Welcome to the Golden town of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, West Australia.
We decide to stay four nights – the longest time, so far, in one town.
The drive from Norseman to Kalgoorlie is quite drab. Not much to view except endless bush and the odd small (almost) deserted township. However, Kalgoorlie-Boulder (two merged townships) form a large city set against a HUGE big, long lump of excavated ore.
This town was formed back in 1893, when three Irishmen, stumbled over a large nugget of gold, which set off the GOLD RUSH in this area of Australia.
Fast track to 1985, an Perth based entrepreneur, Alan Bond, bought up small underground gold mining leases with a view to consolidate all the mines to form one big open pit conglomerate.
By 1989, Ålan Bond and his companies were having financial challenges and he ended up bankrupt and in jail for fraud.
His vision eventually became the Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd and is now called – “The Super Pit” (3.5 kms long, 1.5 kms wide and 570 metres deep).
Kalgoorlie-Boulder has a population of 30,000 who depend on the mining for gold or tourism. So we came as a tourist, with fossicking on Julz mind. Not for gold, for gemstones and crystals only. So, today we paid for a mining right to fossick in and around the area. We will keep you posted on the success of this endeavour over the next few days.
We have explored the area and visited the viewing area into the “Super Pit”. It shocked us to see how deep this gold mine is and what lengths people or companies do to dig out 15 million tonnes of ore to end up with 850,000 ounces (28 tonnes) of Gold per year. The environmental damage in this area is obvious, however, it seems that gold, like diamonds, make rich people richer and it isn’t going to change anytime soon from what we observe here.
We spent our next day visiting a small town, 133 kms north, called Menzies, that was started in 1894, buzzing with over 10,000 people back in 1900, in the “gold rush”, however, today it has a population of 51. It does have “real coffee” and cakes, do we tasted the local delights and then travelled another 50kms on a dirt road to some salt lakes called Lake Ballard. The big attraction to these salt lakes is the unique art instillation commissioned in 2003, by UK artist, Antony Gormley, which is 51 sculptures (representing each person living in Menzies) over an area of 10 square kilometres (4 sq miles). We were pleased to see that a tree was draped in muddy soled shoes that we could borrow to walk on the salt lakes, so we did no damage to our own shoes.
After a great picnic lunch we drove back to a wet Kalgoorlie (rain was much appreciated by the towns folk).
Gypsy, the dog, is enjoying her time also on the road, although she spends most of her days asleep in the back of the car. She has had a visit to the Vet yesterday to discover she has an ear infection.
We have another two nights here in Kalgoorlie and our next stop looks like Esperance (back to the beach at last!! ).