Theatres/Venues 7b: Western Australia

Eastern Goldfields banner

In the wake of gold discoveries in 1892 at Mount Charlotte (now Coolgardie) and in 1893 within the area now known as Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia experienced its biggest-ever gold rush. These three towns in particular saw a massive influx of people and industry (both mining-related and ancillary during the remainder of the 1890s and early twentieth century). Other gold discoveries were made throughout the region during the mid-1890s leading to numerous settlements being established. Some have since become ghost towns while others still exist today.

Eastern Goldfields map 2

It is estimated that more than 200,000 people, mainly prospectors, came to the region during the gold rush period, a situation which saw it gain notoriety as Australia’s wild west. A lack of infrastructure, extreme climactic conditions, inadequate food, scarcity of water, lack of sanitation, meagre medical supplies, and the fact that many people came ill-prepared led to the deaths of thousands, however. On the flipside, the money being generated and the continual population growth that occurred well into the new century led to countless visits to the area by touring entertainments, ranging from international stars and high profile firms such as Harry Rickards‘ Tivoli companies to circuses, small time minstrel and vaudeville troupes, and moving picture showmen. This led to many buildings either being converted into venues or designed and built especially as theatres.

The towns and settlements that were established in the region during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries included:

  • Eastern Goldfields map 1Broad Arrow: (1895-1920s) 38 km north of Kalgoorlie
  • Boulder aka Boulder City: (1894-) 5 km south of Kalgoorlie
  • Coolgardie: (1892-) 560 km east of Perth
  • Goongarrie aka 90 Mile and The Roaring Gimlet: (1894-ca. 1910s) 85 km north of Kalgoorlie
  • Gwalia: (1897-1963) 230 km north of Kalgoorlie (4 km south of Leonora)
  • Kalgoorlie aka Hannans: (1893-) 595 km east of Perth
  • Kambalda: (1897-ca. 1907) 75 km southeast of Coolgardie
  • Kanowna: (1894-1953) 20 km east of Kalgoorlie
  • Kookynie: (ca. 1896-) 200 km north of Kalgoorlie
  • Kunanalling aka 25 Mile and Connanalling: (1895-early 1940s) 25 km north of Coolgardie
  • Laverton: (1897-) 360 km north-east of Kalgoorlie
  • Leonora: (1895-) 237 km (147 mi) north of Kalgoorlie
  • Menzies: (1894-) 133 km northwest of Kalgoorlie
  • Mount Margaret aka Craiggiemore: (ca. late-1880s – 1920s) 360 km north-east of Kalgoorlie
  • Ora Banda: (ca. 1895-) 66 km north-west of Kalgoorlie
  • Southern Cross: (1888-) 225 km west of Kalgoorlie
Eastern Goldfields montageL: Opening of Leonora tramway, 1901 (Perth Electric Tramway Society). R: Coolgardie around the turn of the century (Finding Family website)


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Published on March 6, 2017 at 9:35 pm  Comments Off on Theatres/Venues 7b: Western Australia