In the 1880s, the Barrier Rangers were alive with activity.
Mining claims sprung up as pioneers arrived to seek their fortune in the outback earth.
Established in 1880, Silverton was the area's largest township as it offered a central, flat position and a water supply.
Originally called Umberumberka after the nearby township from which it was considered an offshoot, Silverton was truly born in 1883 when its name was proclaimed and it received a post office in 1883.
At that time, Silverton boasted a population of 250, but in a matter of months that number had doubled.
Within two years, 3,000 people had set up shop in Silverton - the peak of the township's population.
Once Silverton was established, it quickly began to flourish, with businesses, medical practitioners, solicitors, and entrepreneurs of every type springing up to line the streets.
The Silverton Municipal Council was formed in 1886 and held its inaugural meeting the following January.
As the town grew, the traditional methods of transport - wagons drawn by animals - had been all but exhausted. It became apparent that a railway line would be of benefit. While the South Australian Government constructed a line as far as the border, the NSW Government declined to extend the line through their territory.
Thus, the Silverton Tramway Company - locally and privately owned - was formed to build and operate the line. It was opened in 1888 and ran from Cockburn, through Silverton and on to the newly discovered Broken Hill.
The line functioned up until 1970, having transported 57 million tonnes of freight and 2,881,000 passengers, when trains were re-routed at Cockburn to bypass Silverton.
In its heyday Silverton boasted every convenience, including a newspaper, Masonic Lodge, goal, gymnasium, hospital, jockey club, football team and Methodist Church.
The trade union movement, popularised by its successes in Broken Hill, originated in Silverton in 1884.
Although less than 60 people live in Silverton today, the town has enjoyed a new life.
Information sourced from "Silverton", by RHB Kearns.
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