The Shire of Menzies website quotes the following information about the early town which had:
The first public swimming bath on the goldfields;
A population of 3500 residents with just as many transients;
Eleven hotels, seven of which were licensed;
A workman’s club (instigated by the poor quality of earlier brews).
Many business houses sprang up such as: Newsagents, Chemists, Cycle Works, two Blacksmiths, Butchers, Bakers, two Banks,
Jewellers and Watchmakers, several Clothing Stores and Drapers, Photographers, Tobacconists, Confectioners, Greengrocers,
five General Stores and even the red light areas run by Japanese Ladies boomed.
There were also the State School, Hospital, Police Station, Wardens Office, Post and Telegraph Office, Money Order Office
and an electric light installation, which kept the town’s seven arc lamps operating.
Churches of all denominations and no less than seven brass bands kept the population entertained.
The Kookynie Turf Club held three meetings annually.
The recreation area was used by footballers, cricketers and bicycle racers.
The Town Hall housed the regular Saturday Night dances as well as plays and the official ceremonies.
The Kookynie Cemetery is the final resting place for 149 of its past residents.
Of course Kookynie had its own brewery and two cordial and soft drink manufactures to supply the many thirsty people.
Four trains a day came to Kookynie from Kalgoorlie, each half an hour apart. The railhead was quite impressive, as before
the line was constructed through to Malcolm, Mertondale, Gwalia, Leonora, Murrin Murrin, Mt Morgans,
Mt Margaret and Laverton. It was the end of the line and all turn arounds and marshalling had to be accomplished.
Today there are about 10 people and one hotel where you can get a cold beer and a room for the night.
It is referred to as a ghost town and although many buildings have been abandoned, there are still a few residents there.
Gold was found in the area in the late 1890's and the townsite was gazetted in 1900.
'At the beginning of 1901 the buildings in the main street scarcely numbered more than half-a-dozen, while today,
(late 1901) they extend on either side of the street for nearly half a mile.'
'...as might be expected land values are fairly high... ...At the Government land sale recently another lot, for which
there was keen competition, was knocked down for 601 pounds.'
Twentieth Century Impressions of W.A. 1901
W.A. Miller who took up the Englishman lease on 25th June 1895 sold out to Cosmopolitan Proprietary Ltd two years later.
The company operated the mine until 1911 and extracted 630,000 tons of ore averaging 15 grams of gold to the ton.
Located between Menzies and Leonora, Kookynie has little left of the once thriving mining settlement that grew up in the area.
At one time the population was around 3500 and there were over 400 buildings. These included a Mechanic's Institute hall,
government hospital, several churches, five general stores, a brewery and even two cordial factories.
Nearby Niagara Dam was completed in 1898 with the water being used by steam locomotives on the Kalgoorlie
to Menzies line. Construction costs for the dam ballooned out by almost 50% and when the work was finally complete the weather did not co-operate
and the dam remained almost empty for quite some time.
By the time the dam was complete plentiful underground water was found near the town and the dam has since remained a pleasant
picnic and swimming area. The underground water turned out to be a problem for the gold mines as many shafts quickly filled with
water and pumps had to be run around the clock to keep the mines operational. This ultimately led to the closure of the Cosmopolitan
mine in 1910. The mine was kept going for a while by 'tributors' who paid the original owners to use the equipment and continue to
look for ore. When gold prices fell after the start of the First World War the tributors could no longer afford to keep the pumps
going and the mine flooded.
The town's name seems to have originated from South Australia and was given to this area by a Mr. Beaumont, Manager of the lady
Shenton Gold Mine. The Aboriginal name for the area is lungkutjarra which may mean 'black snake'.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
Local lothario gets his comeuppance.
In 1905 a Kookynie tradesman with a reputation for chasing the ladies invited a local young lady to accompany him to see the Fisk Jubilee Singers. She was unable to attend but arranged for a friend to go in her place. Her friend was in fact a young man who was adorned in female clothing, had a wig put on and was made up to disguise his real gender.
The practical joke doesn't seem to have gone down too well with the local police as after a disturbance during the performance they took the 'young lady' away charged 'her' with disorderly conduct and fined 'her' a shilling.
The joke was a much greater success with the rest of the population and was a taking point for many days afterward.
Nothing available at this time.
Ruins, Fossicking, Niagara Dam.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
Grand Hotel 1900, Cosmopolitan hotel ruins.
State : Kalgoorlie
Federal : O'Connor
Postcode : 6431
Local Government : Shire of Menzies
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