Milparinka, Outback NSW
How outback do you want to go? You drive 296 km north of Broken Hill, 39 km south of Tibooburra and 1,465 km from Sydney to a small turnoff from the Silver City Highway. All around the red dusty soils of Outback New South Wales stretch to the horizon. When gold was discovered in 1880 this became a thriving town but today it is a shadow of its former self. A reminder that only the hardest of human beings can live in such difficult conditions.
Milparinka is one of only two townships surviving in the Corner Country, the other being the larger community of Tibooburra. When gold was discovered in the 1870s, a rush to the Corner Country began, with miners travelling overland from Wilcannia, and from Farina on the Ghan Railway line, travelling overland across largely waterless terrain.
No visit to Outback New South Wales can really be considered complete without pausing at Milparinka and thinking about the lives of the early settlers.
Gold was never found at Milparinka, but something more precious, water. A township developed along the waterhole in the Evelyn Creek, whilst gold was mined at Mt Browne, Albert, and The Granites (Tibooburra).
In time, Milparinka grew into a substantial township with four hotels, a bank, shops, a library, a newspaper office, police station and courthouse, a Cobb and Co office, school, post office and more. Plans were made to build a hospital. The telegraph was linked to Sydney in 1896, and coach services arrived twice a week from Wilcannia and later Broken Hill.
Today, Milparinka is a ghost of its former self, but as heritage township has much to offer. A devoted local community group has restored four of the most significant buildings, the courthouse, police station, gaol cells, and former kitchen and turned them into a vibrant, awarding-winning Heritage Precinct, and one of the original hotels, the Albert ( now known as the Milparinka Hotel) still operates.
A walking trail around the township connects significant historic locations, whilst ongoing survey work is reconstructing the original town layout. A pastoral museum, public gardens and pioneer memorials complete the attractions.
Today beautifully restored colonial buildings provide the venue for interpretive and visitor information, while garden sites combine recreation and learning with hands-on mining displays for children (and the young at heart).
Don't drive past! Call in and say hello to Visiting Volunteers who manage the facilities and share a complimentary coffee or tea with friends.