SA Mines and Energy Journal : October-November 2010
34 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2010 SA MINES & ENERGY JOURNAL LIFESTYLE FEATURE Echoes of the nobs and snobs Wandering around Burra, 160 kilometres north of Adelaide, there's little evidence that its population was once more than Brisbane and Perth combined. Now a sleepy town of 2,200, what does remain of those boom years is a treasure trove of lovingly maintained historic sites. On a quiet Wednesday morning, there's a sprinkling of visitors in Burra's tearooms. Many rooms double as antique shops where tea and scones are accompanied by a hunt for china, crystal glassware, clocks and old furniture. Signing up for the self-guided Burra Heritage Passport trail at the Burra Visitors Centre, I'm given a key that opens eight historic sites and a guidebook with details of 65 other sites in the region, plus a walking guide to Market Square. In the square, my tour begins with coffee and cake at Gaslight Collectables and Old Books. I strike up a conversation with Steve Boyes, a mining engineer from Cornwall, who was driving through South Australia on a holiday several years ago and was attracted to the history and ambience of Burra. Boyes' three- night visit became a permanent move. From Boyes, I learn Burra's copper mine was one of the richest in the world. Discovered in 1845 by Thomas Pickett, it attracted miners from across Europe and Britain - but mostly from Cornwall. Around the same time, William Streair discovered copper nearby. Pickett and Streair hooked up with two rival companies, one nicknamed The Nobs (pastoralists who formed the Princess Royal Mining Company); the other nicknamed The Snobs (South Australia Mining Association). Neither Nobs nor Snobs could raise enough money to buy the land where the mines were discovered, so they joined forces and purchased the land together. The Nobs and Snobs drew lots and the South Australia Mining Association ended up controlling the Monster Mine, which by 1850 became Australia's largest mine. The walking trail around Market Square takes in churches, the telegraph station and post office and the Burra Hotel, built in 1847. I can easily picture rowdy Cornish miners spilling out of the hotel and into a brawl in the dusty street. In those days, things were pretty rough - the Burra Police Lockup Christina Pfeiffer enjoys some boomtown nostalgia. THE SINGAPORE AIRLINES A330 Now you can travel in even greater comfort with our new inclined-flat* leather seats in Business Class on the Singapore Airlines A330. Singapore Airlines operates daily non-stop services between Adelaide and Singapore. *8 degree incline.
December 2010 - January 2011