he Broken Hill Proprietary Company Ltd., the Big Australian, the yardstick to judge all others.
The Broken Hill silver lode was discovered in 1883 by a boundary rider, Charles Rasp, on the Mt. Gipps sheep station in the far west of New South Wales.
A syndicate was formed by Rasp with the station manager, George MCCulloch and other station employees. Sidney Kidman was one of the early shareholders.
The syndicate formed The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Ltd. in 1885.
By 1890 a city was born. Broken Hill, sitting on what was previously a barren waste, boasted 47 hotels, 9 banks, 2 stock exchanges and of course, a brewery.
Bitter industrial disputes and the harsh working conditions made it tough for the company to prosper, but it did!
By 1909 the invention of a flotation process enabled zinc to be extracted from the tailings after the lead and silver had been extracted.
The company was led for many years by Sir Ian Mclennan and later by Brian Loton.
In 1997 BHP pulled the plug on Newcastle. The old ways of doing business had succumbed to bottom lines and balance sheets.
The last of the miners, Pasminco, will move out of Broken Hill in 2006. Broken Hill painter Jack Absalom says the decision to close the last mine is not a death knell for the outback city. He's kidding, of course!
Broken Hill was the home of opera singer June Bronhill who took her stage name from the name of the city.
BHP can be contacted at - www.bhp.com.au