Mining country

Trip Start Jul 25, 2012
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I arrived in Kalgoorlie about 2pm and the sky was darkening and very menacing, so I opted for a quick stop at the information centre and then a tour of the town, before finding a spot at Lake Douglas Recreation Reserve.
 
I found a place right on top of the mountain and had a spectacular view of the illustrious mining area, with it's ever changing colours, begging to be captured on camera. 
(Must admit the colours looked better through polaroid glasses than what I captured...:-( )
    
Next day there were still a few clouds hanging around as I made my way up to the lookout.
From there it was obvious the dark clouds lurking in the west were going to create havoc, so I headed north away from the thunder and lightening for Leonora.

As much as I would have loved to do a little prospecting, leaving the dogs in the van for a couple of hours in stinking hot weather, or any temperature for that matter, is not recommended.

 
In January 1893, prospectors Patrick (Paddy) Hannan, Tom Flanagan, and Dan O'Shea were travelling to Mount Youle when one of their horses cast a shoe. During the halt in their journey, the men noticed signs of gold in the area, and decided to stay put. On 17 June 1893, Hannan filed a Reward Claim, leading to hundreds of men swarming to the area in search of gold and Kalgoorlie, originally called Hannan's, was born.The population of the town was 2,018 (1516 males and 502 females) in 1898.The mining of gold, along with other metals such as nickel, has been a major industry in Kalgoorlie ever since, and today employs about one-quarter of Kalgoorlie's workforce and generates a significant proportion of its income. The concentrated area of large gold mines surrounding the original Hannan find is often referred to as the Golden Mile, and is considered by some to be the richest square mile of earth on the planet. The town's population was about 30,000 people in 1903 and began to grow into nearby Boulder.Kalgoorlie after the 1934 race riotsThe narrow gauge Government railway line reached Kalgoorlie in 1896, and the main named railway service from Perth was the overnight sleeper train The Westland which ran until the 1970's. In 1917, a standard gauge railway line was completed, connecting Kalgoorlie to the city of Port Augusta, South Australia across 2,000 kilometres (1,243 mi) of desert, and consequently the rest of the eastern states. The standardisation of the railway connecting Perth (which changed route from the narrow gauge route) in 1968 completed the Sydney-Perth railway, making it possible for rail travel from Perth to Sydney—and the Indian Pacific rail service commenced soon after. During the 1890's, the Goldfields area boomed as a whole, with an area population exceeding 200,000, mainly prospectors. The area gained a notorious reputation for being a wild west with bandits and prostitutes.The Super Pit is an open-cut gold mine approximately 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) long, 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) wide and 512 metres (1,680 ft) deep. It produces 900.000 ounces of gold a year. Every now and again the digging reveals an old shaft containing abandoned equipment and vehicles from the earlier mines.The mine operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and a visitor centre overlooks it. The mine blasts at 1:00 pm every day, unless winds would carry dust over the town. Each of the massive trucks carries 225 tonnes of rock and the round trip takes about 35 minutes, most of that time being the slow uphill haul. Employees must live in Kalgoorlie; it is not a fly-in fly-out operation. The mine is expected to be productive until about 2017. At that point, it is planned to abandon it and allow the groundwater to seep in and fill it. It is estimated it will take about 50 years to fill completely.
 

 
The Super Pit Australia's largest open-cut Gold Mine

 
 
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