Kalgoorlie, known as Kalgoorlie-Boulder, is a town in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia, and is located 595 kilometres (370 mi) east-northeast of state capital Perth at the end of the Great Eastern Highway. The town was founded in 1893 during the Yilgarn-Goldfields gold rush, and is located close to the so-called “Golden Mile”.
As at the 2006 census, it had a population of 28,250, making it the largest urban centre in the Goldfields-Esperance region and the fifth-largest in Western Australia.
The name Kalgoorlie is derived from the Wangai word Karlkurla, meaning “place of the silky pears”.
In January 1893, prospectors Patrick (Paddy) Hannan, Tom Flanagan, and Dan O’Shea were travelling to Mount Youle when one of their horses cast a shoe. During the halt in their journey, the men noticed signs of gold in the area, and decided to stay put. On 17 June 1893, Hannan filed a Reward Claim, leading to hundreds of men swarming to the area in search of gold and Kalgoorlie, originally called Hannan’s, was born.
The population of the town was 2,018 (1516 males and 502 females) in 1898.
The mining of gold, along with other metals such as nickel, has been a major industry in Kalgoorlie ever since, and today employs about one-quarter of Kalgoorlie’s workforce and generates a significant proportion of its income. 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 narrow gauge Government railway line reached Kalgoorlie in 1896, and the main named 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 across 2,000 kilometres (1,243 mi) of desert, and consequently the rest of the eastern states.
The standardisation of the railway connecting Perth (which changed route from the narrow gauge route) in 1968 completed the Sydney-Perth railway, making it possible for rail travel from Perth to Sydney—and the Indian Pacific rail service commenced soon after. During the 1890s, the Goldfields area boomed as a whole, with an area population exceeding 200,000, mainly prospectors.
The area gained a notorious reputation for being a wild west with bandits and prostitutes. This rapid increase in population and claims of neglect by the state government in Perth led to the proposition of the new state of Auralia but with the sudden diaspora after the Gold Rush these plans fell through.
Places, famous or infamous, that Kalgoorlie is noted for include its water pipeline, designed by C. Y. O’Connor and bringing in fresh water from Mundaring Weir near Perth, its Hay Street brothels, its two-up school, the goldfields railway loopline, the Kalgoorlie Town Hall, the Paddy Hannan statue/drinking fountain, the Super Pit and Mount Charlotte lookout. Its main street is Hannan Street, named after the town’s founder. One of the infamous brothels also serves as a museum and is a major national attraction.
Kalgoorlie and the surrounding district was serviced by an extensive collection of suburban railways and tramways, providing for both passenger and freight traffic.
Since 1992, Kalgoorlie has been home to the Diggers & Dealers conference, held annually in August. It is Australia’s premier international mining conference.
The Super Pit
The Super Pit is an open-cut gold mine approximately 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) long, 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) wide and 512 metres (1,680 ft) deep. It was created by Alan Bond, who bought up a number of old mine leases in order to get the land area needed for the Super Pit. Every now and again the digging reveals an old shaft containing abandoned equipment and vehicles from the earlier mines.
The mine operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and a visitor centre overlooks it. The mine blasts at 1:00 pm every day, unless winds would carry dust over the town. Each of the massive trucks carries 225 tonnes of rock and the round trip takes about 35 minutes, most of that time being the slow uphill haul. Employees must live in Kalgoorlie; it is not a fly-in fly-out operation.
The mine is expected to be productive until about 2017. At that point, it is planned to abandon it and allow the groundwater to seep in and fill it. It is estimated it will take about 50 years to fill completely.
Kalgoorlie is a major city in the Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia and is located 596km north-east of Perth.In 1893 Paddy Hannan discovered gold at Mt Charlotte which started the biggest gold rush in Western Australia’s history. The area became known by locals as “Hannan’s Find”. In 1894, the government declared the townsite Kalgoorlie.
The Aboriginal name for the area “Coolgoorlie” was chosen over the local preference of “Hannan’s Find”. The “c” was later changed to “k” to avoid postal mistakes with nearby Coolgardie .
The first Europeans to explore the area were H.M.Lefroy and C.C Hunt who were both searching for suitable pastoral lands in the south east of the state in the 1860’s. It was only with the discovery of gold in Coolgardie (by Arthur Bayley) in 1892, that attention was drawn back to the area.
On the 17th June, 1893 Paddy Hannan discovered gold at Mt Charlotte and within days over 700 men were prospecting the area now known as Kalgoorlie . Though Hannan’s find was not part of the reef that would later become known as the “Golden Mile”, his discovery drew enormous attention to the area.
By 1894 many prospectors and miners were becoming disheartened by the small quantity of gold found in the quartz deposits. It had long been believed that quartz was the rock most likely to contain gold. However a Canadian miner, Larry Cammilleri, was the first to discover that the quartz in the area wasn’t carrying most of the gold. Soon new yields were being discovered further under ground.
Miners, forced to move south of Kalgoorlie, soon discovered the deep reefs (Golden Mile) on the Boulder Fault which proved much richer and led to the establishment of the town of Boulder.
A railway from Perth to Boulder was established in 1896 and by 1902, wide streets had been built and 8 breweries and 93 hotels accommodated the 30,000 people that had moved into the area. Many of the original buildings still remain and are some of the finest examples of mining town architecture in the world.
Water became a serious issue in the area, as the harsh dry environment and the increasing population put pressure on the water supply and caused many health problems. A solution was sort by the government. The problem was placed in the hands of the Engineer-in-chief of Public Works of the time, Charles Yelverton O’Connor who proposed the building of a 563km pipeline that would transport water from a weir in Mundaring to a reservoir in Kalgoorlie, known as the goldfields pipeline.
Though violently opposed by some members of the parliament, the project began in 1898 and was completed on the 24th of January 1903. Tragically, C.Y.O’Connor did not live to see his greatest achievement, he committed suicide in March, 1902, partly due to pressures placed on him during the project. The success of the pipeline assured the survival of both Kalgoorlie and Boulder.
By the end of World War II, Kalgoorlie was in a steady decline due to increase production costs in the mining industry and the static gold prices. In 1934 race riots took place in Kalgoorlie and Boulder, as disgruntled Australians set fire to foreign owned businesses.
In 1989 the towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder amalgamated to become the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.Today Kalgoorlie is still a thriving mining town helped along by the pastoral industry and tourism.
Kalgoorlie-Boulder, being the largest settlement for many hundreds of kilometres and employing many at the Super Pit, is naturally the centre of the areas social life. Of particular interest is the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racecourse, a horse racing venue. Also well known in the area are the Kalgoorlie Skimpies, ladies employed by each pub who walk around in their underwear or burlesque outfits to attract punters and who expect a fee in return. There are two grass sports ovals in the area and a cinema showing recent international releases.
There are 25 historical hotels and pubs in Kalgoorlie which are still operating today;
- Albion Shamrock Hotel
- Broken Hill Hotel
- Caledonia House
- Cornwall Hotel
- Criterion Hotel
- de Bernales Tavern (formerly Victoria Tavern)
- The Eastern Hotel (formerly The Federal Hotel)
- Exchange Hotel
- Flanagans Bar (formerly Union Club Hotel)
- Gala Tavern
- Grand Hotel (Kalgoorlie)
- Grand Hotel (Boulder)
- Hannans Hotel
- Inland City Hotel
- Kalgoorlie Hotel
- Main Reef Tavern
- Metropole Hotel
- North End Tavern
- Palace Hotel
- Piccadilly Hotel
- Recreation Hotel
- Rock Inn (formerly Tattersalls)
- Star and Garter
- Tower Hotel
- York Hotel
There are also some hotels that no longer exist in the city;
- Boulder Block (demolished 1991) (Removed due to Super Pit expansion. This pub had a mine shaft so underground workers could access it.)
- Commercial Hotel (burnt down 3 November 1978)
- Cornwall Hotel, Boulder
- Foundry Hotel (closed 2005– Damaged by fire 3 July 2008, deliberately lit on fire in 2009)
- Glendevon Hotel (burnt down 1986)
- Mount Lyall (refurbished as restaurant 2004)
- Oriental Hotel (demolished July 1972)
- Golden Eagle [The collapsed balcony of the Golden Eagle hotel on the corner of Lane and Wittenoom St in Boulder.] Proof.
In addition, Kalgoorlie has modern accommodation facilities, including:
- The View On Hannans (Formerly The Hannans View Motel)
- Rydges Hotel
- Railway Hotel/Motel
- Quest Yelverton Apartments
- All Seasons Plaza Hotel
- Bel Eyre Motel
- Kalgoorlie Overland Motel
- Midas Motel
- Old Australia Hotel (now part of Curtin University of Technology as Student Accommodation)
Main article: Boulder, Western Australia
Known as the home of the Super Pit, it is one of Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s historical suburbs featuring many buildings and landmarks dating as far back as 1882. It was once the central business district for the Town of Boulder, but since amalgamation with Kalgoorlie, it is now more of a historical local centre. Boulder has its own post office, town hall and many hotels along its main thoroughfare, Burt Street. A significant refurbishment has been commenced as part of the ‘Royalties for Regions’ initiative.
Broadwood (aka – Hampton Heights)
A new housing suburb located next to the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport which was recently expanded and is enjoying healthy growth in property values.
This area derives its name from the golf course that once occupied the area. It was released to provide affordable property to a growing population in Kalgoorlie-Boulder. Fairways features a private primary school, church, caravan park and small business.
Golden Grove (formerly Adeline)
Adeline was originally constructed around 1970 by the State Housing Commission. The suburb was built on the “Radburn” concept, with houses facing away from the street and common pathways linking homes. The area has been plagued by antisocial problems. In 2003, a significant urban renewal project, including the renaming of the suburb to Golden Grove and re-aligning of homes was commenced. The project has seen some success but has yet to fully eliminate antisocial problems within the area.
Located in Kalgoorlie’s far north. Hannans was the first suburb to have its own independent shopping centre (“Hannans Boulevard”) which includes a Coles Supermarket. The area also has a primary school and an 18 hole golf course. The original course was not formally grassed but was recently refurbished. Several surrounding golf clubs joined together to form one club known as ‘The Goldfields Golf Club’.
A dam has been constructed to service what is now a luxury grass golf course and club. Alongside the golf course project has been the development and release of Greenview estate. It lies on the western border of Hannans. This ongoing project has been designed as an environmentally friendly estate, and will eventually consist of over 2000 homes, apartments and facilities such as parks and schools.
As one of Kalgoorlie’s highest growth areas there has been a proposal for a new alternative route, out of the suburb onto the Kalgoorlie Bypass, to avoid traffic problems on the already heavily used Graeme Street which is a direct route to the city centre. Other developments include ‘Karkurla Rise’ and ‘Karkurla View’ which have added an additional 400 homes to the area.
The central business district. Hannan Street, named after Paddy Hannan, is the Kalgoorlie’s main street and stretches The length of the suburb. The western side of the suburb consists of housing and some light industry. The eastern side containss retail chains, banks, the police station, court house, restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions, schools, university and TAFE.
One of Kalgoorlie’s oldest suburbs. Much like other older suburbs, almost every street is parallel with Hannan Street in Central Kalgoorlie and are noticeably wide. It houses North Kalgoorlie Primary School, small businesses, a medical practices, a hotel, tavern and a non-maintained 18 hole golf course.
Much smaller today than it originally was before the Super Pit expansion. It’s located at the far east end of Lamington between the northern Goldfields railway and Goldfields Highway.
Officially O’Connor is the south-east section of the suburb of Somerville. Much of the area is increasingly now known as O’Connor. It is home to a primary school, private high school Goldfields Baptist College and shopping facilities. It also houses the city’s only recreation centre.
A narrow suburb following Piccadilly street between Central Kalgoorlie and Lamington. It features the city’s regional hospital, small businesses, a hotel, sporting arena and two grassed ovals.
Somerville marks the end of Great Eastern Highway that stretches between Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Perth. Much of the area is now referred to locally as O’Connor. Somerville contains residential area, schools, retail shops, light industry and some horse stables. In the past it also contained market gardens.
Stretching from Boundary Street, Kalgoorlie to Holmes Street, Golden Grove and bordering with Central Kalgoorlie, O’Connor and Golden Grove. South Kalgoorlie is mostly residential but also contains the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racecourse, schools, some light industrial and small businesses. The suburb was expanded in the mid-1990s to include a sub-division named ‘Sport of Kings’ on Maxwell Street, using a surplus of land from the racecourse.
A residential only subdivision within Fairways estate along Burt Street.
Kalgoorlie’s main industrial area. It is the first suburb as you approach Kalgoorlie on the Great Eastern Highway. It features the city’s airport and small, medium and heavy industrial. Currently under expansion further west (ANZAC Drive Industrial Estate.)
The western tip of Lamington was built in the 1980s. It includes one shop, sporting facilities and an arboretum nature reserve.
The small remains of East Kalgoorlie which now consists mostly of ‘The Super Pit’ open cut mine. The small existing area features mostly housing with one small primary school. It is also home to the Mount Charlotte mine shaft and Nanny Goat Hill. Owners of ‘The Super Pit’ have purchased many of the houses in the Williamstown area leaving many houses empty and some demolished leaving empty lots. There have been revegetation research projects commenced in the area.
The town is located on the main East-West rail corridor across Australia, and was once a break-of-gauge between the Western Australian Government Railways’s narrow gauge Eastern Goldfields Railway and the Trans-Australian Railway towards the Eastern states of Australia. For eastward train travellers, on the transcontinental “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 also provides daily services to Perth.
Town bus services are provided by TransGoldfields, there are three town routes as well as school services.
Daily commercial air services connect Kalgoorlie-Boulder with Perth, operating out of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport. Airlines that provide regular flights include Qantas, QantasLink and Skywest.
Kalgoorlie is linked to Perth by the Great Eastern Highway, and is also on the Goldfields Highway.
Radio Services available in Kalgoorlie:
- ABC Goldfields-Esperance: 6GF 648 AM \ 94.3 FM (Part of the ABC Local Radio Network)
- ABC Classic FM: 6ABCFM 95.5 FM;
- ABC Radio National: 6ABCRN 97.1 FM
- ABC Triple J: 6JJJ 93.5 FM \ 98.7 FM
- ABC News Radio: 6PNN 100.3 FM
- Hot FM (Australian radio network), (Commercial Station) 6KAR: 91.9 \ 97.9 FM – Top 40 radio format
- RadioWest (Commercial Station) 6KG: 981 AM \ 92.7 FM – Adult Contemporary / Classic Hits / Talk radio format
- Vision Radio Network1431 AM : Community Narrowcast Station – Christian praise, worship music and talk.
- Tjuma Pulka (Media) Aboriginal Corporation : 96.3 FM (Aboriginal Community radio service)
- 6TAB Racing Radio – 88FM (LIVE broadcasts of Horse Racing, Greyhound Racing and Harness Racing, with talkback and music played at other times).
Television services available include:
- The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) – ABC1, ABC2, ABC3, ABC News 24 (digital channels)
- The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) – SBS One, SBS Two (digital channels)
- GWN7 (Golden West Network), an affiliate station of the Seven Network
- WIN Television, an affiliate station of the Nine Network
- Ten West, an affiliate station of the Ten Network (provided jointly by Prime Television and WIN Television).
The programming schedule is mainly the same as the Seven, Nine and Ten stations in Perth with variations for News bulletins, sport telecasts such as the Australian Football League and National Rugby League, children’s and lifestyle programs and infomercials or paid programming.
Both GWN7 and WIN maintain newsrooms in the city. The GWN7 bureau provides coverage of the surrounding area for the station’s nightly 30-minute news program, GWN7 News, at 5:30pm on weeknights. The WIN bureau provides coverage for sister station STW-9’s Nine News bulletins at 6pm each night and 4:30pm on weekdays, which are simulcast on WIN.
New Digital television services from GWN7 and WIN are expected to launch by the end of 2010. A new digital-only channel branded Ten West commenced transmission on Thursday 10 June 2010, it is a sole Network Ten affiliated channel.
Subscrition Television Service Foxtel is available via Satellite.
The local newspaper for the Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Goldfields region is The Kalgoorlie Miner.
Newspapers from Perth including The West Australian and The Sunday Times are also available, as well as National Newspapers such as The Australian and The Australian Financial Review.
Notable people from Kalgoorlie
- Matt Birney, former WA Leader of the Opposition
- John Cornell, actor and movie producer
- Rica Erickson, historian, botanist and author
- Brian Hayes, British radio personality
- Dean Kemp, former Australian rules footballer
- Wallace Kyle- Air Marshall, last leader of RAF Bomber Command
- Walter Lindrum, champion professional billiards player
- Barry Marshall, Nobel Prize winner
- Bob Marshall, champion billiards player
- Tim Rogers, singer/songwriter
- Terry Walsh, field hockey striker and coach
- Kevin Bloody Wilson, singer and comedian
- Steve Johnston, speedway rider
- Michael Patrizi, V8supercar Driver
- Dean Fiore, V8supercar Driver
Kalgoorlie has a semi-arid climate with hot summers and winters. The average annual rainfall is 260mm on an average of 68 days and, while the average rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, there is considerable variation from year to year.
January is the hottest month with an average maximum temperature of 33.6 °C, but temperatures above 40.0 °C occur nearly once a week when hot, dry, north to northeasterly winds arrive. Such high temperatures are usually followed by a cool change from the south and occasionally with a thunderstorm.
By contrast winters are cool with July average maximum and minimum temperatures being 16.5 °C and 4.8 °C respectively. Cold wet days with a maximum below 12.0 °C occur about once every winter.
The lowest maximum temperature recorded is 7.2 °C on 19 July 1961. Overnight temperatures fall below freezing about 4 times in a typical winter. Such events occur on clear nights following a day of cold southerly winds.
Main article: 2010 Kalgoorlie-Boulder earthquake
On 20 April 2010, Kalgoorlie was rocked by a richter magnitude 5.0 earthquake whose epicentre was 30 km north east of the town. The quake caused damage to a number of hotels commercial premises along Burt street in Boulder and it was reported that the underpass also on Burt street collapsed, although this was later found to be false. The entire Burt St. precinct was evacuated until 23 April. Work in the Superpit and many other mines around Kalgoorlie was stopped