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
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.
(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
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
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.
(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.
(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.