Burra is a country town in South Australia located 160km north of Adelaide. It has a population of approximately 1,200 people.
Founded in 1845 it was, until 1877, the site of one of the world’s major copper mines, the income from which did much to save the young colony from financial disaster.
By the time the mine closed in 1877 Burra was already a transport centre for the north-east of the colony and parts of western NSW and SW Qld. During the following decade it served the growing wheat farming areas to the west and, for a while, the ultimately doomed expansion in the drier areas to the east.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century Burra was South Australia’s main centre for the sale of sheep and became renowned in an area famed for stud merino sheep breeding. As the 20th century progressed, however, the sheep sale and transport function declined.
The mine operated again from 1970-1981 and afterwards the processing of copper ore from other sources continued under Adchem which is the largest producer of copper oxide in the world.
Burra is now a rural service centre for a farming and grazing community and a tourist attraction focused on its mining heritage.
The forerunner of this site was voluntarily created in 2005 by Rosemary Ros of Raleigh, North Carolina with information provided by Eric Fuss, Meredith Satchell and the Burra History Group. Rosemary generously gave her time and skills to the project as a response to assistance the History Group had given in answering a family history enquiry.
A great many people have found the site to be very helpful and a good source of information not readily available elsewhere. The History Group would like to express its appreciation for Rosemary’s continuing input over the following years.
In 2017 a Burra resident voluntarily redesigned the site, putting months of work into making it more user friendly, interactive and extending the range of information available to cover tourism accommodation and facilities. The site will continue to grow.
Photographs courtesy of Roy Taplin