PS Providence historic site

Kinchega National Park

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Overview

Step back in time at the historic site of the explosion of the PS Providence on the banks of the Darling River in Kinchega National Park.

Type
Historic buildings/places
Where
Kinchega National Park
Accessibility
Hard
Price
Free
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
Hat, drinking water, sunscreen

You might wonder what the lace monitors and bearded dragons make of it, but the rusty hunk of metal on the banks of the Darling River marks the site of a major tragedy. In 1872 the boiler on the riverboat PS Providence exploded, killing all on board except one.

It could have been a mechanical problem, or human error due to a large celebration in Menindee the night before. The only thing that is certain is that the explosion was so loud it was heard in the Kinchega Woolshed, and so powerful that it threw the ship's cook into a tree.

However, as you picnic under the shade of the majestic gums reflecting on the history of the area, the trees will be filled with kingfishers, egrets and black kites instead.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/historic-buildings-places/ps-providence-historic-site/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about PS Providence historic site.

Getting there and parking

PS Providence is on the southern end of River Drive of Kinchega National Park.

Road quality

Check the weather before you set out as the road to PS Providence may be closed during heavy rain.

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • Dry weather only

Parking

Parking is available at PS Providence historic site.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Kinchega National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

Spring

It's a great time for a camping trip when the weather is a bit cooler and the park is springing to life after the sleepy winter.

Summer

Cool off after a hot day of exploring in the park's rivers or lakes.

Winter

Throw in your line below Weir 32 on the Darling river – you might catch a golden perch. You'll need a current NSW recreational fishing licence though, and you must abide by bag limits and protected species fishing laws.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

18°C and 34°C

Highest recorded

49.7°C

Winter temperature

Average

5°C and 19°C

Lowest recorded

-3.5°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

May and October

Driest month

April

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

150.6mm

Facilities

  • You'll need to bring drinking and cooking water
  • Non-flush toilets are located along River Drive

Picnic tables

Carpark

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency Plus app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

Outback safety

Safety is of high priority in outback areas. In summer, temperatures can reach up to 50°C in some places. Food, water and fuel supplies can be scarce. Before you head off, check for road closures and use our contacts to stay safe in the outback.

Paddling safety

To make your paddling or kayaking adventure safer and more enjoyable, check out these paddling safety tips.

River and lake safety

The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

Accessibility

Disability access level - hard

Wheelchairs can access this area with some difficulty

Prohibited

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Visitor centre

  • Kinchega Visitor Centre
    673 Woolshed Drive, Menindee NSW 2879
  • Kinchega Visitor Centre is always open but it's unstaffed (self service)

Learn more

PS Providence historic site is in Kinchega National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Aboriginal cultural heritage

River Drive campground, Kinchega National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

This is the traditional land of the Paakantji nation who came together to share the bounty of the flood. These river people caught fish by spearing from a canoe or while diving and used nets and fish traps made from baskets. Artefacts and special sites in the area date back an incredible 35,000 years. Many of the staff at Kinchega are of Aboriginal descent and can provide a wealth of information and knowledge about the area. You could also participate in a Discovery tour to find out more about the Aboriginal culture and history of the park.

  • Games and fun activities at Kinchega This is a program of fun games and activities we can play together in Kinchega National Park or Discovery rangers can visit your school. Designed for Stage 2 (Years 3-4) students with a focus on HSIE, choose some of these games: the Aboriginal site game, tracks and traces, Barkindji bush foods or the threatened species game.
  • Kinchega Visitor Centre Find useful tourist information at Kinchega Visitor Centre. Get details on birdwatching and touring the Darling River and Menindee Lakes near Broken Hill in outback NSW.

Life in all its splendour

Emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae) in Kinchega National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Lace monitors patrol the banks when it's warm, the Peron's tree frog sends out a call like laughter in the night and flocks of pink and black cockatoos use tree hollows to nest. Remember not to collect firewood - fallen timber is the home of the kultarr, a small, mouse-sized marsupial with large ears, long delicate legs and a thin tail tipped with a dark tuft.

  • Kinchega National Park field study Join a ranger in sampling abiotic factors and use these to assess the abundance and distribution of plants and animals on the floodplain sand dune interface, as part of the Preliminary Biology or Senior Science field studies.

Pastoral heritage

Kinchega Woolshed, Kinchega National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Encounter Australia's pastoral history at the classic, colonial historic Kinchega Woolshed and Old Kinchega Homestead, and learn of the trials and tribulations of early settlers. Kinchega is the location where Burke and Wills picked up William Wright, manager of Kinchega Station. His failure to meet Burke and Wills at the assigned time sealed the doomed expedition's fate.

  • Geography of Homestead Bend Geography of Homestead Bend in Kinchega National Park is a school excursion for Stage 4 (Years 7-8) students focusing on geography. Learn how the Homestead Billabong was formed and how the environment changes as it leaves the Darling River.
  • Kinchega Visitor Centre Find useful tourist information at Kinchega Visitor Centre. Get details on birdwatching and touring the Darling River and Menindee Lakes near Broken Hill in outback NSW.
  • Kinchega Woolshed Visit the beautiful historic Kinchega Woolshed for a glimpse into Australian pastoral history and imagine the heyday of this place, where six million sheep were sheared.
  • Menindee Lakes and Kinchega guided tours Sign up for this wide-ranging tour of Kinchega National Park and other scenic Outback highlights with the experienced guides of Broken Hill City Sights and Heritage Tours.
  • Old Kinchega Homestead tour Old Kinchega Homestead tour is a Stage 2 (Years 3-4) school excursion in Kinchega National Park, focusing on HSIE. Take a walk around the Old Kinchega Homestead ruins with a NSW National Parks ranger, and learn about life on the land for Aboriginal people and life on a pastoral station during the pioneer days.
  • PS Providence historic site Step back in time at the historic site of the explosion of the PS Providence on the banks of the Darling River in Kinchega National Park.
  • Woolly tales tour On this school excursion in Kinchega National Park, Stage 2 (Years 3-4) students will learn about Kinchega's vast pastoral history and woolshed operations while taking a guided tour of the historic Kinchega Woolshed.
Show more

The colourful beauty of the floodplains

Pigface on the floodplains of Kinchega National Park. Photo. Julieanne Doyle

When the Darling river fills, majestic river red gums break the surface and birdlife flocks to the lake system by the thousand. When it empties, the land is a beautiful bright green. In spring you'll see vibrant splashes of purple as the Darling river pea begins to flower. Sitting outside your tent just before nightfall is a special time - the sunsets at Kinchega are out of this world.

  • Menindee Lakes and Kinchega guided tours Sign up for this wide-ranging tour of Kinchega National Park and other scenic Outback highlights with the experienced guides of Broken Hill City Sights and Heritage Tours.
  • Morton Boulka picnic area This remote lakeside picnic area buzzes with birdlife, offers the chance to paddle and swim, as well as explore unique Aboriginal Heritage in Kinchega National Park.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Wedge-tailed eagle. Photo: Kelly Nowak

    Wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax)

    With a wingspan of up to 2.5m, the wedge-tailed eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey. These Australian animals are found in woodlands across NSW, and have the ability to soar to heights of over 2km. If you’re bird watching, look out for the distinctive diamond-shaped tail of the eagle.

  • Emu, Paroo Darling National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

    The largest of Australian birds, the emu stands up to 2m high and is the second largest bird in the world, after the ostrich. Emus live in pairs or family groups. The male emu incubates and rears the young, which will stay with the adult emus for up to 2 years.

  • Red kangaroo, Sturt National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Red kangaroo (Macropus rufus)

    The red kangaroo is one of the most iconic Australian animals and the largest marsupial in the world. Large males have reddish fur and can reach a height of 2m, while females are considerably smaller and have blue-grey fur. Red kangaroos are herbivores and mainly eat grass.

Plants

  • Saltbush. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Saltbush (Atriplex nummularia)

    A hardy Australian native plant, the saltbush is a small spreading shrub that can withstand dry salty soils such as those found in the desert plains of western NSW. It is grey-white in colour and has small spear-shaped succulent leaves. It flowers from December to April.

  • Sturt's desert pea. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Sturt's desert pea (Swainsona formosa)

    One of Australia’s most famous desert wildflowers, Sturt’s desert pea is found across inland arid regions of Australia, including far west NSW. One of the most easily-recognised Australian native plants, Sturt’s desert pea thrives in red sandy soil, or loam, and has vibrant red leaf-shaped flowers with a black centre, known as a ‘boss’.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

School excursions (6)