HEMA Map reference 76/E5
28 20' 42" S 116 40' 59" E
Fossicking, local fauna, Court House Museum, Dominican Chapel, Thundarella Station, Jokers Tunnel.
Buildings of note
April: Race meeting and Gymkhana.
(C) Don Copley
Exploration dates from 1846 when A.C. Gregory travelled through the area. He was followed in 1854 by Robert Austin and John Forrest in 1873. Gold was discovered in the 1890s but it is uncertain who was first to find it.
Local legend suggests that in 1892 five men, Evans, Knight, Moxon, Parsons and Rice were prospecting in the area when they came across the camp of a shepherd (William Pearce) who was with an Aboriginal woman and some children. The prospectors noticed that some rocks the children were playing with contained traces of gold and asked Pearce where they had come from. Pearce - who seemed unaware of the value of gold - showed the men who promptly pegged out a claim that was to become the Emerald Reward Mine. It is unclear whether Pearce shared in their good fortune.
afterwards anther prospector (Richard Robinson) arrived and pegged a claim
not far north that became the Star of Hope mine. By the end of that year all
the land around these two leases had been taken up and a town slowly started
to develop around a newly sunk government well.
is that the name refers to the red coloured sap of a native bush that grows there.
The Aboriginal name for the bush being yalgru or yalguru.
By 1895 the population was estimated at 900 and in May the following year the first Road Board was established and lots on the town site were put up for sale.
By 1898 there were licenses for no less than 18 pubs in the area and it was said that the hotel trade was second only to mining. In the same year the railway arrived from Mullewa and Yalgoo for a while was the 'head of the line'.
?The famous ?Emerald? mine, situated close to the town, was sold for a large sum, and numerous other properties brought fabulous prices.?
Twentieth Century Impressions of W.A.
By 1903 the gold had started to run out and by 1908 the largest mine, the Emerald Reward had closed.
Mining boomed until the early 1900s but soon after the turn of the century there was a down turn and many smaller mines closed down. During this time the pastoral industry was expanding and despite the First World War, the town continued to do well into the 1920s.
Mining picked up again in the 1920s and electric street lights were turned on in 1922.
Accidents, violent deaths and suicide were common in Yalgoo and during one twelve month period none of the 13 deaths reported were from natural causes. Some of the more superstitious residents may have been heard to mutter about the town's name and it's association with blood.
During the years of the Great Depression (starting in 1929) Yalgoo was supported mainly by mining. Pastoral properties did not do well as wool prices fell and drought hit the area. When World War Two arrived the situation reversed with all mining coming to an end by 1942 but good rains and better wool prices meant that the town once again did not suffer as badly as it otherwise might have done.
By the 1960s mining had almost ceased completely. It was now the pastoral industry that kept the town alive. 1969 saw nickel discoveries pump new life into the town and with new extraction methods and higher gold prices in the 1970s, gold once again became profitable to mine and old workings were re-processed with some success.
In 1973 a museum was opened and shortly afterwards some of the older buildings including the chapel were restored as people decided to ensure that some of the town's heritage was preserved.
In 1978 the railway closed down and the town saw yet another decline during the 1980s. Yalgoo continues to survive today as the economy swings back and forth from mning to pastoral interests. A new tourist industry has also come to the area as metal detectors have brought a new wave of prospectors into the old gold fields.
What was possibly the first letter bomb ever sent in Australia was delivered to the Yalgoo post office in 1903. It was addressed to Solomon William Lowns who, on opening the package at the post office counter had one of his hands blown off. The person responsible for sending the bomb was thought to have never been prosecuted brought to trial but the outcome is not known.
The incident was reported in The Advertiser newspaper as follows:
Despite the injury he suffered, Solomon Lowns went on to build a store in Yalgoo.