Burra in the News


Burra Record masthead 1906

Burra in the News

1845 - 2013

7,000 pages

There are numerous extracts from the Burra Record and the South Australian Register throughout this site, selected from these 7,000 pages of Word files.

The pages contain a summary of 168 years of Burra in the Newspapers. They present an outline of the main events in the town and of the principal characters as they were reported in the papers of the day.

They make fascinating reading.

This unique historical resource can be purchased and downloaded for AU$25 with one click via Paypal

This download has been compiled by
Eric Fuss
© for the Burra History Group Inc.


Note the use of the term 'Monster Mine' before work started at Burra. It referred to the size of the Special Survey, not the size of the mining operation.

SA Register 6 August 1845, page 2

'LSD' writes on 'The Monster Mine of Twenty Thousand Acres.'

[He says there will be many opinions among investors about what to do with the mine and he lists such ideas as:

* Work the mine extensively for maximum profit.

* Work it on a modest scale.

* Don't work it at all.

* Re-sell it immediately at a profit.

* Re-sell it later at a larger profit.]

Mining Begins.

SA Register 5 November 1845, page 3

The Monster Mine

[The article begins with another set of production figures.]

Fifteen miners out of 40 employed, have raised 500 tons of ore in seven weeks. The visible quantities of ore are cited as worth an aggregate of '68,600.

The highest yielding year for the Burra Burra Mine

SA Register 20 October 1849, page 2

The Far Famed Burra Burra Mine

On the 17 October the Directors of the SA Mining Association held their 9th half-yearly meeting.

In September 1849 the Directors not only declared a repetition of those 200% dividends which had astounded colonists and electrified people in distant climes, but declared their ability to maintain these returns to the tune of 800% p.a.

Christmas 1866

SA Register 28 December 1866, page 3

Kooringa News, 27 December

Christmas Day in Burra was most disagreeable. It began with a hot northerly wind, which increased in violence towards noon, becoming a gale, raising clouds of blinding dust. It ceased towards evening, when it became cooler. The public amusements were meagre, limited chiefly to tea meetings.

The Primitive Methodists celebrated their Sunday-school Anniversary in the usual manner.

Redruth and Copperhouse Bands of Hope had a tea and cake treat for their children, who, led by a drum and fife band paraded the town with banners flying. About 200 children took tea at Redruth.

In the evening there was a public meeting at the Court House where Mr Kelly of Clare gave a spirited address and the united Redruth and Copperhouse Fife bands produced such music as was never heard before in Burra.

At the Local Court on Wednesday Mr Cooper, landlord of the Miners' Arms was fined '1 plus '1-14-0 costs for supplying drink to the late August Fischer, while he was in a state of intoxication.

Before The Internet!

The Northern Mail I, 1, 30 June 1876, page 1

Advt. 'WANTED, a WIFE. Must be young and good looking. Money a decided object; for which the advertiser will give a handsome person and a loving heart. Applicants to forward photographs. Address, 'Romeo,' P.O., Kooringa.

House and shop fires were common in the 19th century.

The Northern Mail I, 7 (8), 18 Aug. 1876, page 3

Inquest on the fire at Mrs Green's Boarding House:

Mary Green said she was awakened by the fire and raised the alarm. She had retired about 10 p.m. and was sure she had put out the candle. She denied she was drunk. On rising she had put on clothes, which she afterwards was told were on fire. It was her bustle which was on fire ' she had worn it for the last twenty years. A bottle of brandy was brought into the house on Thursday, but there had been four to drink it. Two women had visited on Thursday.

The jury's verdict was that a fire had been caused by carelessness, through Mrs Green and her lodgers having partaken of too much intoxicating liquor.

The low key announcement of the closure of the Burra Mine

The Burra News & Northern Mail 21 September 1877

Burra Burra Mines. [This announcement on page 3 of the paper has no headline and runs for about 10cm of one column!]

`In consequence of the low state of the copper market the Directors of the Burra Burra Mines have decided to temporarily suspend all operations, and the workings will be stopped on Saturday, September 29. A few men will be kept on for a few days in order to get the pumping machinery in a position to start again as soon as the copper market rises.'

This will reduce money in the town by c. '30,000 annually. Wages at present are about '2,000 monthly and firewood over '500 a month. 300 men and boys will be thrown out of work. We hope some relief will come from railway construction and work on the Eastern Road.

Burra's first railway station

Burra Record III, 113, 27 August 1880, Page 2

2nd leader on the need for a new railway station. The temporary Burra Railway Station has done duty for long enough and cost perhaps no more than '300 to '400. There is no suitable waiting rooms or anything else. Refreshment provisions are no more than a table on the platform. Even for such wretched provision the railways get '65 p.a., which is enough to pay interest at 5% on '1,300. The urinals are almost in full view of persons arriving at the elevation of a cart. The platform has never been flagged and all is 'miserly, incomfortable [sic] and insufficient.'

A gruesome accident

Burra Record XV, 472, 19 June 1901, page 3

Railway Accident, c. 3 miles north of Burra at a spot known as Forder's on Thursday evening.

The driver and stoker of the goods train noticed they had run over something. They stopped and searched, but failed to find anything. They reported the matter at Mt Bryan and a ganger was sent out to investigate. He found the sickening remains of a man who appears to have lain down on the rails to await his doom. His head and upper torso was found about 12 yards from where the train struck him and his legs about 50 yards further on; 'between this were found a number of pieces of flesh, etc., which had to be picked up in a bucket, filling it to the brim.'

An amazing survival story

Burra Record VX, 688, 9 Aug. 1905, Page 4-5

The Remarkable Case of Thomas Whelan.

A man in a poor state called for food at a station out east and the owner thought he was not fit to roam the bush and sent word to M-C Grosser. The policeman found the man lying down in a hut. He got up and put on his poor clothes, but wore a handkerchief round his neck. He gave his name as Thomas Jackson, but later admitted it was Thomas Whelan, aged 34. Grosser was concerned at how he carried his head and removed the cloth about his neck. Whelan's throat was terribly gashed from one side to the other: the windpipe being completely severed. He calmly admitted to doing the deed about five weeks earlier. Since then he had been living on rabbits. He was in a very dirty and tattered state. When offered food he seemed glad to get it, but could not swallow without connecting the windpipe with the aid of his hands. The wound had begun to heal and was not bleeding. He had walked from Victoria to WA and thence by various means to SA. He was brought to the Burra Hospital where he will be operated on this week.

[See also VX, 691, 30 Aug. 1905, page 3, where he is charged with attempting to commit suicide.]

Obituaries are accompanied with clarifying details where possible [in square brackets].

Burra Record VX, 742, 3 Oct. 1906, page 2

Obituary. Mrs Hempel, wife of J.T. Hempel of Stewart, near Morgan, has died aged 36. [Page 3 adds that she was the youngest daughter of Mr W. Pryor of World's End.]

[A difficult person to trace, but may have been born as Jamima Prior 18 June 1871 at Redruth and married as Jemima Emmalina Prior, father called William, 10 April 1890, but Marriages CD gives the husband's name as Kempel; no doubt a transcription error. Died Jemima Emmeline Hempel 24 September 1906 at Morgan.]

1917 was a particularly grim year for local soldiers on the Western Front

Burra Record XXXIX, 29, 18 July 1917, page 2

Obituary. A.S. Lee previously reported missing is now reported killed. [Albert Stanley Lee born 24 December 1896 World's End Creek: killed 16 August 1916 aged 19.]

Obituary. O. Niemann previously reported missing is now reported killed. [Cristian Otto Niemann, born 10 July 1891 Copperhouse: killed 23 July 1916 aged 25.]

Obituary. T.W. Dixon previously reported missing is now reported killed. [Thomas William Dixon born 16 November 1895 Hanson: killed 16 August 1916 aged 20.]

Obituary. Harry Turner previously reported missing is now reported killed. [Henry Hoskin Turner born 29 August 1893 near Ironmine: killed 16 April 1917 aged 23.]

The end of WWI

Burra Record XXXX, 45, 13 Nov. 1918, page 2


News that the armistice had been signed reached Burra about 9.30 p.m. Monday evening.

The news was announced by ringing the fire bell and soon there was a regular pandemonium of noise and within fifteen minutes Market Square was crowded and the Ladies and Men's Bands combined for the National Anthem and then the Doxology was sung. Cheers were given for Our Boys, The Allies, General Foch and The King. The Mayor and Mr Winnall gave short speeches and the bands played patriotic airs. It was the early hours of morning before calm returned. Tuesday was observed as a holiday and the town was decorated with flags and by 10.30 a.m. the square was crowded and a platform had been erected.

A procession of nearly 1,000 thankful men, women and children extended the length of Commercial St from Messrs C.J. Pearce & Son to E.J. Harris's, headed by the Returned Soldiers, the Mayor, Councillors, the town's Ministers and the combined bands. Cheer after cheer greeted the returned men and Lieut. Phillis made a suitable speech. A short thanksgiving service followed.


Burra Record XXXXV, 40, 3 Oct. 1923, page 3

A.J. Cousins' Funeral was a most unenviable experience due to the appalling weather. On Sunday when the hearse arrived at Booborowie snow was falling heavily. The cortege left for Burra, twenty miles away, at 9.30 a.m. and had to endure snow and then fiercely driving hail and rain. 22 buggies and 11 motor cars took part. Twice the horses stopped and refused to face the elements. In all, the journey took five hours. Amazingly to the east of Burra the country is still enveloped in dust with no rain of significance having fallen. The undertakers with this difficult job were C.J. Pearce & Son.

Burra & WWII

Burra Record 61, 30, 16 July 1940, Page 1 & 4

Civil Defence Meeting at the Institute on 8 July.

In the event of an air raid on Adelaide, Burra would have to look after 2,000 people and Mr Dick Smith had been placed in charge of that. Every house had been canvassed to see how many people they could take. Messrs Genders & Jennison were appointed air raid wardens. Lieut-Col. Bice explained the other arrangements for food and blankets and how people would recoup costs.

Burra Record 62, 18, 6 May 1941, page 2

Notice. Burra Civil Defence. Air Raid Warnings. At 7.15 a.m. on 8 May a try out will be made of warning devices in the event of an air raid. In Kooringa the Fire Brigade siren and at Burra North the Methodist Church Bell.

Porter Lagoon

Burra Record 90, 5, 9 February 1960, page 1

Porter Lagoon Picnic Day saw about 100 cars there in the afternoon. It was windy and the rough conditions meant that the boat races had to be abandoned. The only boats on the water were those of Lance Fiebig and the Dunn Bros. of Black Springs. Some water skiing events were also abandoned, but R. Taylor and P. Williams staged a contest and Gerald Day, impersonating a ballroom dancer, successfully went over the ski jump.


Burra Record 86, 1, 8 Jan. 1963, page 7

Floods. The creek through West Ward overflowed twice during the December rains. On 28 December following 133 points in 20 minutes and secondly on 30 December when 58 points fell in 30 minutes. Debris from the first flood and trees growing in the creek made the second flooding worse. Water ran down Commercial Street 6 inches deep and then flowed down the full width of Thames Street. Some damage was done to businesses in Commercial Street.

Re-sited Peacock's Chimney

Burra Record94, 39, 10 Oct. 1972, page 2

Copper Festival

Unveiling the Peacock Chimney Plaque

Burra people were staggered by the numbers present. Thousands of people gathered for the event. Gusty winds whipped round the small yellow curtain covering the plaque and around the long dresses, capes and bonnets of the ladies and young girls in nineteenth century costume. Men and boys in clothes of the miners added authenticity. A number of veteran cars and horse drawn vehicles added to the scene and the Police Band gave a martial flavour to the procession. The SA Governor, Sir Mark Oliphant unveiled the plaque.

One of a number of films made around Burra

Burra Community School & Community News 21 December 1978

Sagittarius Film & TV Productions will be making a film The Battle of Broken Hill at Burra over the weekend of 6 & 7 January 1979.


* Extras with their own clothing the suit the 1914-15 era.

* An assortment of horse-drawn vehicles to suit the same period.

* A white-painted horse-drawn cart to resemble the ice cream cart used by the 'Turks' at Broken Hill.

Pygmy Bluetongue

Burra Broadcaster Issue 455, 27 Apr. 2000, page 2

Ford's Corner has recently has a TV crew visiting to film a segment for the 'Animal Doctor' series. They were interested in filming on the pygmy blue-tongue lizard. The show will screen sometime in 2001.

Jazz at Burra

>Burra Broadcaster Issue 511, 27 June 2001, page 1

Jazz in the Monster Mine. The Sir Hubert Wilkins Committee has announced that the Twilight Jazz Affair at Petherton will not be staged again next year. As a result a sub-committee of BRTBA is planning a replacement event for 2 March 2002. The proposed site is near water level in the Burra Mine. It has been inspected and acoustics are ideal.

Not just 'Breaker Morant' and the 'Water Diviner' but also -

Mid North Broadcaster Edition No. 861, 9 October 2008, page 1

Vampire Film

A Korean film company and SA's Hamburger Films shot the opening scenes of a vampire movie Thirst at the Redruth Gaol last weekend. Production manager from Sydney, Joseph Joo has worked in many Australian TV series and commercials. The director, Mr Park is famous in Korea and Mr Song, the star, is a famous actor in Korea. A Korean crew came out to film the scenes and stayed in 15 of the Paxton Square cottages and some rooms at the Burra Motor Inn.