NSW Top Tourism Town Finalist

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Tiny Town: population under 1,500 residents

09:00 Fri 28 April - till - 17:00 Fri 12 May.
Members of the public may lodge only one vote for one town in each category. See Terms & Conditions.


One of the major problems with classification is that it is temporal. Technically, almost everything in the world is in a state of change, morphing into its next iteration, like coal into diamonds. To classify Milparinka as a tiny town is to fix it in our current time, where, with a resident population of around eight or nine amid a regional population of less than one hundred people, it certainly belongs. The story of Milparinka however, is one of industry, endeavour, hope, speculation and history, and in that story, told now through the Sturts Steps exhibitions and touring trail, the town grows, spreads and booms again into a relative metropolis of Western NSW. It is a must-visit town with exceptional attractions and amenity. 

Located just off the Silver City Highway in the far West of NSW, Milparinka is one of a handful of villages and localities which, along with the vast pastoral holdings and national parks, constitute what is known as the ‘Corner Country’. The ‘corner’ itself is Cameron Corner which marks the meeting point of South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, and now the top of the ‘Sturts Steps’ touring route which links Broken Hill to the region with tourist infrastructure, amenity and art.

It’s not a surprise to find Milparinka, the Sturt’s Steps touring route has foreshadowed its existence and telescoped its influence for hundreds of kilometres through many sculptures, artworks, carvings, signage and displays. What is surprising is the sense of overall completeness that is conveyed to the recently arrived traveller among the few remaining buildings of what was clearly a significant settlement.




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Dotted around the fringes of the wide-open main street of Milparinka are the remnant ruins of the heritage that inspired Ruth Sandow and a team of Milparinka Visiting Volunteers to undertake the restoration and preservation within the village. Still standing square and tall are the impressive colonial sandstone constructions constituting courthouse, police barracks and post office now serving as the centrepieces of what is a living museum, and the local visitors centre, where a roster of volunteers guide travellers through the assembled array of information collected and presented throughout the town and region.

Arranged and presented within the carefully restored buildings and recent additions and extensions are an enormous array of objects, writings, images, videos, an outstanding mineral and rock collection, sculptural art works and interactive displays. 

Interpretive panels have been carefully researched and articulated in precise but accurate depictions of the history of the town and region.


Every aspect of life in the remote goldfield settlement has been carefully considered, captured and lovingly rendered using the most effective and modern technologies available. The effect is full immersion into 1880’s Australia, capturing the essence of the place, the people, the industry and the colony at that time. 

Almost devoid of artificial light, Milparinka distinguishes itself with its quality of starry nights and a dark sky park where visitors can view the milky-way and constellations of the southern sky through the lens of indigenous and European culture. 

Landscaped native gardens complement the built environment and add colour and life to an otherwise stark and barren environment, achieved through efficient water usage and capture. Solar energy powers many of the installations.

This achievement would be remarkable in an accessible, urban centre with significant population and resources to match. Here in the most remote reaches of a characteristically remote area, it is not merely unlikely, but positively miraculous. 

Designed to facilitate the traveller with an interest in Australian history and culture the community has been purposefully re-built to accommodate caravanning and camping adventurers on their journey through the outback. Powered sites and well-appointed amenities overlook the shady waterhole and are maintained by volunteers while the nearby historic Albert Hotel also caters for visitors with excellent meals, cool refreshments and accommodation. 

With Milparinka as a base, travellers are encouraged to also explore the region, especially navigating to the nearby historic Depot Glen and Sturt’s Cairn, features of the eponymous explorer’s 1845 ‘expedition into the interior’.

Time has found a way to accommodate all things in Milparinka, a long Aboriginal heritage and occupation bookended by early exploration. The frenzied growth of a gold-mining boom which saw major industry, construction and municipality take hold, and just as quickly fade away. Pastoralism, mineral exploration, drought flood and famine all have taken their turn to imprint their mark the town. And now a confluence of objects, energy, story, passion and determination, have brought Milparinka its newest iteration.   Milparinka is a modern, enlightening and excellent expression of a tiny town and one that is definitely worth visiting.


Two days in Milparinka

The Milparinka Caravan Park caters for the self-sufficient travellerwith level powered and unpowered sites for vans and tents. For thosewho need a bed, then the Milparinka Hotel will be the place for you.


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