• Eastern Goldfields Historical Society
  • Eastern Goldfields Historical Society
  • Eastern Goldfields Historical Society
  • Eastern Goldfields Historical Society
  • Eastern Goldfields Historical Society
  • Eastern Goldfields Historical Society
  • Eastern Goldfields Historical Society
  • Eastern Goldfields Historical Society
  • Eastern Goldfields Historical Society
  • Eastern Goldfields Historical Society
  • Eastern Goldfields Historical Society
  • Eastern Goldfields Historical Society

Timeline

Location

1863

Early explorer Henry Lefroy leads an expedition through the site where Coolgardie stands today. Lake Lefroy, near Kambalda, was later named after him.

Location

1864

Explorer/surveyor Charles Hunt makes four separate trips into the Hampton Plains, leaving strategically-placed watering points along the track. These greatly assist prospectors and explorers travelling into the area now known as the Eastern Goldfields.

Location

1869

John Forrest leads a mission to discover the fate of the 1848 Leichhardt expedition. They find no trace of Leichhardt, but travel through what is now the Northern Goldfields naming various landmarks, almost as far as the present site of Laverton.

Location

1892

Arthur Bayley and William Ford find more than 500oz of gold at Fly Flat near the present site of Coolgardie, now known as the "Mother of the Goldfields".

Location

1893

Irish prospectors Paddy Hannan, Thomas Flanagan and Daniel Shea discover gold near the present site of Mt Charlotte, sparking a major rush. Hannan's Find is later renamed Kalgoorlie.

Location

1893

A few weeks after Hannan's Find is pegged, South Australian prospectors Will Brookman and Sam Pearce peg the Ivanhoe and Great Boulder leases.

Location

1894

A horse named Hardy Norseman is credited with turning up a nugget at the campsite of the horse's owner, Laurie Sinclair, who is prospecting with his brother George and Jack Allsop. Norseman is later named after the horse.

Location

1894

Incredibly rich gold specimens are discovered on the surface at Londonderry, south of Coolgardie. Lord Fingall purchases the mine from the prospectors and floats it on the London stock market for an exorbitant amount. But when the mine is reopened the gold is found to have petered out.

Location

1896

The first gold lease in the Leonora area, the Johannesburg Lease, is pegged by Edward Sullivan and Harry Widdick. In the same year, the Sons of Gwalia lease is pegged by J. Carlson, F. White and A. Glendinning.

Location

1896

Railway connects Kalgoorlie and Boulder to Perth.

Location

1898

Young American mining engineer Herbert Hoover is appointed manager of the Sons of Gwalia mine. He recruits mine workers in Italy to reduce operating costs.

Location

1898

Kanowna's population booms with the discovery of alluvial gold in buried ancient river beds (deep leads).

Location

1901

Kalgoorlie and Boulder are pivotal in the referendum debate and the resulting ballot, bringing Western Australia into the Federation.

Location

1903

The Goldfields Water Supply Scheme designed by State Government engineer C.Y. O'Connor secures the future of Kalgoorlie and Boulder as the gold capital of Australia.

Location

1903

Kalgoorlie School of Mines (now the Western Australian School of Mines) opens in Kalgoorlie. The school is relocated from Coolgardie where it opened in 1901.

Location

1907

Italian miner Modesto Varischetti is trapped for nine days in the flooded Westralia mine at Bonnievale near Coolgardie, surviving in an air pocket until rescued.

Location

1908

Town Halls are built in Boulder and Kalgoorlie.

Location

1913

Work on the Trans Continental railway line begins simultaneously in Kalgoorlie and Port Augusta, South Australia.

Location

1914

The entire Eastern Goldfields region is affected as men leave the mines and other industries to serve in World War I.

Location

1917

The Trans Continental Railway links WA's Eastern Goldfields to the Eastern States when the final rail dog is driven into the line at Kalgoorlie.

Location

1926

Two detectives from the Kalgoorlie Gold Stealing Detection Unit, Inspector John Pitman and Sergeant Alexander Walsh, are murdered during an investigation into gold theft. William Coulter and Phillip Treffene are arrested, along with an accomplice, Evan Clarke. Coulter and Treffene are hanged.

Location

1929

Herbert Hoover is elected the 31st President of the United States of America.

Location

1929

A copper statue of Paddy Hannan is unveiled at the corner of Hannan and Wilson streets. This original statue is now in the Kalgoorlie Town Hall.

Location

1931

Jim Larcombe, aged 17, discovers the Golden Eagle nugget at Larkinville near Widgiemooltha; it weighs 1,135oz (35.325kg).

Location

1932

Mining entrepreneur Claude de Bernales acquires defunct mines and registers many mining companies, giving new lease of life to many Goldfield communities.

Location

1934

Riots break out on 29 January after a fight between an Italian barman and an Australian, Edward Jordan, tragically results in Jordan's death. After two days of riots against the migrant population, two more men lie dead, businesses and homes in Kalgoorlie and Boulder are looted or wrecked, and migrant families flee into the surrounding bush.

Location

1939

World War II disrupts gold production throughout the Eastern Goldfields as, once again, many men leave to serve. Italian and German migrants are interned.

Location

1950

Following a series of lease amalgamations that began in the early days of mining, the Golden Mile is under the control of four major companies: Lake View and Star, Great Boulder Mines, North Kalgurli and Gold Mines of Kalgoorlie (Australia).

Location

1963

The Sons of Gwalia Mine closes soon after Christmas, throwing hundreds of men out of work. Most find jobs on the Golden Mile and Gwalia becomes a ghost town.

Location

1966

Western Mining Corporation establishes Australia's first nickel mine at Kambalda. Nickel pegging boom across the Goldfields

Location

1969

A huge nickel deposit is found in the Laverton area, instigating the famous "Poseidon share market Bubble"; the Windarra Nickel Project closes in 1994 and reopens in 2006.

Location

1970

Carbon in pulp technology developed in South Africa revolutionises gold extraction, making many old workings economical.

Location

1971

The US Government floats gold on the international market; the price is slow to rise.

Location

1975

Golden Mile mines are at a standstill; the Mt Charlotte mine is still operating.

Location

1980

Gold price peaks at $US850/oz. New metal detecting technology creates a nugget gold rush for prospectors.

Location

1980

A new industry comes to town when Western Mining Corporation establishes a pilot plant outside Kalgoorlie to conduct test work on uranium ore from the Yeelirrie deposit 70km SW of Wiluna.

Location

1980

Western Australian entrepreneur Alan Bond begins buying Golden Mile leases for large-scale open pit mining.

Location

1989

Kalgoorlie and Boulder amalgamate to become the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

Location

1989

Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd is formed. Bond fails to complete the takeover of the Golden Mile leases, but the deal goes ahead between Homestake Gold of Australia Ltd and Normandy Mining. Work begins on the Fimiston Open Pit, initially by amalgamating several smaller pits.

Location

1995

Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame is founded as a memorial to those who made a significant contribution to the Australian mining industry.

Location

1995

Western Mining Corporation officially opens the large Mt Keith Nickel operations south of Wiluna

Location

1996

Gas pipeline from Dampier distributes gas throughout the Goldfields.

Location

1997

The Sam Pearce Decline is commissioned, linking the Mt Charlotte underground mine with the Fimiston Open Pit (Super Pit). The decline is named for Pearce in recognition of his role in the discovery of the Golden Mile in 1893.

Location

2000

KCGM pours its sixth millionth ounce of gold.

Location

2010

Boulder bears the brunt of a 5.0 magnitude earthquake that damages many of its fine old buildings, including the Town Hall.

Location

2017

KCGM pours its 60 millionth ounce of gold.

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