Historical coup for city

Friday, 7th July, 2017

The home of William Jamieson on Block 14 as it appeared in 1888. Picture courtesy of the Broken Hill Historical Society. The home of William Jamieson on Block 14 as it appeared in 1888. Picture courtesy of the Broken Hill Historical Society.

By Michael Murphy

In a major coup for the city, a house believed to be the city’s oldest is on the road to restoration now it is in the hands of the Broken Hill Historical Society.

The State Government this week gave the former mine manager’s house in Proprietary Square to the society, which has big plans to turn it into a mining museum.

“The house is going to be called Jamieson House ... and it will be Broken Hill’s first house,” said the society’s secretary, Jenny Camilleri, OAM.

“Broken Hill hasn’t got a special house, but now we have.”

The stone building was the home of one of the city’s forefathers, William Jamieson, a six-foot tall Scotsman who was the Silver City’s first mine manager and a major shareholder in BHP.

The structure was built around 1884 or 1885. It’s within walking distance of the historical BHP chimney in McGillivray Drive where the mining giant’s first office once stood.

In recent times, the manager’s house had fallen into disrepair and become the target of vandals.

“After looking into who actually owned the property, I found out that it was owned by the Department of Primary Industries,” Jenny said.

“I have been dealing with them for a few weeks or more, and I got official word yesterday that the house has been allocated to the Broken Hill Historical Society in the NSW Government Gazette.

“It’s just so exciting ... we just can’t believe it.”

She said the department would try and source some funding to help kick-start the project, but the volunteer group intended to seek further grants to make the mining museum a reality.

Plans include housing exhibits from the overflowing and hugely successful Silverton Gaol museum, and building a car park in the vacant block next to the house.

A couple of “trustees” will initially look after the property, but the society hopes more people will come on board and help return the building to its former glory.

The interior of the building - the thick, solid stone walls and wooden floorboards - remain in good condition, but a couple of areas need re-plastering, Jenny said.

“We are very surprised about the time it has taken to get this resolved,” she said.

“I have nothing but praise for the (department).

“It’s great news, it’s good for Broken Hill.”