Kalgoorlie

A frontier mining town that has refused to lay down and die, Kalgoorlie and its sister city, Boulder, remains one of the most prosperous rural mining cities in Australia.

With the nearby locality of Boulder and surrounding suburbs it forms one local government area, the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. With a current approximate population of 30,000, Kalgoorlie is the largest urban centre in the Goldfields-Esperance region.

Places, famous or infamous, that Kalgoorlie is noted for include its water pipeline, designed by C. Y. O'Connor, which brings in fresh water from Mundaring Weir near Perth; its Hay Street brothels (the street itself was apparently named after Hay Street, Perth); its two-up school; the goldfields railway loopline; the Kalgoorlie Town Hall; the Paddy Hannan statue/drinking fountain; the Super Pit; and Mt. Charlotte lookout. Its main street is Hannan Street, named after the town's founder. One of the infamous brothels has since been turned into a museum and is a major national attraction.


Events:

April: Heart of Gold Festival

May: Multicultural Festival


Hannan Street

Kalgoorlie’s Hannan Street, between Wilson and Porter Streets, is one of Australia’s finest heritage precincts, offering a treasure trove of Federation-era architecture. From the late 1890s through to 1910, Hannan Street was transformed from a dusty track into a sophisticated boulevard, lined with shops, hotels and government buildings, and served every few minutes by a tram network that was then Australia’s most modern. During this period of transformation, Hannan Street was one of the most photographed streets in regional Australia, captured repeatedly by the likes of the great goldfields photographer J.J. Dwyer, whose images are the subject of several books.


Buildings of note

Kalgoorlie Town Hall and Council Chambers

A solid two storey Federation Classical style building. The complex includes a municipal office, council rooms, Mayor's parlour, banqueting room, auditorium and stage facilities. A back wall was razed by a cyclone. This building is still used as planned. The Town Hall's opulent interior includes a painted pressed metal ceiling. 316 Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, WA.

York Hotel

An outstanding Federation era pub both in external and internal character, although now lacking some of the original details and colours. Built in 1901, it is one of the few surviving examples of a bombastic town hotel of the gold rush era that gives the impression the town had more money than it knew what to do with. Built of local brick with a corrugated giant mansard roof and two highly decorated onion-domed towers, this Second Empire style hotel features a beautifully carved staircase and exhudes a distinctive old world charm. 259 Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, WA

Exchange Hotel

One of Australia's most photographed hotels, it is perhaps the quintessential Australian pub - a sprawling two storey building on a corner location with a red corrugated iron roof, corner tower and double storey timber-railed verandah stretching out over the pavement on both street fronts. It is a characteristic Goldfields design reflecting the Edwardian exuberance of the hotel industry around the turn of the 20th century. The Exchange Hotel has been sympathetically redecorated internally and externally. 135 Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, WA


Hannans North Tourist Mine

Hannans North, previously the Mining Hall of Fame, has now been given a new lease of life and some of the tourist attractions are now re-open.  Offering information on all aspects of the KCGM operation; pan for gold, or get up close to a dump truck and shovel scale model of the Super Pit. 

The refurbished attraction re-opened and now offers a range of memorable visitor experiences, including, gold panning, and the opportunity to climb into a giant Dump Truck as well as BBQ facilities for families to picnic on-site. Operating hours are Monday to Friday and Sundays. Located off the Goldfields Highway, 1.5km North of Hannans Street, Kalgoorlie. For further information contact Hannans North Tourist Mine: 08 9022 1664.


The Super Pit

A giant open cut gold mine approximately 3.5km long, 1.5km wide and 360 metres deep. The mine operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The mine blasts at 1pm every day, unless the prevailing winds would carry the dust over the town. Every now and again the digging reveals an old shaft containing abandoned equipment and vehicles from the earlier mines. The lookout is perched on the rim of The Super Pit.


Hammond Park

A lush green oasis housing a diverse range of activities to suit the whole family. Enjoy the walk through the park to an animal sanctuary, where you can get up close and personal to kangaroos, emus and peacocks. Hammond Park is also home to the City's impressive miniature Bavarian Castle that is said to have 40,000 gemstones decorating the facade. Location: Memorial Drive, Kalgoorlie.


Karlkurla Bushland Park

This park comprises 200 hectares of natural regrowth bushland, along with over 2,000 trees and shrubs planted by community volunteers in 2000. ‘Karlkurla’ (pronounced gull-gurl-la) is the local Aboriginal word for the Silky Pear, one of the many native bushes, trees and small plants that can now be enjoyed while strolling along the park’s 4-kilometre walk trail. Located at the end of Nankiville Road in the suburb of Hannans, the park is open year round, and is popular with bushwalkers and picnickers.


The Australian Prospectors & Miners' Hall of Fame

The Australian Prospectors & Miners' Hall of Fame was founded in 1995 as a memorial to the men and women who have made a significant contribution to the mining industry, its communities and environment in Australia. The Australian Prospectors & Miners' Hall of Fame now exists as a virtual or web-based resource where it recognises and provides information on the heritage of prospectors and miners from all parts of Australia. Some aspects of the Australian Prospectors & Miners' Hall of Fame, such as plaques honouring the inductees, continue to be housed at the Goldfields Institute of Technology, while heritage tours and the historic Hannan’s North Tourist Mine is now co-ordinated by KCGM Community Relations in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Ph 0412 884 427.


Kalgoorlie Royal Flying Doctor Service Base

The Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Centre, located at the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport, gives you the chance to find out what it’s really like to be a Flying Doctor, both now and many years ago. Hear about how the RFDS works in Western Australia and the different ways it helps patients living right across this vast State. Guided tours include information on how the RFDS operates today and a look back at the courage and determination of its founder, Reverend John Flynn, who started the service in 1928. The Kalgoorlie Base maintains the visitor centre as well as an administration office and hangar facilities at the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport. Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport. For all enquiries please call: (08) 9093 7500.

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Where is it?

Western Australia: Goldfields. 597 km east of Perth via Great Eastern Highway.

Getting there

For eastward train travellers, on the trans-continental Indian Pacific service, Kalgoorlie is the last town encountered for hundreds of kilometres before entering the vast expanse of the Nullarbor Plain. The Prospector train, run by Transwa, provides daily services to Perth.

Climate

Kalgoorlie has a dry climate with hot summers and cool winters. The average annual rainfall is 260mm on an average of 65 days and, while the average rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, there is considerable variation from year to year.


Goldfields War Museum

The Goldfields War Museum houses a vast collection of war memorabilia from citizens of the Goldfields. Walk through the rotating displays and discover the significant involvement residents of the town played during the Boer War, WWI, WWII and Vietnam; this is an enriching experience for anyone with an interest in Australia’s history of warfare.  Examine photographs, documents and objects on display to gain an in-depth understanding of the wars. In April 2010 a 5.2 magnitude earthquake struck Kalgoorlie-Boulder and as a result the Goldfields War Museum suffered extensive damage and was closed.  A small part of the exhibition has been relocated to the Kalgoorlie Town Hall – 1st Floor, corner of Hannan and Wilson Streets. Opening times are Monday to Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm. 


Western Australian Museum - Kalgoorlie-Boulder

This museum showcases the rich history of the Eastern Goldfields and the city’s mining heritage. Discover the unique role the town has played in WA’s development, both as a centre of mining and its place at the edge of the Nullarbor Plain. Explore the largest display of the State’s collection of gold bars and nuggets, step back in time to see how prospectors searched for this precious metal, and learn about the life and hardships faced by mining families during the early 1900s. While visiting the Museum enjoy fantastic panoramic views of Kalgoorlie from the Headframe.

Location: 17 Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, WA. Ph (08) 9021 8533


Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail

In the 1890s CY O’Connor engineered a pipeline to carry freshwater from Mundaring Weir to arid goldfields 560 kilometres to the east, the longest freshwater pipeline on earth. Today, this well-signposted 650 kilometre drive trail commemorates this engineering feat by following the water supply pipeline from Mundaring Weir in the Perth Hills through the golden expanses of the wheatbelt to the Mount Charlotte Reservoir overlooking Kalgoorlie. A guidebook about the trail is available for purchase from the National Trust of Australia (WA) - (08) 9321 6088 -and the Golden Pipeline website | 3 Day Drive summary.


Kanowna Heritage Trail

A ghost town in the Goldfields region, located about 20 km east of Kalgoorlie. After the discovery of gold in the area in 1893, the population rose to over 12,500 by 1899. However, the alluvial gold supply was rapidly exhausted, and underground mines following the outcropping vein produced decreasing amounts of gold, resulting in a slow but steady decrease in the population. The train station platform, two cemeteries and mine workings are all that is left of the original town of Kanowna. Signs erected by the Kalgoorlie Historical society mark the sites of significant buildings.


The Goldfields Quest Discovery Trail

A self-drive adventure for those ready to experience the Outback and one of the world's most famous gold-producing regions. Running from Coolgardie to Laverton, the trail winds through 25 interpretive sites recording the lively and fascinating history, flora and fauna of the landscape. The trail passes through a number of key contemporary and historical mining towns, the fascinating Gwalia ghost town and visit Lake Ballard with its extraordinary sculptures that rise from the remote salt lake.

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Gold prospecting

Though the gold rush days are well and truly over,there is still plenty of gold in the ground throughout the Goldfields region, which is renowned for prospecting and fossicking. To prospect in WA each person requires a Miners Right. Kalgoorlie Tours and Charters has a tour that will show the visitor how to prospect for Gold. For up to date information and assistance on gold prospecting, contact: The Department of Mines and Petroleum Kalgoorlie Office Ph. (08)  9021 9499.

It is important to note that gold prospecting and fossicking cannot be carried out in national parks, nature reserves, on Aboriginal land and heritage sites, within townsites or other classified areas such as cemeteries. You must seek permission from the landowner to enter private property, such as farmland.

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Brief history

Kalgoorlie's story began in June 1893 when prospectors Patrick (Paddy) Hannan, Tom Flanagan, and Dan O'Shea were travelling to Mt. Youle when one of their horses cast a shoe. During the resultant halt in their journey, the men noticed signs of gold in the area, and decided to stay put.

On 17th June 1893, Hannan filed a Reward Claim, leading to hundreds of men swarming to the area in search of gold and Kalgoorlie was born. The mining of gold, along with other metals such as nickel, has been a major industry in Kalgoorlie ever since. The concentrated area of large gold mines surrounding the original Hannan find is often referred to as the Golden Mile, and is considered by some to be the richest square mile of earth on the planet. The town's population was about 30,000 people in 1903 and began to grow into nearby Boulder.

The Goldfields area boomed as a whole, with an area population exceeding 200,000, mainly prospectors. It gained a notorious reputation for being a wild west with bandits and prostitutes. This rapid increase in population led to a proposed new state of Auralia but with the sudden diaspora after the Gold Rush led to plans falling through.

During the boom days there was another guest in town - typhoid. Without a reliable water supply, many died of thirst and disease. C. Y. O'Connor, an Irish engineer designed and built the world's longest freshwater pipeline designed to carry water from Perth to Kalgoorlie. It was finished in 1903. Today, this 560-kilometre "scheme of madness", as it was once called, is still flowing strong and remains the lifeblood of Kalgoorlie.

The narrow gauge Government railway line reached Kalgoorlie in the 1896; the railway service from Perth was the overnight sleeper train, The Westland, which ran until the 1970s. In 1917, a standard gauge railway line was completed, connecting Kalgoorlie to the city of Port Augusta, South Australia, and consequently the rest of the eastern states across 2000 km of desert. The standardisation of the railway connecting Perth (which changed route from the narrow gauge route) in 1968 made it possible for rail travel from Perth to Sydney - and the Indian Pacific rail service commenced soon after.

The town of Kalgoorlie and the shire of Boulder amalgamated on 1st February 1989 to become the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

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