Friday, January 24, 2014

Boondi Rock to Kalgoorlie - Boulder

Kalgoorlie Boulder's thriving gold rush days of glory began when three down on their luck Irishmen, Patrick Hannan, Tom Flanagan and Daniel Shea stumbled across 100 ounces of alluvial gold nuggets when they were forced to stop to replace a shoe for their horse. And as they say the rest is history. Kalgoorlie Boulder is still one of the biggest gold mining cities.
Prior to arriving here we were concerned as to how we would cope with the 45c plus weather this area was getting. Well we haven't had to worry, it was raining when we arrived and after 48 hours it has finally stopped. We have had record breaking rain with over 100ml falling over night our first night here. Not that I'm complaining, we have been very lucky with the weather this past eight month. I must admit it is pretty cosy being snuggled up in Myrtle with my PJ's on.
Today we went for a bit of an outing to check out some of the sights. One thing I have noticed there are an amazing amount of beautiful old buildings. I intend to head out early tomorrow morning and get some shots before the traffic gets about. Anyway back to our little expedition today. I think Kalgoorlie Boulders main attraction would have to be the huge hole in the ground which is the gold mine called "The Super Pit". The Super Pit is a man made wonder that can be seen from space; a massive gorge carved into the red earth where trucks the size of houses move hundreds of tonnes of rock in the hope of extracting a few ounces of gold at a time. The current Super Pit is approximately 3.5km long (2.17 miles), 1.6km wide (.994 mile) and 620 metres (2034 feet) deep.  The Super Pit could hold the equivalent of 220,000 Olympic size swimming pools or 39,000,000 HiLux trucks stacked like bricks or 2.3 billion people - that's 99 times the population of Australia. Mining uses the Troy ounce, which is 31.107 grams. 1 KCGM Gold Bar weighs approx. 18kg or 559,926 ounces. Today's gold price is AU$1437.50 per ounce!! We would really like to do a Super Pit Tour but with all the rain that has fallen they have had to cancel the tours until next Tuesday. I guess we will see then if we are still here. So today we had to settle for seeing the Super Pit from the lookout. It was certainly not a disappointment, this hole is absolutely amazing, it really is enormous.

Panorama of The Super Pit

The Super Pit
We then went and checked out Hannans North Tourist Mine which gives a look into what the old time miners had to contend with. The complex included a 793 Dump Truck, 994 Wheel Loader, Chinese Gardens, Dynamite room and lots more. You could even do a little bit of gold panning. And yes I did find a tiny (really tiny) little gold flake. I would take a photo to prove it but it is really tiny.

days gone by....

Davine panning for gold.......


Gold Gold Gold !!!!!!!


Chinese Gardens
Very Tranquil
Then we headed out of town to check out some of the old historic country pubs. Unfortunately we could only get to see one as the dirt roads were in just to bad a conditions due to the weather. The one we did get to see was Broad Arrow Tavern and it was still pretty cool. It was situated what seemed the middle of no where surrounded by nothing except the huge mounds of earth from the surrounding mines. At it's peak the town had 15,000 residents, eight hotels, and two breweries as well as a stock exchange. Other facilities included a hospital, three churches, Salvation Army Hall, a chemist, two banks, police station with a resident magistrate, a mining registrar, a post office, a cordial factory, six grocery stores, two draperies, a blacksmith and bakers shops. Now it is one lonely little tavern. It seems all these little isolated pubs and taverns have invented some nifty idea to get the tourists in and the Broad Arrow Tavern is no different. Every one who pays them a visit is encouraged to write their name and/or write some sort of message on any spare surface they can find. Yes I did write our names on the bar.

Broad Arrow Tavern
 
Could be a bit distracting during a game of darts!!

Bronze Statue of Patrick Hannan