Coolgardie Mining Warden's Court (1895)
is located 550 kilometres east of Perth, approximately 40 kilometres
west of Kalgoorlie, and 187 kilometres north of Norseman. The
name Coolgardie is said to be derived from the aboriginal word
"Coolcaby", and is said to be a reference to the area's mulga
vegetation and gnamma waterholes.
owes its existence to the discovery of gold at nearby Fly Flat
in September 1892. According to all accounts the 2 prospectors
credited with the discovery were Arthur Bayley and William Ford.
Reports of the time indicate that on 17 September 1892 Bayley
hastily reported the discovery of 554 ounces of gold to J.M. Finnerty,
the then resident mining warden at Southern Cross. At the time
554 ounces of gold was worth the stupendous sum of 2200 pounds
and in accordance with Western Australian mining regulations,
Bailey was offered a "reward claim" covering 20 acres of land
at Fly Flat. Bayley's reward claim proved to be a very profitable
one indeed, and was continually worked until 1963. During the
70 years of its existence this mining claim recovered over 500,000
ounces of the precious yellow metal.
From an historical perspective the Coolgardie gold find proved
to be one of immense national significance. During the 1890s eastern
Australia was in the grips of a severe depression and fortune
seekers flocked to the Coolgardie fields in the hope of a better
life. Not all these gold seekers discovered the rich pickings
they deserved however, and many died of thirst and water borne
diseases such as typhoid. Despite early hardships, within the
short space of 10 years Coolgardie's population had mushroomed
to 16,000 people.
its early years Coolgardie served very much as a base for exploring
the gold bearing potential of the surrounding red desert country.
With the assistance of afghan camel drivers, prospectors often
probed deep into the desert searching for ever elusive alluvial
gold deposits, and quite typically the afghan "cameleers" would
charge prospectors the going rate of a shilling a day to carry
essential miner's supplies, and this included the daily ration
of a gallon of life preserving water. In time many of the more
bush savvy gold diggers employed local aboriginal guides to lead
them to seasonal water holes - often found at the base of granite
formations called gnammas. For the early diggers the quest for
water was just as important as the discovery of gold - afterall
their life depended on it. Amusingly, with water in such short
supply, the more wealthy gold diggers frequently demonstrated
their friendship by shouting their mates a bath, in preference
to a beer.
Coolgardie continues its long association with the gold industry,
and although no longer a major gold field the town does deserve
a special place as the "mother of the Western Australian Goldfields."
Coolgardie locals also sometimes affectionately refer to the town
as "The Old Camp".
visiting Coolgardie, Nullarbor Net recommends you visit the local
tourist bureau which is located on 62 Bayley Street. From the
Coolgardie Tourist Bureau visitors can obtain a free copy of the
Coolgardie visitor's guide and map. This brochure provides a comprehensive
guide to all attractions within the Coolgardie area along with
advice concerning accommodation and other services. Coolgardie's
tourist bureau also offers a booking service for visitors needing
to travel by Westrail, the Indian Pacific Railway, or major bus
services linking through to Perth and the eastern states. Qantas
flights can also be booked for those of you travelling via Kalgoorlie
to Perth or Adelaide. Advice on local road conditions can also
be provided should you wish to visit a number of natural attractions
such as the Gnarlbine Soaks, Victoria Rocks or Rowle's Lagoon.
Coolgardie's Tourist Bureau is open 9 am to 5 pm seven days a
week. For further information please telephone (08) 9026 6090
or fax (08) 9036 6008.
Hotel & Motel Accommodation
Motel is located on the corner of Bayley and Hunt Street.
Single, double, triple and family units are available with a swimming
pool and licensed restaurant for the use of guests. For further
information telephone (08) 9026 6080 or fax (08) 9026 6300.
Motor Inne is located at the eastern end of Bayley Street.
The Coolgardie Motor Inne offers single, double, triple and family
units with queen size beds. An on site swimming pool is also available.
For further information please contact (08) 9026 6002.
Roadhouse Motel has 8 Motel units located on the corner of
Bayley and Jobson Street. Single, double and triple rooms are
available. The Caltex Roadhouse operates a 24 hour service. For
further information contact (08) 9026 6049.
Denver City Hotel is located on the corner of Bayley and Lefroy
Streets. Single and double rooms are available. Restaurant facilities
are available. For bookings contact (08) 9026 6031.
Caravan Parks and Budget Accommodation
Caravan Park is located on 99 Bayley Street at the western
end of town. chalets, onsite vans, powered sites and tent sites
are available. Pets are allowed and the caravan park also
hires out metal detectors. For further information please contact
(08) 9026 6009.
Haven Caravan Park is located at the western end of Coolgardie
on the Great Eastern Highway. Powered sites, onsite vans and camping
facilities are available. Pets are permitted on a leash.
Further information can be obtained by telephoning (08) 9026 6123.
Lodge is located on the corner of Bayley and Lefroy streets.
The Goldrush Lodge offers budget priced overnight, weekly and
long term accommodation. Lock up car parking is also available.
For further information please telephone/fax (08) 9026 6446.
has a resident population of about 1500 people. Located on the
main trunk route linking Perth to the eastern states, Coolgardie
generally provides the traveller with a reasonable level of service.
Within Coolgardie there are 3 Roadhouses. Caltex has a 24 hour
Roadhouse located at the western end of Bayley Street. On the
eastern approaches to Coolgardie you will find a Shell Roadhouse
open from 6 am to 10 pm, and Nick's Roadhouse and emergency RAC
repairs which is open from 4-30 am to 6 pm. Unfortunately Coolgardie
does not have any ATM machines or Bank Branches, however EFTPOS
facilities are readily available at Moran's General Store and
Coolgardie's Roadhouses. Coolgardie's Post Office also acts as
an agent for the Commonwealth Bank. Along Bayley Street travellers
will find a number of cafes, including the Premier Café and Ivy's
café which sell home made cakes and biscuits. Internet facilities
are available at the Telecentre located adjacent to Coolgardie's
and Coolgardie Museum
Goldfields and Coolgardie Museum is located on Bayley Street adjacent
to the Coolgardie Tourist Bureau. Housed within the historic Mining
Warden's Court Building, this fine museum offers an excellent
introduction to the early colourful social history of the Coolgardie
Goldfields. Excellent photographic displays depict Coolgardie's
early years and the hardships endured on the goldfields. A number
of period rooms are on display along with a wide collection of
historical memorabilia and aboriginal cultural artefacts. A feature
of the collection is the Waghorn bottle and curio collection.
Coolgardie's Goldfield's Museum is definitely well worth visiting
for an hour or 2 and would particularly appeal to family and school
groups. Cost of entry was $3-30 for adults at the end of 2001.
Pharmacy Museum is surprisingly interesting. Said to be one of
the best historical pharmaceutical displays in Australia, Coolgardie's
pharmacy museum houses an extensive collection of 18th and 19th
century medicines. Numerous advertisements and antique tools of
the chemists trade or on display. A Coolgardie local named Ronnie
Potter manages the museum . Ronnie is certainly one of Coolgardie's
characters and he definitely is very knowledgeable about medications
and the history of the goldfields. For those of you on prescription
medications a short visit to this museum could prove very addictive.
Opening hours 7-30 am to 4 pm. Cost of admission $3-30 for adults
at the end of 2001. Discounts are offered to seniors and family
Old Fashioned Remedies, Cheap at Twice
Prior's Park is an open air display of old mining equipment, including
mining jigs, drills, antiquated boilers and head frames. For those
of you with an interest in vintage mining equipment a short visit
might well be of some interest. Entry to Ben Prior Park is free
and the display is located on Bayley Street - Coolgardie's main
An Old Coolgardie Steam Engine
development has been intimately linked with camels and the town's
wide streets are reputed to have been designed to accommodate
turning camel trains. Coolgardie's Camel Farm is located 4 kilometres
west of town along the Great Eastern Highway. At the Camel Farm
visitors can try their hand at riding camels and overnight camel
treks are available by arrangement. For further information contact
(08) 9026 6159.
Parklands are located on the western end of Bayley Street. These
parklands are well shaded and grassed, with an excellent playground.
A number of gas barbecues are available along with undercover
seating areas. Coolgardie's Parklands offer travellers an excellent
picnic spot and place to let the kids stretch their legs.
Short Tribute To Coolgardie Camels and Banjo Patterson
Patterson is one of Australia's truly great bush poets. Australian's
fondly remember Banjo Patterson as the author of Clancy of the
Overflow, The Man from Iron Bark, and The Man from Snowy River.
Its often forgotten however that Patterson also wrote Australia's
unofficial national anthem, Waltzing Matilda. One of Banjo Patterson's
lesser known works is "Shouting for a Camel." Written
in 1895 this humorous verse captures the spirit of Coolgardie's
Goldrush; and the eternal three-way battle between savvy gold
speculators, wiley Afghan camel drivers, and their equally usurious
beasts of burden - camels of course!
For A Camel
was over at Coolgardie that a mining speculator,
Who was going down the township just to make a bit o' chink,
Went off to hire a camel from a camel propagator,
And the Afghan said he'd lend it if he'd stand the beast a drink.
Yes, the only price he asked him was to stand the beast a drink.
He was cheap, very cheap, as the dromedaries go.
So the mining speculator made the bargain, proudly thinking
He had bested old Mahomet, he had done him in the eye.
Then he clambered on the camel, and the while the beast was drinking
He explained with satisfaction to the miners standing by
That 'twas cheap, very cheap, as the dromedaries go.
But the camel kept on drinking and he
filled his hold with water,
And the more he had inside him yet the more he seemed to need;
For he drank it by the gallon, and his girths grew taut and tauter,
And the miners muttered softly, "Yes he's very dry indeed!
But he's cheap, very cheap, as dromedaries go."
So he drank up twenty buckets -- it
was weird to watch him suck it,
(And the market price for water was per bucket half-a-crown)
Till the speculator stopped him, saying, "Not another bucket --
If I give him any more there'll be a famine in the town.
Take him back to old Mahomet, and I'll tramp it through the town."
He was cheap, very cheap, as the speculators go.
There's a moral to this story -- in
your hat you ought to paste it --
Be careful whom you shout for when a camel is about,
And there's plenty human camels who, before they'll see you waste
Will drink up all you pay for if you're fool enough to shout;
If you chance to strike a camel when you're fool enough to shout,
You'll be cheap, very cheap, as the speculators go.
Net Travel Tips
distance travellers can obtain regularly updated fuel prices for
petrol, diesel and LPG by viewing Western Australia's Fuel
Watch site. This site has excellent coverage of WA's goldfields.
Also worth a good look is ExplorOz's
WA Fuel prices page. Likewise if you are heading to South
SA fuel prices page is the best on the Net.