Thursday, January 17, 2013
We have a friend, Peter, who goes prospecting in the middle of no-where, we went to stay with him to find out what all this was about. After driving for hundreds of kilometres down tracks and passing mounds of earth where others have dug, loads of 'holes' in the ground and even mining equipment just sitting there waiting for to dig more gold from the ground, as well as the occasional truck travelling from one large mine to another, over dried up lakes and some with water in them, we finally caught up with Peter.
I can see why they call this area beautiful, all the rocks on the ground just sparkled in the sunlight, the earth so many colours of red with the subtle greens of the vegetation made for a real pretty picture that it was hard to believe it gets so dry out there. They say that the wildlife is abundant but I did not see very much of it during our stay just a few birds and a rather large grey one that crossed our path when we were driving the 4wd looking at the old mines. It's a shame I did not get a photo of that one because it was large, I think it was a bustard one of our largest birds, it really surprised both myself and Peter as we watched it disappear into the scrub.
We wandered around looking at the old mines, finding some shiny rocks to take home to the kids but we did not find gold so Peter brought out some of his find and I took photos of that.
There be a lot of gold there!
Walking the scrub seems easy except for the part where these plants are made for dry conditions and can have sharp edges, real prickly, so you need to protect your legs, arms etc.. or like me, just avoid brushing up against them.
Also you must be careful where you step, this small hole may seem safe but it leads down into a deep pit. Old mines litter the landscape some are easy to spot and others not so much.
This one goes down then underneath not that we would go into any of them.... they did not look too stable.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Kalgoorlie, known as Kalgoorlie-Boulder, or 'Kal', as the locals call it, The town was founded in 1893 during the Yilgarn-Goldfields gold rush, and is located close to the so-called "Golden Mile" and thousands of prospectors made the journey east of Perth to seek their fortunes. Today, their legacy lives on in magnificent architecture and one of the world's largest open cut mines - the Super Pit. At 3.5 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide, the pit produces 900,000 ounces of gold each year it operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and a visitor centre overlooks it..
We seem to bounce back to this place for one reason or another and this won't be the last time I pop up photos of the place....
The gold rush days of the 1890's settled many 'booming' towns and Menzies was one of them but unlike many this one survived the limited resources and changing fortunes. Gold was first discovered in the area in 1891, it was reported by James Speakman but for what ever reason he or his family never returned. It was the rich discovery in the Coolgardie field in 1892 that tempted many prospectors to the area. Water had to be carted in from underground supplies so the government started to build a dam in 1897 and by 1901 it supplied the township. At the height of the gold rush boom which lasted for ten years there was a population of approx 10,000 people with 13 hotels and 2 breweries. By 1905 however things began to dwindle and people began looking elsewhere for their luck and the towns population declined to less than 1,000.
Niagara is an abandoned goldfield town located between Menzies and Leonora. Gold was discovered in 1895, this rapidly populated the area and the government declared it a town site in 1896.
There is a local waterfall and its height is approx 3 meters after a heavy rain, the locals jokingly named it after the American falls. Niagara Dam was built in 1897 by the Railways Department and was originally used for the steam engines.
By 1900 over sixty buildings existed in the town but by 1905 many of the mud brick buildings were derelict, the population declined to 75 and by 1909 the town was abandoned.
There is a camping site around the dam with a few walking trails, a little further up the track you can drive around the land where the town stood, but if you like old grave sites they still exist, I took many photos as I wandered around reading the head stones.