Welcome to Burra
Not previously having heard of Burra, our original plan was for a quick stopover on our way to the Flinders Ranges, instead we were pleasantly surprised with all that this small town of 2000 people had to offer. For us, our overnight stopover turned into a 3 night stay as we found there was more to this area than we first thought, making it an ideal location for Campers and Caravanners to base themselves and explore the region.
Located only 164km north of Adelaide and approximately 239km south of the Flinders Ranges, Burra was once a thriving copper mining town, however since the mines closed, it has become a major pastoral centre rich in agricultural activities.
Sheep grazing in the paddocks
Rich in history, it is also known to be one of the best-preserved towns of the Victorian era in Australia. It offers plenty of places to stay for campers and caravanners, and offers a wide variety of services, including supermarkets, hardware, medical services, cafe’s and speciality shops.
After Kapundra, Burra is the earliest mine, particularly, copper, and industrial town not just in Southern Australia but in the whole continent. Discovered in 1845 it presents the earliest example of transplanted Cornish mining and agricultural sectors in Australia. Both, Burra and Kapundra were significant in saving South Australia in becoming a financial ruin in the 1840’s.
Remnants of the mining days
The mine sites are well-preserved with many original buildings still intact or refurbished including the Pump Engine House, which currently serves as a museum. Several chimney stacks are still standing and dot the landscape, they can be seen in closer detail along the Passport Heritage Trail which incorporates the old Redruth Gaol, Miner’s dugout cottages in the creek bank, a row of miners cottages built in the 1850, the cellars of the demolished Unicorn Brewery and many other historic places.
The Old Redruth Gaol
Depending on what time of year you arrive in Burra, there are a host of annual events to keep you entertained.
Burra Fun Run
Held in October each year, the Burra Fun Run has 3km, 5km and 10km fun run-walk events aimed at encouraging all ages and levels of fitness to join in by running or walking around the town.
Burra AGL Country Music Festival
Held each September, the Burra AGL Country Music Festival provides 3 days of non-stop entertainment. Located at the local showgrounds, this festival includes national quality artists and a great atmosphere. There are plenty of food and beverage vans and camping in available on site.
Check out the Burra Country Music Festival
Burra Picnic Races – Thistlebeds
October sees the Burra Picnic Races, also known as Thistle Beds Races, held each year. This event is ideal for all age groups and is a charity event that raises funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service as well as a platform to support community groups and organisations. It includes barrel racing, gymkhana, horse racing, spectator events, night entertainment, full catering, bar and camping.
Off and racing!
Things to Do and See
Morphett’s Enginehouse Museum
Situated in Burra Monster Mine, the Morphett’s Engine House was established in 1858 but was later burned down by fire in 1925. It was later rebuilt in 1986. In this museum, visitors will see the only known reconstructed Cornish engine house in the world. A guide will relay the workings of the engine and pump system used to de-water the mine. Visitors would also be able to walk through an underground duct and view the mine shaft.
Morphett’s Enginehouse Museum
Burra Heritage Passport
A highlight and must do if visiting Burra is the Heritage Passport Tour. It is a self-guided tour and the passport gives access to numerous locked sites, including Powder Magazine, explosives used at the mine sites, Police Lockup and Stables, Hampton Smelts Paddock, Malwen Lowarth, Monster Mine area, Redruth Gaol, the underground Unicorn Brewery cellars and the Dugouts.
The passport tour grants access to the old mining cottages
This passport also comes with a free entry to Burra’s museums during open times. In addition to these, a step-by-step guidebook is provided to discover the heritage trail at one’s leisure. The 11km heritage trail has been clearly marked out around the town, with 49 sites along its route. Visitors can keep the passport during their stay in Burra so, they can take as long as they want to learn about Burra’s wonderful past.
Where to Stay
For campers and RV’ers there are a variety of locations to stay at including:
Burra Creek Gorge – Worlds End Gorge – Burra Creek Gorge is located near Worlds End Highway and ideal for boating enthusiasts, offering campsites in a large bush setting.
Redbanks Conservation Park – Find a quiet spot to camp among the old growth Mallee. An ideal setting for birdwatching, spacious designated sites offer vehicle-based camping.
Burra Caravan & Camping Park – With full amenities, this park is situated on the picturesque Burra Creek and few minutes walk from the town.
Burra Showgrounds – Offering powered or un-powered sites over an open grassy area and very close to the town area.