Day Dream Smelter | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Day Dream Smelter

Item details

Name of item: Day Dream Smelter
Other name/s: DayDream Smelter
Type of item: Archaeological-Terrestrial
Group/Collection: Mining and Mineral Processing
Category: Mine site
Location: Lat: -31.8145459701 Long: 141.3476295190
Primary address: Por. PML 2, Broken Hill, NSW 2880
Parish: Stephen
County: Yancowinna
Local govt. area: Unincorporated
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Broken Hill
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT7 DP757305
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Por. PML 2Broken HillUnincorporatedStephenYancowinnaPrimary Address
North ofBroken HillUnincorporatedStephenYancowinnaAlternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 Private08 Apr 99
Broken Hill City CouncilLocal Government07 Apr 99

Statement of significance:

The remains of the Day Dream Smelter are a significant item of the environmental heritage of New South Wales as an important item in the mining and industrial history of the Broken Hill-Silverton area which pre-dates the development of Broken Hill itself. The masonry wall and chimney remains are interesting. What remains of the smelter is interesting and very strongly evocative. Standing in dramatic isolation on a round hill in the arid Barrier Range, it remains a prominent reminder of the intense activity and high expectations which were later eclipsed by the wealth of the lode at Broken Hill. (Branch Managers Report to the Heritage Council 27 July 1981)
Date significance updated: 03 Oct 00
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Physical description: Remaining structures on the site include the chimney stack, adjoining surface trench, stone walls and platform upon which the smelter structures were erected, shaft access holes and mullock retaining walls.

The coursed rubble stone based walls of the smelter stand on the hillside and are connected up the slope to the hilltop by the stone side walls of a rising flue tunnel which connects to the chimney stack on the hill top. The circular chimney stack is built of stone for its lower half and brick for its upper half.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The brickwork of the upper chimney stack is built in very weak mortar which is being eroded by rainwater from the top downwards.
Date condition updated:03 Oct 00
Further information: Unincorporated LGA is administered by Broken Hill Council.
Current use: Archaeological site
Former use: Aboriginal land, Mine

History

Historical notes: Broken Hill:
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).

Day Dream Smelter:
The Day Dream Smelter, situated about 20 kilometres north-west of Broken Hill and north-east of Silverton, was established as a settlement following the discovery of rich silver-bearing ore in December 1882 and by 1884 there some 400 to 500 people on the field. The Day Dream mine by 1884 had become important. It raised 96,000 tons or ore before it floated into a company.

The Day Dream Smelter was built by the Barrier Ranges Association which was formed in the early days of the field to take over mines, work them, establish smelters and otherwise develop the field.

The Day Dream Smelter was opened in 1885. It had a 25 ton and a 40 ton water-jacket furnace. The Day Dream mine proved short lived and in April 1886, after only 10 months of operation, the smelter was closed down as there was not sufficient ore to keep it going. Sometime soon afterward during 1886-87 the smelters were re-opened to treat the first production from the Broken Hill Mine, some 1,500 tons of ore, as the broken Hill mine had not then started its own furnaces.

By the end of 1888 the Day Dream Settlement was almost abandoned and the smelters closed forever. Nothing remains of the settlement. All the machinery of the smelter was removed and all the salvageable material of the smelter buildings - timber and galvanised iron has long since gone.

What remains of the smelter is interesting and very strongly evocative. Standing in dramatic isolation on a round hill in the arid Barrier Range, it remains a prominent reminder of the intense activity and high expectations which were later eclipsed by the wealth of the lode at Broken Hill.

In 1980 the Heritage Council visited the site during its visit to Broken Hill. Subsequently the Barrier Environment Group nominated Day Dream Smelter for a Permanent Conservation Order. On 11 February 1983 a Permanent Conservation order was placed over the smelter. It was transferred to the State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999. (Branch Managers Report to the Heritage Council 27 July 1981)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 Landscapes of industrial production-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Mining-Activities associated with the identification, extraction, processing and distribution of mineral ores, precious stones and other such inorganic substances. (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Mining-Activities associated with the identification, extraction, processing and distribution of mineral ores, precious stones and other such inorganic substances. Smelting-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The remains of the Day Dream Smelter are a significant item of the environmental heritage of New South Wales as an important item in the mining and industrial history of the Broken Hill-Silverton area which pre-dates the development of Broken Hill itself. (Branch Managers Report to the Heritage Council 27 July 1981)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
What remains of the smelter is interesting and very strongly evocative. Standing in dramatic isolation on a round hill in the arid Barrier Range, it remains a prominent reminder of the intense activity and high expectations which were later eclipsed by the wealth of the lode at Broken Hill.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
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.

FRANK SARTOR
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

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0018202 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0018211 Feb 83 280661

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1981Branch Managers Report to the Heritage Council 27 July 1981
WrittenSpearitt, Peter2018'Where History Happened'

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

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045726
File number: S90/07152 & HC 30458


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