St. Mary's Anglican Church

    ST. Marys Church is nearly next door to the Catholic church. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go inside, so I just took some photos from the outside. A nice looking Church, if you do go inside, check out the stained glass windows which feature the history of some of the pioneering families in and around Burra.

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    PEACOCK'S CHIMNEY

    by balhannah Written Jul 5, 2012

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    Peacock's Chimney

    Back in the Car, we come across a tall chimney standing at the entrance to the Burra Mine Site.
    It's a reconstruction of the original chimney from Peacock's winding enginehouse built in 1857.
    In 1971, the engine house was removed, the flue dismantled and rebuilt on this site.

    See the dancing man on top of the Chimney......
    He is Johnny Green, the mascot for the Burra Miners..

    When fire swept through Morphett's engine house shaft in 1925, "Johnny" was found amongst the ashes and placed on a pole at the Mine entrance. This one was damaged by vandals, so another Johnny Green was made and placed on the Chimney in 1972.

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    THE TOWN LOOKOUT

    by balhannah Written Jul 5, 2012

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    The Town Lookout, our next stop, turned out to be quite interesting!

    Burra, and at one time, was the 7th largest town in Australia. As it was so big, it was known as the "Burras," as smaller towns surrounded the main Burra. The view from this lookout, gave us a chance to see and work out where the smaller towns were located. The interpretive sign was great. It showed where each was located and also gave detailed information on each small town.
    From here, we could see Aberdeen & Redruth to the left, Hampton to the right, and several Churches, including the one at Kooringa.

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    POWDER MAGAZINE

    by balhannah Updated Jul 5, 2012

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    The Powder magazine, and we needed to use our passport entry key.
    This building had a very thick wall surrounding it. Built in 1847 it's believed to be The oldest remaining mine building in Australia.
    It was used to store gunpowder for blasting of the ore from the rock faces of the mine. It is constructed well away from the mine workings, with an arched stone roof for added strength in case of an explosion.
    It was restored by the National Trust in 1970 and now has an interpretive sign which filled us in on all the information about the building.
    It can be opened with a key at anytime when using the Burra Herritage Passport.
    A site, well worth visiting.

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    OPEN CUT LOOKOUT

    by balhannah Written Jul 6, 2012

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    Burra's open cut mine
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    Back in the car again, and a short drive to the Mine OPEN CUT Lookout.
    Between the years 1971 & 1981, the open cut mine was worked to a depth of 100metres. The low grade ore mined here, was converted to Copper Oxide that was used in timber preservatives and chemical fertilizers.
    Now, the mine is no longer used. The water is back to its natural level of 50 metres deep, and is a pretty greenish colour, caused by temperature changes, and not copper as a lot of people believe. The colour deepens at different times throughout the year.

    Once again, there is an interpretive sign with all the details on the open cut mine.

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    BON ACCORD MINE MUSEUM

    by balhannah Updated Jul 6, 2012

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    Back in the car again, and from the open cut lookout, we follow signs into West street, then turn left into Linkson street where the Bon Accord mine is located on the RH SIDE.
    The Bon Accord mine museum is owned by the National Trust who restored it in 1986.

    The initial mining operations were abandoned in 1849 and recommenced in 1858, then in 1859, mine offices, a blacksmith’s forge, carpenter’s shop and manager’s residence were erected.
    An enginehouse with a 50 inch Cornish pumping engine was also erected to dewater the mine, but since has been demolished. This mine wasn't a real success, as the ore was not of saleable quality, so mining ceased in 1862.
    The water was important though, supplying some of the smaller towns.

    We used a Burra Heritage Passport again, and were given a tour of the complex by the guide.
    The Museum has plenty to see and had plenty of interesting reading!

    There is a Car park, picnic area, Toilets, Interactive Centre and Interpretive Centre

    OPEN....Daily....1 - 3pm

    ADMISSION WITHOUT THE HERITAGE PASS....Adults $5.00

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    INSIDE BON ACCORD MUSEUM

    by balhannah Written Jul 6, 2012

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    There was plenty of interest inside the museum, including displays and interesting reading.
    My favorite display, was a model of the Burra Mine depicting traditional underground mining in 1860's, it took up one whole room. When we pushed a button, a part of the display was lit, and information was given on what we were viewing. The display was excellent. The guide also told us a lot more, and took us around the whole complex. This was all included in the admission fee.

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