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