Birthplace of the Goldfields
Coolgardie, with its substantial heritage buildings is a pleasant inland town, retaining much of its rich and colourful past.
The township had its beginnings back on September 17th 1892 when Arthur Baylie rode into Southern Cross and deposited with the mining warden 554 ounces of gold that he and his partner William Ford had found at Fly Flat, 120 miles to the east.
Within hours the frenzied rush to Coolgardie began and with it the greatest movement of people in Australia’s history. Businesses sprang up to serve the multitude and within a decade Coolgardie with a population of 16,000, became the third largest town in Western Australia.
There were two stock exchanges, three breweries, seven newspapers and 26 hotels. Its wide main street is sufficient to turn a camel team.
Surface gold ran out however and prospectors left the fields disillusioned and penniless. Some went to work for the big mining companies in Kalgoorlie. The onset of the Great War and depressed gold prices drew many prospectors away from the Goldfields and so Coolgardie declined.
The original mine at Bayley’s Reward recovered over half a million ounces of gold, before closing in 1963. Other sites in the area still operate using modern open pit methods.
Today Coolgardie, with its substantial buildings is a pleasant inland town, retaining much of its rich and colourful past. Follow the heritage trail markers around town. Of interest is Warden Finnerty’s Residence, the hub of activity in the 1890s. There is the Railway Museum and the Coolgardie Cemeteries where Explorer Ernest Giles, Bertha Finnerty, and Afghan Tagh Mahomed are buried.
See Australia's largest bottle and curio collection, the fascinating recreated turn of the century pharmaceutical museum and there are Rowles Lagoon and fresh water wetlands, Burra Rocks and Cave Hill Nature Reserve.
For further information see
Coolgardie Tourist Bureau,
2 Bayley Street. Ph (08) 9026 6090