The Junction Mine in Broken Hill was first leased and pegged in 1884 and the associated Broken Hill Junction Silver Mining Co. was formed in 1886. The 1890’s wooden headframe is erected over Browne Shaft (named after Sylvester Browne, a director of the mine) and is the oldest that remains on the massive silver, lead and zinc mineral deposit of Broken Hill known as “The Line of Lode“. Two other shafts, King and MacIntyre, were also sunk at that time.
In 1901 the mine was forced to close due to low lead prices and problems with the treatment process. It reopened though in 1906 with Browne Shaft being used as the main shaft for mining. The company still struggled but continued to operate until 1923 before selling it to the Sulphide Corporation (sounds ominous doesn’t it?). They still managed to pull out some £1.2 million of ore between 1886 and 1923 (in today’s money that would equate to around 50 times that amount)!
By 1929 the mine had been sold again, this time to North Broken Hill Ltd. and they continued to mine the site until 1962 when it was sold again to Broken Hill South Ltd. Mining ceased in 1972 and today it remains as a free tourist attraction.
Quite a lot of the buildings and infrastructure of this mine from the late 1890’s to the 1920’s remain today. Steam pumping and winding machinery was a mainstay of the mining here around 1897 but by 1911 an electric power plant had been added to the site. Between 1916 and 1920 a new winding and crushing plant was installed along with offices, compressors and other buildings.
There is no shortage of old and new mining operations around Broken Hill. It is interesting seeing all these old mining structures and the view isn’t too bad up there either!