When looking up ‘things to do in Kalgoorlie’, its impossible to miss the local tourist mine. Just north of the main city is the remains of a number of smaller outfits that have been combined over time before being opened as a visitor centre in 1991.
The original tourist mine was at the Hainault mine to the south, with its shaft selected as ideal for showcasing the wonders of the Golden Mine. This shaft allowed retired local miners to take tourists on undergrown tours and for nearly twenty years, as well as conducting rock drilling demonstrations.
Once the Hainault site was incorporated into KCGM’s Superpit sett in 1991, the leaseholders established a new visitor centre to the north due to the quality of the shafts, the historical significance of the mine and its proximity to the town. The Tourist Mine itself was owned by the Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame until 2011 when KCGM again took over care. It was reopened in 2013 to visitors.
The site features a number original buildings from the mine as well as examples of early prospectors houses.
Those original prospectors who made the ridiculously long journey to Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie would have lived in small tents and huts, made from all kinds of materials they had to hand or managed to bring with them. They would have been very basic, with no windows, floors or insulation, making them too hot in the summer, cold in the winter and muddy when it rained.
Water in the Goldfields was incredible hard to come by and Sundays would see the locals head to the government bore hole to get what water they could for washing and bathing. The richer individuals would just buy new clothes as it was cheaper than the water to clean them. It wasn’t until 1903 that the Golden Pipeline opened, bringing fresh water from Perth to Kalgoorlie.
Remains of the large ore bin.
The rest of this post will look at the history of individual bits and pieces around the mine.
One of the first mines in Kalgoorlie, the original lease was sought in 1893 by D L Doolette just five months after the discovery of gold in Kalgoorlie. This lease was held by the Great Boulder Propriety Gold Mine Ltd until 1934.
Between 1935 and 1952 the mine was taken over by Broken Hill Propriety Company Ltd, after which it was worked by a variety of tributors until 1991. The shaft is 395 meters in depth and thirteen levels allowing it to work a gold seam.
Erected in the 1890’s, this headframe was named after John Morty, a director at South Kalgurli Gold Mines Ltd. It was moved to Hannan’s North in 1993.
This headframe was originally built for a mine in Wiluna, but was moved to Hainault mine in 1853, replacing an old timber frame. In 1992 it was moved to North Hannan’s.
The Hainault mine was once 6km south of the Tourist Mine and was owned by the Hainault Gold Mining Company until 1896 when the Mine Department mixed up the lease numbers and the company lost of lease. Following legal action, the company got its lease back and in 1901 erected a new battery (Smith, 1897). 1907 and 08 saw a number of deaths and injuries due to an unexploded charge and machinery.
The mine closed in 1968 until it was opened as the tourist mine in 1972. In 1991 that mine was bought by KCGM and incorporated into the Superpit, forcing it to close. The equipment, including the prominent headgear was moving to Hannan’s North (Cumming, 1991). This shaft was originally sunk in 1893.
Originally built in the 1930’s for Daisy Milano Mine at Mount Monger for its North shaft. The headframe comes with a reconstruction of its winder and engine room which provided power and compressed air. Daisy Milano is 50km south-east of Kalgoorlie and is still operational under Silver Lake Resources.
Built in 1904, this headframe and its ore bin was named after Richard Hamilton, the manager of Great Boulder Propriety Gold Mines Ltd. It remained operational until 1967.