Gwalia

 

 

GWALIA

 

HEMA Map reference 77/F11

 

GPS 28 54 41 S 121 19 45 E

 

 

 

 

FIND ACCOMMODATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATISTICS

Distance from Perth

 828 Km

Population

30

Average Rainfall

226mm

Mean Max Temp

27.9C

Mean Min Temp

13.8C

 

SERVICES

Police

08 9037 6100

Fire and Rescue

08 9037 6354

Medical

08 9037 6000

Visitor Centre

08 9037 7016

 

CARAVAN PARKS

Leonora

Visit website

08 9037 6568

 

HOTEL / MOTEL

Central Hotel

 

08 9037 6042

Hoover House

Visit website

08 9037 7122

Leonora Lodge

Visit website

08 9037 7053

Motor Inn

 

08 9037 6444

Villas

 

08 9037 6400

White House Hotel

 

08 9037 6030

 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 

 

 

 

 

DESCRIPTION

 

Gwalia will transport you back to the 1800s and give you a glimpse of how the miners lived out in this hot, dry, dusty land.

 

Up on the hill, the luxury of the mine manager's house (Hoover House) stands in stark contrast to the squalid tin shacks that would be like ovens in summer and ice boxes in winter.

 

Most of the town has been preserved including the shops, boarding house, garage and of course the miner's huts. This is an amazing attraction and is a MUST SEE location on anyone's trip through the gldfields.

 

The local shire has created a unique place that is a real credit to everyone involved.

 

Rooms at Hoover House can be rented for overnight stays. The $150 (2014) fee includes breakfast and entry to the museum. The house has a wonderful 'old world charm' as well as modern en-suite facilities. There is a lookout where you can see the mine workings and a lovely green lawn where you can sit and watch the sun go down.

 

People with self-contained motorhomes can stay outside the museum free for up to three nights. This gives plenty of time to explore the town. If your motorhome or caravan isn't self contained then there is another free campsite close by at Malcolm Dam.

 

The old town of Malcolm was once the most important in the area and was at one time the administrative centre for the shire. Today nothing remains of what was once a thriving town.

 

It is rather sad that the State Hotel has not been included as part of the tourist attractions in Gwalia. It is a majestic old hotel and would make a wonderful addition if it was restored and opened for visitors.

HISTORY

 

John Forrest led an expedition through this area in June 1869 while he was searching for the lost Leichardt expedition. When Forrest returned to the area in 1899 in his capacity as state Premier, it had changed almost beyond comprehension. When John Forrest was guest of honour at a dinner in Gwalia the table decorations were said to be bars of pure gold.

 

The original Sons of Gwalia (Wales) mine saw its beginnings in 1896 when Glendinning, Carlson and White pegged a claim on what would become the main ore body. The prospecting party was financed by a man named Tommy Tobias who eventually sold the claim to George W. Hall for 5000 pounds. Hall recovered his investment in the first month of operation.

 

In 1897 Herbert Hoover (who later became the 31st American president) started his association with the mine as a mining engineer and he had a lot to do with its early development. He was transferred in 1898 but later returned and became a manager of operations in W.A. for Bewick Moreing and Co. The Sons of Gwalia was at one time the second largest gold mine in W.A. and the largest outside the Golden Mile.

 

At its peak the population here was over 1000 and there was even a tramway constructed in the town linking it to the nearby settlement of Leonora. It started as a steam driven service in 1903 and was replaced by an electric tram in 1908. The service ran until 1921 and by 1923 the rails had been pulled out and no sign of the tramway now remains.

 

There was great rivalry between Leonora and Gwalia with Gwalia originally being the larger settlement. When the railway terminated at Leonora the fortunes of the towns were reversed and Gwalia began a slow but steady decline.

 

A state sponsored hotel was constructed in 1902 and at one time it was said to be so busy that an 18 gallon keg was opened every 20 minutes. The hotel lasted only as long as the mine and was forced to close in 1964.

 

In late 1930s the mine constructed a swimming pool that had a three-fold purpose as additional water storage for the mine, water for fire fighting and as a public amenity for the town. At the time it was only the second public swimming pool in W.A.

 

The towns' long decline began in the 1920s when large numbers of workers were laid off from the mine but operations continued until 1963 when the mine closed down and the population dropped almost overnight from nearly 2000 to 40. By the time the mine closed over 21,600,000 ounces of gold had been extracted.

 

In 1972 the Gwalia Historical Gallery opened and a committee formed to help preserve some of the areas gold mining history. The museum features a 30 metre Oregon timber head frame and the largest 1000 hp steam winding engine in Australia.

 

TALL TALES AND TRUE

 

On Monday 4th September 2000 a Beechcraft King Air 200 chartered by The Sons Of Gwalia Mining Company, took off from Perth heading for Leonora on a routine flight taking 7 miners to work. The plane, apparently on auto-pilot, reached 32,000 feet but no contact could be made with it. Another plane was sent up to investigate but no sign of life could be seen on the Beechcraft. Eventually, somewhere over Queensland, the inevitable happened and the plane ran out of fuel. It appears that everyone on board lost consciousness not long after take off and all would have suffocated long before the plane crashed.

 

The men who lost their live in this tragedy were:

Roger Clarkson, 30, of Dunedin, New Zealand

Frederick Ellis Fineberg, 56, of Perth, Western Australia

Brett Hewitt, 31, of Auckland, New Zealand

Matthew John Luberda, 25, of Perth, Western Australia

Shaun Brian McKay, 24, of Perth, Western Australia

Kenneth Hugh Mosedale, 50, of Perth, Western Australia

Barry Leslie Woods, 46 of Werribee, Victoria

Justin Leigh Woods, 27, of Werribee, Victoria

 

Beer Strike

 

It takes a lot to stop thirsty miners from drinking beer but in 1919 the only known 'beer strike' in the history of Western Australia happened at Gwalia.

 

The miners complained about the manager who they wanted sacked, about the dirty glasses, the size of serves, the price and even the brand of beer sold. They submitted a list of demands and 50 residents boycotted the hotel.

 

The strike lasted from March to September but it is not recorded which side won. The sly-grog shops in town would certainly have increased their trade during the boycott.

MAP

 

 

OTHER INFORMATION

 

ATTRACTIONS

 

Haritage trail.

 

BUILDINGS OF NOTE

 

Miner's huts, Hoover House, Mine, State Hotel.

 

ELECTORAL ZONES

 

State : Kalgoorlie

Federal : O'Connor

 

OTHER INFO.

 

Postcode : 6438

Local Government : Shire of Leonora

 

PHOTOS

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