Weekend at Burra....

23 July 2012

Sometimes the planets align and everything just falls into place.. like this weekend away.

Bring shift workers its very hard to get a weekend off....let alone a weekend off at the same time as our friends who are also shift workers. So when I noticed on the roster that we were all off this weekend.....I sent out a text.....asking if anyone was up to a camping trip...it was met with a resounding YES!

So we packed up our campers....and set off on Friday afternoon for Burra.....

Burra is only a a few hours from here....so a nice and easy drive.... its also a town steeped in history... it was first settled in 1845 after the discovery of Copper in the area.....by 1851 it had grown to be Australia's largest inland town and the site of the Burra Monster mine.

We set up at the Burra creek camp ground about 10km outside of Burra...
it was a lovely quiet spot amongst beautiful trees....with a little creek running by. 

It was lovely to sit around the fire.... in total peace and quiet (except for the screeching cockatoos)....

Next morning we headed in to Burra and paid our fee to join the "Burra Heritage Trail" self guided tour.
This was fantastic....I totally recommend if you are ever travelling to Burra.

The tour gives you a map book.....and a key.....and you can make your way around 49 different historical sites. 
Each site is listed in the map book so you can read the history of the site..... plus at some sites the key allows you access into the buildings and yards so  you can explore even further.

There were also three guided museum tours at three different locations ...one was at the Burra mine site where we learnt about the mining operation and the scale and profit of the mining venture in the area.
The next guided tour was at the Bon Accord mine site and the final one was at the Market Square Museum where we had access to a home of the time.....all furnished ...giving us a real sense of life at the time.

Here is a little snapshot of our travels in the area.....

The Historic Burra mine site....

Originally the copper was mined through shafts and tunnels.... and then in later years it was mined open - cut....this is the remainder of the pit.... you can still see some of the old buildings dotted around the rim which gives a good guide to the size of it.

Everywhere we looked there was stone walls... and memorabilia....

These were mining cottages .... there were rows and rows of these....

This was inside Redruth gaol....the first gaol built outside of Adelaide...in 1856 and housed 30 prisoners both male and female. It was closed as a gaol in 1897 and then was used as a girls reformatory from 1897 - 1922. It was so cold and stark.....I couldn't imagine having to live in those conditions.

This little store was part of a guided tour.....it was an original store of the times....with a shop front....and then down through a narrow low little doorway into the three room residence at the back.

There were old ruins everywhere.....some of these had obviously been lived in in more recent times...imagine the stories they could tell.

The following day we finished up the tour...there was too much to see in one day....
We began with this little township called Hampton....which was founded in 1857 and modelled on an English village. It was home to 30 miners cottages and a Chapel. It is mainly ruins now....but it was quite easy to see the rows of streets and homes.
It was also very foggy this morning....so it looked quite eerie in the mist.

This home was one of the  only solid ones remaining....and had obviously been lived in for some time after the rest became ruins....it has signs of modern materials.

Our final stop was the Miners dugouts.
These just amazed me.... apparently there was an acute shortage of housing in the 1840's.
So miners dug these dugouts into the sift clay banks of the Burra creek to use as free housing.
Apparently by 1851 there were approx 1800 people living in 600 dugouts along the creek bed.
Sadly in 1851 flood devastated the homes and drove the miners out.

I have absolutely no idea what the circle of light reflecting out of this shot is.....maybe its the ghost of a miner...haha

So that was our weekend..... 
We thoroughly enjoyed it.... we loved the history....the buildings.....the antique shops (and no...I didn't buy anything) ...the quaint little coffee shops....the cornish pastie we had for lunch...and the company of friends.


  1. Anonymous1:22 pm

    Hi Mardi

    The Burra Creek Gorge Camping area is fantastic and free. We have on our agenda to go back to Burra and have a really good look around. Popped in their recently (back in April) when we stayed at Clare - went for a drive to Burra.
    Gorgeous place - Glad you had a ball and the photo's are fantastic.

  2. Your photos are so beautiful Mardi. I love all the old stone buildings. One thing I really remember from my trip to SA 15 years ago is the beautiful old stone buildings. Especially the tiny stone miners cottages. I love them.

  3. Beautiful pics Mardi Jane...xxx sounds like a super time

  4. Brenda9:42 pm

    Your weekend trip looks so fun. Beautiful photos you took.

  5. Hello Mardi
    Your photos are stunning. The lighting is beautiful.. You are getting brilliant results with your new camera!

    The light spot on the final photo..if my mum saw that she would say it was an orb!


  6. Marg S8:48 am

    Stunning photos Mardi - it looks like a place I'd love to visit some day.

  7. Gorgeous photos - I love the one with the old stone house and the gnarly old fence post in the foreground!! Just how I would have taken that photo!!Haha

  8. Thanks for sharing those great photos! Looks like an interesting place. I can hardly believe that you didn't buy anything in the antique shops!

  9. Beautiful photos Mardi, looks like you all had a lovely time xoxo