Monday, April 29, 2013

Kalgoorlie Road Trip

Early next month we are off on a road trip to Kalgoorlie.  Kalgoorlie is east of Perth by 600 kilometres and is a large gold mining town with a population of around 31,000.

Kal, as most people call it, was established in 1893 after the discovery of gold by Paddy Hannan, Tom Flanagan and Dan O’Shea.   No prize for guessing their nationality.

The ‘we’ in this road trip are Joyce, Margaret and me.    Margaret was brought up in Kalgoorlie and we will be taking a look at what she remembers about the house and surrounds where the family lived.  Joyce (Joy) like me, has an interest in the history of Kal, but mainly we are ready for a road trip.  Initially we thought of using the Seniors’ card for a cheap fare by train, but I thought a drive would be better and so I will be driving my car.  We will be staying at the ‘Star and Garter’ motel (how very Western is that?) for the three nights we are there.

My uncle was a policeman at Kalgoorlie in the early 1940s and he told of many incidents which would be typical of isolated mining towns.  He ran afoul of the Superintendent of Police who had warned him not to upset the gaming houses and brothels.  One incident where he booked the proprietor of a gaming house won him a year’s posting at the end of the Wood Line living in a small railway carriage and doing his rounds by horse.  That railway carriage and uncle’s notes are on display in the Kalgoorlie museum.  A must see.
The Wood Lines were railway tracks built out from Kal to supply timber and firewood needed for the mining industry and townsfolk.  

Other things to see is Hay Street, the street of brothels, the water pipeline from Perth to Kalgoorlie, the impressive old buildings, the massive Superpit, the Two-up school and minesites close to town.
The Goldfields' Pipeline was the baby of Engineer, CY O'Connor.  O'Connor   committed suicide almost a year before its completion.  Like many other visionaries, he was the target of harsh critics of this major project.  

Read about the pipeline here

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