COOLGARDIE - Mother of the Western Australian Goldfields
from the Shire of Coolgardie
The name Coolgardie is said to be derived from the aboriginal word “Coolcaby,” which is in reference to the area’s mulga vegetation and gnamma waterholes.
Lions Lookout was the view Bayley and Ford first saw in 1892 as they rode in from Gnarlbine Soak looking over to where they first struck gold - the area they called Fly Flat
Over the years, Coolgardie was known by various names such as:
Bayley's Find - Fly Flat - The Old Camp & The Old Diggings
The Coolgardie area was first explored by Henry Maxwell Lefroy (1818-1879) in 1863 and then by Charles Cooke Hunt (1833-1868) in 1864.
As a result of Hunt’s efforts, the area became accessible to Europeans. But Coolgardie owes its existence to the discovery of gold at nearby Fly Flat, 120 miles to the east of Southern Cross, back in 1892.
According to all accounts, gold was discovered in the area by
Arthur Wellesley Bayley and William Ford on the 17 September 1892. Bayley hastily reported the discovery of 554 ounces of gold to J.M. Finnerty, then the resident mining warden at Southern Cross. At the time 554 ounces of gold was worth 2200 pounds ($4,400) and in accordance with Western Australian mining regulations, Bailey was offered a reward claim covering 20 acres of land at Fly Flat. Bayley’s reward claim proved to be very profitable, and during the 70 years of existence, this mining claim recovered over 500,000 ounces of gold.
From an historical perspective, the Coolgardie gold find proved to be one of immense national significance. During the 1890’s, Eastern Australia experienced a severe depression and people flocked to the areas around Coolgardie in the hope of a better life. However, while some found gold, many only found hardship, sickness and death caused by inadequate housing, lack of fresh water and food, insufficient medical attention and supplies. Despite early hardships, within the short space of ten years, Coolgardie’s population had grown to a staggering 16,000.
By 1896, the railway had arrived and by 1898, Coolgardie was the third largest town in Western Australia (after Perth and Fremantle). Two stock exchanges, three breweries, six newspapers, 60 stores, 26 hotels and many churches were evident during this time. The town was named in 1893 and became a municipality the following year. The Post Office opened in 1895 and the following year electricity and a swimming pool enhanced the hard life of the miners. By 1897, the level of enthusiasm about the potential of the region was such that over 700 mining companies had been floated in London. The water pipeline arrived in 1903 and a year earlier the town had seen the construction of the State Battery.
As the surface gold ran out, many prospectors left the fields disillusioned and penniless. Others headed to Kalgoorlie (East Coolgardie as it was known then) and later worked for mining companies for as little as $6.00 per week.
Coolgardie still continues its long association with the gold industry by more efficient open pit mining and recovery methods. The Coolgardie of today is a pleasant inland town which has retained many aspects of its rich and colourful past. Once the centre of Australia's greatest gold rush, Coolgardie is now the nation's best preserved gold mining town. Coolgardie has carefully preserved the best of its past. Its wide streets are lined by grand stone and brick buildings mixed with corrugated iron and timber homes reflecting both the wealth and importance of the gold rush.
Much of Coolgardie's fascinating history can be read on the headstones of the Pioneer Cemetery (1892 - 1894) and the Coolgardie Cemetery (1894 - ). As Typhoid raced through the town in the early Gold Rush Days many people died without their identity being recorded.
William Ernest Powell GILES (1835-1897)
Tagh MAHOMED are buried here along with the many unknowns.
The grave of our better known ghost, Elizabeth Gold, can be found at the Coolgardie Cemetery, not far from the resting place of her murderer.
Cemetery Index and maps are available for viewing at the Coolgardie Visitors Centre if you are looking for someone in particu
the COOLGARDIE CEMETERIES
... researched by janilye, has the cemeteries:
Coolgardie on Grave Hill
St Ives (Ives Find)
White Hope Mine
7 Mile, Norseman Road
Twenty-Two Mile Dam
42 Mile Tank
some Coolgardie PHOTOS
more Coolgardie HISTORY
the [url=http://www.outbackfamilyhistory.com.au/Coolgardie/1899a.htm]Coolgardie 1899 DIRECTORY[/url with names and occupations etc
the Coolgardie MUSEUMS
Goldfields Exhibition Museum
Housed in the historic and grandiose two storey Wardens Court Building (built 1898). Each room features fascinating displays telling the dramatic and tragic story of life in and around Coolgardie during the Goldrush of the 1890's.
A brilliant collection of photographs, models and authentic equipment with a free daily screening of the BBC film "Gold Fever". Open from 9am-4pm Monday to Friday and 10am-3pm Weekends and Public Holidays.
Warden Finnerty’s Residence
A beautiful old house built in 1895 of local stone for the first Mining Warden and Resident Magistrate, John Michael Finnerty.
Restored by the National Trust, you can now enjoy a walk through the rooms to capture the feeling of life in the late 1890's. Lovely antique furnishings and chinaware.
Having hosted Premiers, Governors and visiting dignitaries for over 100 years, it is open 11am to 4pm daily including public holidays. (Closed Wednesdays)
Suprisingly interesting, this is one of the best pharmaceutical collections on display in Australia. Houses a collection of 18th and 19th century medicines and various advertisements and posters. Located in the Old Gaol Complex.
Built in March 1896, the Coolgardie Railway Station is now a museum with a steam locomotive, carriages and other interesting memorabilia on display.
... more of interest at above link