Menzies is a town located in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia, 728 kilometres east-northeast of the state capital, Perth, and 133 kilometres north-northwest of the city of Kalgoorlie. At the 2006 census, Menzies had a population of 56.
Gold was discovered in the area in 1894, and Mr Leslie Robert Menzies, a Canadian-born prospector, and John McDonald were the first to take up a lease here in October 1894, naming their lease the “Lady Shenton”. It was a rich gold find, and the Mining Warden for the area recommended a townsite be declared in 1895, named in Menzies’ honour. The townsite was gazetted in August 1895.
Land around the town was sold in 1895 and by 1896 it had become a municipality. The town hall was constructed from 1896 to 1898; the hall remained clockless for over 100 years due to the original clock being lost in a shipwreck and the prosperity of the town declining shortly afterwards. A clock was finally installed to celebrate the new millennium in 2000. The railway line was completed through to the town by 1900.
Water had to be carted to the town from underground supplies and from lakes in the surrounding areas. The government started construction of a dam in 1897 that began to supply water to the town by 1901. By 1900, Menzies had a population of approximately 10,000 with thirteen hotels and two breweries.
The gold rush lasted for about 10 years and by 1905 most of the miners had left town to try their luck elsewhere. By 1910 the population of the town had declined to less than 1,000. Gold mining continues in and around Menzies to the present day.
It is a place that has seen many changes over the years. The population is generally low (less than 100); however this can change – and has changed rapidly as mines open and close in the local area. There is a pub with food and cold beer, and the old state battery, which is in mint condition and worth a look. There had been a roadhouse which provided a post office and general food items which is now closed.
The Sand Queen Gold Mine owned by Reed Resources, that had initially been operational in 1904, was reopened in 2006 after being abandoned some years ago. The town housed a Nursing Post (still operating today) and a Police Station.
The Police Station closed approximately 2007 due to Police budget cuts to the disappointment of the two officers that patrolled and covered over 145 thousand square kilometres. The two officers were transferred.One to Kalgoorlie and the other returned to Perth. Crime was low in Menzies during their time and this was attributed to the work and close community ties by one of the Senior Constables.