The Story of Broken Hill

Review written by isolated writer Doreen Bolton, Port Macquarie

Silver Dreams is about Broken Hill NSW (alias The Silver City) and in most part dedicated to miners who lost their lives at the mines. The information in this book has been thoroughly researched and is an easy read. It includes photographs and sketches and is hard to put down. Vivid images come to mind of the hard working men, some still in their teens, picking away, in fetid air, with only a candle light 500 feet underground - who in a split second are fighting for breath and shaking with fright - as the ground caves in, over and around them. The hopelessness of their plight is unforgettable.

Pam has woven this historical saga with several generations of families whose lives cover a time - a period from the city's beginnings to now. It describes the reality of hardship, mateship, loyalties and love experienced by men, women and children during the big strike of 1919-20 when the miners united to battle those in power to provide the miners with better conditions in order to reduce the high death rate and injuries caused by 'cave-ins'. It was a long period of sacrifice for the unemployed. Some may say the starvation, poverty and misery was a high price to pay and should have been aborted, yet others may feel it was a successful outcome as slowly conditions were improved for the benefit of all.

Silver Dreams is a 'should read' for every Australian. The minerals obtained from the Broken Hill mines did much to enhance the prosperity of our nation.

Books can be purchased from the author direct - Pam Bayfield, 158 Elanora Rd Elanora Heights 2101 at the cost of $35, including postage. Silver Dreams will be launched in Broken Hill in the latter part of this year.

Recently I had the privilege to read a book written by Pam Bayfield, which was hot off the press - Silver Dreams - The Story of Broken Hill. The book is to be officially launched in Broken Hill later this year.

I am amazed by the skill Pam has used in combining generations of miners, their families and friends, with factual history of mining developments in Broken Hill to the present day. As a published writer I know this is not an easy task.

Silver Dreams is entertaining, educational and a page turner - the reader feels an empathy with the antagonists as well as protagonists; and long after putting the book aside is left to wonder if or what other actions could have been taken to avoid the suffering during the big strike of 1919-20.

Added to an interesting story are the many original photographs as well as quirky cartoons and sketches by artist Bob Groves.

Doreen Bolton
Writing Fellow FAW NSW

Paperback Sold Out - Buy it now on Amazon for Kindle

Dear Pam,

Just finished your marvellous book which had me thrilled till the end. I shed many a tear as men died, hearts were broken, mine disasters occurred. Well written and very easy to read. A lovely historical account too which must have taken a deal of research. Good to have the pictures and cartoons as well.
Glad to see you continued on to dear June Bronhill whom I knew quite well.

Love, Renee Goossens

Dear Pam,

I'm so pleased to be able to say how much I enjoyed reading your book. It is one of the best that I have read in a long time.

Being born in Broken Hill and living here all my life, married to a miner and enduring strikes and industrial troubles while raising a son and two daughters, I could closely associate to the characters in your book.

I can also remember those terrible dust storms in fact as a young girl, I had to walk home from work during a "black dust storm " and hold on to fences so I could find my way home, arriving with very red eyes from the grit as well as stinging and sand blasted bleeding legs.

Thank you again,
Yours Sincerely

Pat Craker,
Broken Hill

Dear Pam,

I have also just finished your book. It took a little longer than planned because we had guests for 10 days and I was too tired to read at night. I really enjoyed it. Well done. It must have been hard to write with the intermingling of those families like you did. I loved that and also the history of the place, as I knew nothing of all those terrible living and working conditions. You brought it all to life for me. In fact I'm embarrassed to say I have never been there, but if I ever get back to Aus. I will put it on my list of things to do. Many, many congratulations. I hope it is paying off for you in book sales. Are they selling it in the tourist shop in B.H? They should..

Many congratulations again.

Love, Chris

Dear Pam

Many thanks for the gift of your book. What a delightful read!

I was transported back to a time when my grandparents and parents were young and living in Broken Hill.

My maternal grandfather was a miner and would have experienced first hand the difficult working conditions you described.

Even as a child in the fifties and sixties, I remember the effect on the whole town whenever there was a fatality on the mine.

Love Barbara

Hi Pam

Thank you for the opportunity to read your book - Silver Dreams.

I enjoyed it thoroughly. I thought the way you developed the characters and the plot(s) while still providing an accurate historical account of Broken Hill was masterful. I can honestly say I was reluctant to put the book down. The way Albert recapitulated the key developments of the story during his 90th birthday speech was a wonderful way to round off a good read.

I have attached a brief review of the book. I think it is a great contribution both from a literary and a historical point of view.

Congratulations and best wishes

Dr David Rumsey AM

Dear Mrs. Bayfield, I was very interested to see mention of your book in the recent probus magazine. I made a quick trip to the mona vale library, and have just this morning finished reading "Silver Dreams" I have enjoyed it very much. I was born in Broken Hill in 1936. At that time my father and both grandfathers were working on the mines, my father on the zinc, but i am not sure if that is where the grandfathers were. I came to sydney with my parents at the end of WWII.

My maternal grandma was born in 1876 in scotland and came to Adelaide in 1878 and then on to Silverton at about the same time your "albert and leon" arrived. i shared a bedroom with my grandma for many years in both B.H. and Sydney, and we spent many hours talking. She was a dear friend. Your book has reminded me of many of our conversations, and I can remember the cooler where we kept our milk and butter, the wash house at the end of the yard with the fuel copper and the copper stick. The "Dunny" at the end of the yard. You had to make sure the "Dunny Man" had been before you went in there, and it was a good place to stay away from on cracker night.

My grandmother was on the picnic train with some of her children, including my mother, the day it was attacked. My mother was about five at the time and could remember spots of blood on her white dress.

You have caused so many memories to return and yesterday I called a cousin still living in Broken Hill and a second cousin living in Canberra, both have been "doing" the family tree and told them about your book and gave them your web address. It was not until I finished the book that I found your email address.

You seem to have enjoyed a very interesting life, and I notice that you were born in Mt. Isa. One of my uncles was a diamond driller and worked in Mt. Isa for a time and also in Tasmania.

He died in 1976 just six months after my mother. They were the last of my mum's generation to pass on except for one aunt-by-marriage who died in about 1990. She was a Broken Hill girl too, one of five sisters whose father was killed in a mine accident when they were all very small.

Gosh, time is getting away and I have to see the physio (I'm part of the older generation now). Thanks for the memories. I hope your book is a great success.

Regards, Andree Hines.