As long as anyone can remember “Back ‘o’ Bourke” has been a well used Aussie colloquialism, and after visiting this great and remote dot on the map in western NSW is well earned expression and mantle. The Back of Bourke display centre (museum) is a must visit for those who have an interest in outback characters, artists and music.

Burke is a small town many kilometers from other equally small towns. So remote in fact the road from Nyngan is 203 kilometers without a bend. Given Bourke’s remoteness the traveler is well advised to have any accommodation plans booked in advance. Should the town be booked out, a further minimum 100 plus k trip will lie ahead.

Bourke is settled on the banks of the Darling River, of which for most years is low and dry. This year (2010) the river is flowing.

The site of Bourke was first reached by British settlers in the 1820s and the town originally called Prattenville, was later named after Governor Richard Bourke of New South Wales in the 1830s.

Bourke was a port, where goods and passengers travelled by paddle steamer along the Murray-Darling river system. However, the use of river transport declined when the railway reached Bourke in 1885. The railway closed in 1990 after flooding caused significant damage to the line.

Bourke in the summer months is a hot place and in 1895 a heat wave killed 47 people in Bourke over a 13 day period. In that time the daily maximum temperature averaged 47°C (116.6°F). Plan you visit for the cooler months.

Fred Hollows the famous eye surgeon was buried in Bourke after his death in 1993. Fred Hollows had worked in Bourke in the early 1970s and had asked to be buried there.

The traditional Church faiths are represented in Bourke.

The Bourke War Memorial is in the town centre.

The Hotels in Bourke are of the ‘old’ design and semi classic.

Bourke is a town that should be on your must visit list. Outback and remote.

Heritage diary



Fireplace Dump Station
General Store Bottled Gas
Internet Caravan
Camping 4WD
Kitchen Facilities Disabled access
Laundry Toilets
Campervans Accommodation
Meals Airport
Pets Allowed Boat Ramp
Telephone Picnic Area
Roadside Rest Area Electricity
Scenic Swimming
Tap water   Thermal Area
Stream Water   Walking tracks
Rotary Club Lions Club
Gymnasium   Gardens
Winery Whitewater Rafting
Surfing   Skydiving
Skiing Scenic Flights
Postal Service Police
Movie Location   Mountain Biking
Kayaking   Jet Boating
Information Hospital
Hang Gliding Golf Course