Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia
Kalgoorlie’s role in Australian mining history is legendary. It is home to Australia’s largest open-cut mine, the Superpit and at 3.6km long and 1.6km wide has engulfed parts of the town itself.
Gold was first found there – just lying on the surface – in the early 1890s. A gold rush quickly ensued. The Government railway reached the town within three years. A pipeline from the hills of Perth was constructed to provide water to the settlement – some 600km east of the capital.
Since the day of that initial gold find by Paddy Hannan in 1893, Kalgoorlie has been a mining town. It still has a population of some 30,000 people. It’s called Kalgoorlie-Boulder because the expansion of the town saw “Kal” swallow the nearby settlement of Boulder. This city in the middle of the desert is still WA’s fifth largest settlement.
The Superpit is still the biggest show in town. It is operated by KCGM – a company jointly owned by Newmont Mining Corporation and Barrick Gold. It produces 28 tonnes of gold a year and employs some 550 people. With its sheer size, the pit is also a massive tourist attraction.
Kalgoorlie is an outback town. It’s as famous for the brothels of Hay Street, having a pub on every corner and an Australian gambling pastime called Two-Up as it is for mining. The brothels, however, are becoming fewer, and Two-Up is no longer a nightly, backstreet, pleasure pursuit. The pubs are still doing OK though.
While it might be a part of the historic Australia “wild west”, Kalgoorlie is also a place where modern families live, and it is quite a vibrant and diverse community. There are many primary schools, a few high schools, a university campus specialising in mining, a 150-bed hospital, preventative health services, police and court services, and very active community sports groups.
For more about life in Kalgoorlie, check out the council’s Life Here webpage or have a snoop around the Kalgoorlie-Boulder website.
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