At the centre of the Goldfields is Kalgoorlie, bustling with the latest gold booms - the town's grand colonial architecture is well kept and lies testament to its success and the hardships that have been overcome. Responsible for producing a tenth of the world's gold until recently the current world gold price flashed across a screen on the main street to emphasise the central role this town plays in the gold industry.
Kalgoorlie is Australias largest inland city and is the heart of gold mining in Australia. 579km east of Perth, Kalgoorlie boasts grand historic buildings, fine dining, character accommodation, even a five star resort and a busy nightlife and a warm country welcome.
The famous Kalgoorlie Race Round, historic Coolgardie and nearby ghost towns, gold panning, and world famous Two-up games are all part of the living history of the goldfields. The area has been called richest square mile on earth and you can visit the impressive operational open-cut Super Pit mine.
Men made massive fortunes overnight after Irishman Paddy Hannan found gold in 1893. The influx of miners was huge, by 1902 the town had grown to house over 30000 people in shanty shacks, tents and in gracious buildings. Kalgoorlie was the frontier, with an amazing 93 hotels in operation at its peak.
Before the railway went to the goldfields, staples and luxuries alike were sailed into Esperance on the coast, then carted inland to Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie. The genius of Charles Yelverton OConnor, an Irish immigrant was responsible for getting the railways into the outback to make life easier for the pioneers.
There was no potable water in the goldfields, and development of the Kalgoorlie Boulder Coolgardie goldfields was severely hindered until the completion of another feat of engineering genius when a massive water pipeline was built to pump and carry water from Perth out to Mount Charlotte in Kalgoorlie for the harsh, dry Goldfields.
Again, the Irish immigrant engineer, CY OConnor was the genius responsible for opening up the harsh and cruelly dry outback of Western Australia. Today, gold mining continues with Kalgoorlie Boulder producing around ten percent of the worlds gold output. Nickel is mined at nearby Kambalda.
Tent cities and camps allowed the Great Boulder Mine to open up the Golden Mile, the richest square mile on the earth! This soon grew into the town of Boulder. Fifty or so mines still operate in Kalgoorlie and about half of those mine for gold, the rest seek nickel, copper, lime, salt and silver. The massive Super Pit is the most popular attraction in Kalgoorlie. The pit is some 295m deep, 3km long and 1.5km wide. Stand high on a lookout and watch the 24-hour operations of this incredible open-cut gold mine and marvel at the massive vehicles as they move their golden load below, looking for all the world like tonka toys.
You can feel the living history of the gold rush through the magnificent colonial architecture of Kalgoorlie. Fine examples include the Town Hall, Post Office and Government Buildings complex. The grand buildings, many still intact, announce that the town was built on a foundation of gold, boasting all the pleasures and rewards that hard workingmen require. Located in the heart of Kalgoorlies town centre, The Palace Hotel was built in 1896 and is a local landmark and tourism icon of the Goldfields. Langtrees 181 is a major attraction on the red light districts Hay Street that tells the stories of the many oladies of the night that came to the area, following the camps and the nuggets the men found.
With elegance to rival any in Australia, the grand buildings of Kalgoorlie Boulder continue to operate as the town halls, hotels, banks and shops they were designed all those years ago. Wander the wide paved streets - camera ready to capture this vibrant oasis in the desert.
Enjoy the vibrancy of this bustling town. Visit one of the many proper Aussie pubs, grab a cold drink and explore the photos and memorabilia over the walls. You will feel the special country warmth of the Kalgoorlie welcome. Perhaps share a yarn with a local character or two. But don't be surprised if that unassuming looking fellow with the long beard just happens to be a gold prospecting millionaire.
Kalgoorlie Diggers and Dealers
The Kalgoorlie Diggers and Dealers started as a meeting of like-minded businessmen and has grown to become the worlds foremost mining convention. The town fills up to the brim with corporate types and bush miners, all enjoying the mateship and rich ambience of wonderful outback Kal.
Paddy Hannans statue, on Kalgoorlies main street, has become a symbol of the immigrant Aussie battler who struck it rich. The Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame just 7km north of Kalgoorlie highlights the past, present and future of Australian mining. The museum cost $25 million to create and is open every day. Here, you can visit its galleries, go on an underground tour, pan for gold and watch gold being poured. Admission also includes a visit to Hannans North Tourist Mine for an underground tour through old mine shafts, see a gold pour and try your luck panning for gold. The Golden Mile Railway, known as The Rattler, will take you on a tour of Kalgoorlie giving you a great overall perspective of the town and its surrounds.
Accommodation options in Kalgoorlie include original gold-rush hotels, family holiday parks, motel style, and even a luxurious modern 5 star resort. Fine dining can be savoured in award-winning renowned restaurants, or a casual lunch can be taken on the balcony of a heritage hotel overlooking the hustle and bustle of the Goldfields regional hub. Or you might choose to dine alfresco in a tropical garden setting.
The fabled Kalgoorlie Race Round is held annually in September. A serious must for fans of horse racing and an essential social event for everyone who wants to see and be seen enjoying the fun filled days of country racing at its' best.
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