Gold rush history

The Western Australian gold rush began with the first discovery of gold in the late 1890s. News of the gold spread as fast as the region’s wildfires and soon gold prospectors were arriving to seek their fortune and set up gold rush towns in the dusty landscapes of the Kalgoorlie, Goldfields and Murchison regions. 

They came slowly at first, but as the finds grew so too did the population. Lonely clusters of tents and rough bough sheds were soon transformed into booming Western Australian gold rush towns. Grand hotels lined the main streets and bustling town centres soon boasted butchers, bakers, schools and churches. And with the completion of the Golden Pipeline, this arid region was given a constant supply of fresh water.

Many of the original townships remain and though the populations are not as huge, the character buildings and museums provide a fascinating glimpse into the wild and colourful spirit of the gold rush era.

Take a journey of discovery, starting at Hannans North Tourist Mine in Kalgoorlie-Boulder and visiting some of the region’s many museums. Try your luck at gold prospecting and fossicking in the Goldfields. Or follow the Golden Quest Discovery Trail, leading you through the gold rush towns of Coolgardie, Laverton and Gwalia.

Check out Outback heritage trails for more details about attractions that explore the fascinating history of the Western Australian gold rush.


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