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Home > Travelogues > 2007 Travelogues Index > Coolgardie, Kalgoorlie and the Golden Quest
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Printable self drive brochure of the Golden Quest Discovery Trail
Overlooking Coolgardie from the Lions Bicentennial Lookout.   The Bayley's Reward Gold Mine headframe was moved to this lookout and picnic area. 
Blasting takes place most days if optimum conditions mean dust will not be blown across the town, with anticipated times posted at the Visitor Information Centre and at the viewing platform.  The platform shook as the explosions commenced and before they were visible.  
 
We also took a drive to Kambalda 54 kilometres south of Kalgoorlie, a town constructed from 1967 to service the rich nickel mines and near the site of a former gold mining settlement called Red Hill.   
A rich discovery of gold in 1892 at Fly Flat to the east of Coolgardie started a rush which saw Coolgardie swell to a population of 16,000 and water become a more valuable commodity than gold.   At this time, Coolgardie became the third largest town in Western Australia.  It was not until 1903 that the water pipeline bringing water from Mundaring Weir near Perth to the goldfields was completed. 
 
A drive to the east of Kalgoorlie included a visit to the former town of Kanowna which once had a population of about 12,000 people.  Signage shows the streets and where the various buildings once stood, and a tiny cemetery tells its own story.  A small booklet can be purchased from the Tourist Information Centre giving the history of the area and outlining a walk around the town site.  There is a look out over a current mine close by. 
Around the goldfields, there is little trace but remnants of broken bottle of many of the towns which grew during the days of the gold rush.  Signage shows how big they used to be.  However old mine shafts can be seen along most roadsides.  Crumbling timbers make these openings very unstable. 
Some hotels in these ghost towns have been purchased and restored, such as at Broad Arrow and Ora Banda.   
Throughout the goldfields, cemeteries tell silent tales of early deaths. This memorial on the grave of a small child has been crafted with artistry from old iron sheets.
 
Many graves remain unmarked, and most with memorials show that a long life was uncommon, and there were many early childhood deaths. 
North east of Menzies, Niagara dam was constructed at great expense, but at its completion, underground water was discovered at Kookynie and northwards so the dam was not needed.  Today it is a good camping spot for travellers heading to the Great Central Road heading east into the Northern Territory.  
The statue of Paddy Hannan overlooks the wide streets of Kalgoorlie.  In 1893, with the Coolgardie gold rush well under way, prospector Paddy Hannan discovered a rich find at a place he named Mount Charlotte. 
 
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Very little mining still continues around Coolgardie, although it was where the Western Australian Goldfields gold rush began.  The town is only small due to the proximity of Kalgoorlie almost forty kilometres to the east which has become the major centre for the thriving Goldfields region.  
 
There are both an outdoor and an indoor mining history Museums in Coolgardie worth visiting.
The wide main street of Coolgardie.  Goldfields towns had streets wide enough to turn a camel train in. 
2007 We investigate the history of the Coolgardie Kalgoorlie Goldfields including the Holland Track, the John Holland Way, the historicWoodlines and the Golden Quest Discovery Trail. This section takes us through Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie and northwards following the Golden Quest Discovery Trail.
In Quest of Gold
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Streets in the goldfields towns were made wide enough for a carriage to turn with ease, and now there is room for angle parking both sides, a median strip and four lanes of traffic in Hannan Street. 

The Super Pit is Australia's largest open cut gold mine and is right on the south-east edge of the twin towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder, Western Australia. The pit is approximately 3.5 kilometres long, 1.5 kilometres wide and 360 metres deep and can be seen from space. The mine produces 850,000 ounces (28 tonnes) of gold per year, and employs around 550 employees directly on site.
Kalgoorlie Super Pit
Nearby, the end of the Mundaring to Kalgoorlie water pipe line can be seen where it enters a huge tank to supply the town at the Mount Charlotte Lookout, with good views across the centre of Kalgoorlie. 
Once a series of mines held by different companies, Western Australian businessman Alan Bond started buying up the individual leases to create one big company with a vision of one big pit.  Bond's company failed to complete the takeover but, in 1989, the entire area was finally combined. Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd (KCGM) was formed to manage the assets and operations of joint venture partners. Finally all leases and infrastructure of the Golden Mile, Mount Charlotte and Mount Percy to the north had been brought together.  Their ownership includes the Fimiston Open Pit (the Super Pit), Mount Charlotte Underground Mine, Fimiston Mill and Gidji Roaster.
 
In 2000 Gypsy Joker bikie Billy Grierson was fatally shot while sitting at a camp fire on the old town site adjacent to the Ora Banda Hotel following an altercation with the owner Don Hancock, a former Criminal Investigation Bureau chief.  Don Hancock was suspected of the shooting by the Gypsy Jokers and his properties were later fire bombed. Hancock was later killed in a car bombing in 2001 near his home in Perth, Western Australia.
 
The hotel was purchased by new owners in 2006.
After a weekend break from camping out staying at the Best Western Hospitality Inn Motel, we were recharged and ready to go bush again.  We followed the Golden Quest Discovery Trail, using the tourist book as a guide, and listening to the accompanying DVD with stories from the gold rush era and modern day tales. 
 
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Huge dump trucks climb up out of the Super Pit like a line of tiny ants.  Waste rock is dumps on the heaps behind the pit.
 
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After the first rumble, dark rock shoots skywards, followed by a cloud of dust with expands to fill the whol pit before drifting eastwards away from the town. 
On the southern side of the Super Pit, old heaps are of different coloured rock. 
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The Clock Tower over the Post Office in Hannan Street dominates the skyline.
 
 
 
The York Hotel was contructed in 1900 with completion and opening early in 1901.
The 560 kilometres of pipeline from Mundaring Weir near Perth to Kalgoorlie rises around 400 metres to meet a huge tank at Mount Charlotte and the water gurgles in.
 
 
Looking across the CBD of Kalgoorlie from Mount Charlotte.  The red headframe towards the left marks the entrance to the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Museum at the top end of Hannan Street.  The Post Office Clock Tower is towards the centre of the picture.
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At the small town of Menzies, most shops were closed and this old hotel building was for sale.  
 
The Shire Building in Menzies, north of Kalgoorlie.
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Nearby the orange rock of the breakaway contrasts with the white base.
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In addition to visiting the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Museum, the Hannans North Tourist Mine, on the site of one of the earliest mines to operate in Kalgoorlie, is now open to the public with a variety of mining experiences suitable for all age groups. It is accessed from the Goldfields Highway 1.5 kilometres north of the Hannan Street junction on the east side of the highway (signed).  Hannans North re-opened to the public 28th April 2016.
See also Chris and Valdis's visit to Kalgoorlie 2016