Southern Cross

A regional centre for the surrounding agricultural district. It began as a gold mining town. Southern Cross can be seen as either the last town on the edge of the wheatbelt or the first town on the Eastern Goldfields.

Around Town

The Old Cemetery, located at the eastern end of Southern Cross, has been redeveloped by the Southern Cross Historical Society as a Pioneer Memorial. It was only used from 1891-1898 and consequently is an important reminder of the miners and pioneers who first settled this inhospitable area. The high incidence of typhoid on the early goldfield is dramatically recalled on the headstones of many of the miners.

The Registrar's Office and Court House (now the town's Museum), located in Antares Street, was built in 1891 at the height of the town?s goldrush. It continued to operate until 1976 when the court was moved to new premises. It was in this building that Paddy Hannan took out his Miner's Right and it was to this building that Arthur Bayley came to register the claim which subsequently became the rich fields at Coolgardie. This was also the location of the first claim on the Lake Dundas (Norseman) goldfields.

Like so many Goldfields towns, Southern Cross sprawls. One of the town?s most delightful characteristics is that all of the streets, maintaining the stellar associations of the town, are named after constellations. Thus there is Sirius Street, Altair Street, Centaur Street, Orion Street, Spica Street and so on.

Hunt's Soak

(7 km north) Constructed by convicts in 1865, the soak is one in a remarkable daisychain of wells and soaks which provided the whole of south eastern Western Australia with water until C.Y. O'Connor built his pipeline.

Number 6 Pumping Station

(11 km east at Ghooli) One of a series of eight steam pumping stations used to carry water to Kalgoorlie on C. Y. O'Connor's remarkable water pipeline. Listed by the National Estate, the station was still being used as recently as 1969 when it was replaced by electric pumps.

Fraser's Mine

The old headframes, those symbols of early underground gold mining, are still on the lease. Nearby is the modern open cut mine which is still exploiting the quartz and greenstone fault which Hugh Fraser identified as being rich in gold over a century ago.

Karalee Reservoir

(37 km east) Karalee Dam was constructed to provide water for slow steam trains en route to Kalgoorlie. The site was chosen mainly because of the granite outcrop; with rain the outcrop becomes a natural catchment area. Construction between 1896–1897, its capacity 10.6 million gallons, 1487 feet above sea level and 25 feet in depth. Retaining walls of granite slab, all cut from the top of the rock and laid by hand, surround the enormous rock catchment.

This enables the water to flow off the rock into the dam via a large semi-circular aqueduct of steel, hand riveted at each joint, which is still in very good condition considering its age and the natural harsh elements. To reflect upon the unbelievable manual labour and horsepower involved in this construction, is well worth the journey. It is now a popular picnic spot and camping spot.


Mt Palmer

(46 km) A goldmining town which burst into life in 1934 following the discovery of goldvby a prospector, Augustus Palmer. The town boasted boarding houses, bakeries, butchers, a school and a medicine shop. At its height the population of Mount Palmer was estimated at 500.

The war took many young workers away, the mine struggled to cope with the labour shortage and never recovered. By the end of 1943 Mount Palmer was almost a ghost town. All that remains of "The most pretentious Two storey hotel" built in Goldfields at the time is the brick archway. The bricks were eventually carted to Kalgoorlie and built into the building now occupied by Bankwest in Hannan Street. The rest of the town has been reclaimed by the bush.

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Where is it?

370 km east of Perth on Great Eastern Highway; 109 km east north east of Merredin.

Mount Manning Range

remote mountain range where a 700kg delta wing-shaped meteorite was found in August 1979. A cairn and plaque mark the site. This area is of exceptionally high conservation value for its rare, restricted and endemic plant life and habitats.

Lake Barlee

An intermittent salt lake, at 1,980 it is the second largest lake in Western Australia. Lake Barlee was first encountered by John Forrest on 18 May 1869 whiule searching for the lost explorer Ludwig Leichhardt. He named it after Frederick Barlee, the Colonial Secretary of Western Australia.

Granite Loop Trail

A drive through the Eastern Wheatbelt and Central Agricultural regions of Western Australia, visiting the many picturesque granite outcrops in these area. Experience the striking beauty of massive granite outcrops that rise out of the landscape where an abundance of natural vegetation is waiting to be discovered. Wandoo, Salmon Gum, dense Honeymyrtles and Tea tree Thickets give way to flowering Granite Kunzea with their gnarled shapes.



Explorers had passed through the area decades before gold was discovered. H M Lefroy, for example, in his Journal of the Eastern Exploring Expedition (1863) declared that the area had great agricultural potential. The area had also been explored by the indomitable Charles Cooke Hunt (who duly sunk a few wells) and John Forrest. Some pastoralists had moved into the area by the 1880s but it was really the discoveries of Thomas Risely and Mick Toomey in 1887?88 which established the area as an important goldfield. Risely and Toomey claimed they had been led to their discovery by the Southern Cross and they named the goldfield after the constellation.

There was a small goldrush but it was short-lived (this was an area of reef gold not alluvial gold) because on 17 September 1892 a young Queenslander, Arthur Wellesly Bayley, rode into Southern Cross with 554 oz of gold which he had discovered at Fly Flat (now Coolgardie). The discovery started the greatest gold rush in West Australian history. Overnight the miners who had flocked to the Southern Cross diggings moved to the more lucrative eastern fields.

The town's growth was dramatic but it was never a boisterous centre like Coolgardie or Kalgoorlie. In 1891 the Eastern Goldfields first courthouse was built. By 1893 it had become a municipality. And in 1894 the railway arrived giving the town fast and reliable access to the coast. Today the area produces oats, barley, wheat, sheep and gold but the average annual rainfall of 279 mm means that the land is marginal. In recent times the fluctuating price of gold has seen renewed interest in the Southern Cross area with both Broken Hill Metals NL and Golden Valley Mines NL being the main operators in the region.

Origin of name: the original prospecting party to find gold here named the area after the Southern Cross constellation they had used at when travelling at night.

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