A tiny outback town nestled right up against the NSW/SA border, and where donkeys roam freely around the streets, is not where you’d expect to find Hollywood calling. However, the little town of Silverton in far-western New South Wales is colloquially known as ‘Australia’s Outback Hollywood’. Located 23km north-west of Broken Hill and 1100km west of Sydney, the town was founded on the buzz and off the back of the gold mining boom of the 1880s but, these days, it’s metal of a different colour that keeps the town running – the Silver Screen.
The rustic, dilapidated, virtually abandoned feel of this historic old town captured the collective imaginations of movie directors and in the years since Hollywood discovered this outback gem, about 45 movies have been filmed there.
1. FILM FAVOURITE
Most notably, these include Mad Max 2, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, A Town Like Alice, Hostage, Razorback, and the classic Wake In Fright.
Midnight Oil, Mick Jagger and INXS have all stopped by Silverton to film, as well.
And while the cameras have been quieter in the past few years, the town is still rolling with it, replacing movie dollars with tourism ones, with thousands of people attracted by the idea of spending time on a real-life Hollywood set! There’s even a whole museum dedicated to the iconic Mad Max 2 film!
Travellers and tourists are now Silverton’s modern-day lifeblood, with caravanners swarming through the region on their outback sojourns.
It is estimated that around 100,000 people visit each year, drawn in by this beaut piece of iconic Aussie history.
2. SILVERTON HOTEL
When they drive through town, travellers will, no doubt, be greeted by some of Silverton’s friendliest residents – the donkeys – who wander up and down the main street at will, often joined by a few horses! And, apparently, the outback dwellers have developed a bit of a taste for ice creams and anyone wandering the streets with a cone in hand may find themselves with a shadow.
Couple that scene with the rusty old VW beetles dotted around town and art installations featuring long-drop dunnies and rusty old bikes and you’ve got yourself one quirky little stopover. Another great attraction is the Silverton Hotel, which features in many films and video clips. The walls of the Silverton Hotel also display old memorabilia, including an array of still photos shot on set as various films were put together around the town’s crumbling past.
3. ROADS AND RIGS
Silverton is located on a sealed road, 23km from Broken Hill. The town is wholly accessible by sealed roads and open to all vehicles, including those towing rigs of any size. Because of this, no special caravan or trailer running gear is required to access the township.
The best time to visit is in autumn, winter and spring. Avoid the extremely hot months over summer.