Shire of Menzies
70km NE of Menzies
Gold was first found in the area by W.A. Miller and party, who took up the Englishman Lease in 1895.
Kookynie was gazetted in 1900. The town was named by Mr Beaumont, manager of the Lady Shenton mine in Menzies, after Kookynie Station near Clare in South Australia.
By 1907 Kookynie had 11 hotels, a brewery, many shops, several churches, two banks, two cordial factories, a school, a Government hospital, a race course and a public swimming pool. The 3,500-strong population was serviced daily by four trains and a stage coach.
Abundant underground water significantly increased mining costs. The main employer, the Cosmopolitan Proprietary Mine, pumped 250,000 gallons per day round the clock. The Coz, as it was known locally, scaled back operations in 1910.
The gold price drop and commodity cost increases during the First World War added to its woes and the mine closed by 1923. In 1937 the Cosmopolitan’s headframe was removed by businessman Claude de Bernales and used in the construction of the façade of London Court Arcade in Perth.
Mining continued on a smaller scale, but the population slowly diminished. The school closed in the early 1960s and today just 10 people live in Kookynie. The Grand Hotel, built in 1902, still operates.
Niagara, often known as the “Mud Town” as its buildings were constructed of sun-dried mud bricks, was gazetted in 1896 but abandoned in 1909. The nearby Niagara Dam, built in 1897-98 to provide water for steam locomotives, remains a popular attraction.
Gold was discovered in the mid-1890s and Yerilla was gazetted in 1896. Within two years the town had a post office, four hotels, a battery and a weekly coach service to Coolgardie via Menzies.