St. Josephs Convent, Chapel & Site (former) | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


St. Josephs Convent, Chapel & Site (former)

Item details

Name of item: St. Josephs Convent, Chapel & Site (former)
Other name/s: St Josephs Convent, Chapel & Site
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Convent/Nunnery
Location: Lat: -31.9528959804 Long: 141.4591136930
Primary address: Sulphide Street, Broken Hill, NSW 2880
Parish: Picton
County: Yancowinna
Local govt. area: Broken Hill
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Broken Hill
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT52 DP1089700
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Sulphide StreetBroken HillBroken HillPictonYancowinnaPrimary Address
Lane StreetBroken HillBroken HillPictonYancowinnaAlternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Broken Hill Church of Christ Inc.Religious Organisation19 Mar 99
Former use: Aboriginal land, Chapel and Convent


Historical notes: The Wiljakali people who occupied the area when Charles Sturt arrived in 1845 (and first referred to it as 'broken hill') faced less immediate settler agression than tribal groups who lived on the rivers, including the Darling (Spearitt, 2018, 73).

In 1883, when boundary rider Charles Rasp formed a small syndicate to mine a great ironstone outcrop in the far west of NSW, they thought they would find tin. Instead, they ended up having leases over some of the world's richest silver, lead and zinc deposits. Unlike gold, these metals were not simply there for the taking. BHP (Broken Hill Proprietory Ltd.), formed in 1885, faced technical and logistical challenges in mining and processing ore bodies (ibid, 2018, 73).

Broken Hill grew quickly. A population of 17,000 in 1889 had more than doubled to 35,000 in 1914, putting it on the map as the then third-largest city in NSW. In today's terms, it could be described as Australia's most multicultural city of the time (ibid, 2018, 73).

Trade Unions quickly formed around the mine and extraction processing industries. The Trades Hall, built between 1891 and 1905, became the first building in Australia owned by unions, who also purchased the local newspaper 'The Barrier Times' in 1908. This strong union tradition permeated all aspects of life in Broken Hill. The city's unionists won a 35-hour week in 1920, the first to do so in Australia (ibid, 2018, 74).

The city is full of surprises, including a mosque, founded by Afghan cameleers in the early 1890s, and a synagogue built in 1910. The cameleers flourished in the later decades of the 19th century, transporting wool as well as construction materials for the Overland telegraph line from Darwin to Port Augusta. The Jewish population mainly came from Eastern Europe. While the synagogue closed in 1962, the mosque is still used for worship. BHP ceased operations in Broken Hill in the late 1930s, by which time other mining companies had formed, leaving behind an open-cut mine that writer George Farwell described in 1948 as, 'forlorn as a dead planet. It has the air of a crater on the moon... Massive boulders and abandoned machinery sprawl down its flanks as though flung down the sheer sides of a mountain gorge. Upon the crest old iron lies everywhere' (ibid, 2018, 74).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Housing the clergy and religious-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th century suburban developments-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Practising Catholicism-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Convent-

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act general maintenance to building

Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) The maintenance of any item on the site where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing materials.
(2) Alterations to the following structures:
(a) single storey cement brick building on Sulphide Street Boundary;
(b) two storey cement brick shed structure on the norteastern boundary of the site;
(c)cement brick shed and brick laundry on northwestern boundary of the site;
provided that these alterations do not add to the external bulk of the building nor adversely affect the heritage significance of the convent building or chapel.
Dec 5 1986
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0048402 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0048405 Dec 86 1865969

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Broken Hill Heritage Walk View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Walking Tour View detail
PhotographHeritage Office (not stated)
WrittenSpearitt, Peter2018'Where History Happened'

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045407
File number: S90/05521 & HC 32729

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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