Friday, December 1, 2017


This morning we are off to do a tour of the Boulder Town Hall… 
Boulder Town Hall
Christmas Nativity Scene - Boulder Town Hall
Our main purpose of going was to check out the famous Philip Goatcher Stage Curtain which is supposed to be the last remaining one of its kind in the world. 

The Boulder Town Hall  was built in 1908 and demonstrates the architectural style of the prosperous gold rush days.  It is a beautifully preserved historical hall with pressed tin ceilings and wrought iron balustrades.
Famous Philip Goatcher Stage Curtain in the Boulder Town Hall
Ian enjoyed belting out a few tunes on the Town Hall piano
A few of the ladies enjoyed dancing whilst he played
 The Hall was formerly a theatre famous for celebrity performances by Dame Nellie Melba, Eileen Joyce and Joan Sutherland. It still houses a rare and famous Philip Goatcher Stage Curtain, believed to be the last remaining one of its kind. This spectacular and priceless curtain depicts the scene of the Bay of Naples and has  hung in the hall since 1908.

In 1997 the curtain was removed and transported to Sydney where it was stabilised at a cost of $200,000 by the council and the fundraising efforts of Boulder Hidden Secrets.

Phil W. Goatcher (as he signed his name) was nicknamed Satin ‘n’ Velvet for the lavish illusions he created for drop curtains that graced theatres from Paris to New York. Like many of Goatcher’s works, the curtains painted for Perth’s His Majesty’s Theatre were painted over in 1948.
  Goatcher was paid 50 pounds in 1908 to paint the curtain as a drop canvas to complement and close the ‘picture frame’ stage of the Town Hall. Less than a year earlier he had painted the stage curtain at the Midland Town Hall.

Before there was any town called Boulder, hundreds of men travelled from Kalgoorlie to work in the mines to the south. One of the mines was called the “Great Boulder” and cab drivers touting their trade would shout “All the way to Boulder”. It was thus that Boulder found a name.
Tiled foyer of the Boulder Town Hall
Trowel that was used to lay the foundation stone of the Town Hall
Ceiling work
The old council chambers of the Boulder Town Hall
Trying out the Mayoral Chair
Photos of previous Mayors of Boulder
Council Chambers in the Boulder Town Hall
The last serving Mayor of Boulder -  a change of letters around and you have our name...
 We did the 10.30am tour through the town hall which also gave us access to the Council Chambers, the stage area of the hall, including the dressing rooms, which are covered in signatures and graffiti from the early 1900s.  All very interesting…
Stage area of the Boulder Town Hall
A lot of history under the paint on these wall - discovered after the Earthquake in 2010.
 After our tour finished, Steve and I wandered up and down the Historic Burt Street taking photos of some of the beautiful old buildings.  This historic street is one of a kind with most of the  old buildings being the original buildings built back at the start of the century.
After doing this we sampled the Goldrush Bakery situated at the far end of Burt Street, and found that they make an awesome seafood pie, so after purchasing a couple of lunch we went in search of some parkland to sit and enjoy them. 

It was a quick trip back to the caravan park to grab our washing off the line before heading out to check out Hannan’s North Tourist Mine.  

The history of the mineshaft at Hannans North and its evolution into a tourist mine began in the early days of Kalgoorlie’s gold rush and continues today.
 In 1972, an enthusiastic group of locals decided to open the Hainault mine to visitors. The recently closed Hainault shaft was identified as ideal for showcasing underground mining on Kalgoorlie’s famous Golden Mile. The Hainault shaft was originally pegged in 1893 and was a working mine until 1968. For nearly twenty years, in one of the most successful mines on the Eastern Goldfields, retired Kalgoorlie miners conducted underground tours and rock drilling demonstrations to over 750,000 visitors.

In 1991 the area where the Hainault mine was situated was incorporated into Kalgoorlie’s famous Super Pit. In recognition of the importance of showcasing mining to people visiting the area, the leaseholders, Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) decided to establish a new visitor attraction in the Eastern Goldfields region. In the quest to find a new site, five shafts were examined. A down-hole camera was used to probe the tunnels and workings of the shafts. Of the five shafts examined, Hannans North was in the best condition, taking into consideration that it had been dormant for many years. Given its short distance from Kalgoorlie-Boulder and its historical importance, Hannans North was chosen as the site for the new facility. Displays from the Hainault mine, historical equipment and records relating to the area’s mining activities were collected and assembled at the new site, which is now known as Hannans North Tourist Mine.
Rescue Chamber used in the mines today.

 Given the size of Hannans North Tourist Mine, the admission charge of $11 was very reasonable.  We really only had about 90minutes we could spend here, no where near enough time to  see it properly.  In fact we only managed to see the two big super trucks ( which we had photos taken of us on them) and the very start of the early mining days. 

The staff here were very helpful and keen to make sure we enjoyed our experience, so offered to let us come back again the following day if we kept our ticket and just showed it upon re-entering.  Bonus…. It meant we could really take our time and read as much as we could without feeling rushed. 

The reason we had to leave early was because of all my bad issues, I had made a chiropractors visit for that afternoon.  
After seeing the Chiropractor we still had another 45minutes before we needed to be out at the Superpit viewing platform for the daily explosive blast, so we decided to go for a drive up Mt Charlotte which is the terminus of water piped 563km from Mundaring Weir in Perth to the Goldfields.
Views from Mt Charlotte Lookout overlooking Kalgoorlie
 This was very interesting looking at and reading the information up there as the whole Kalgoorlie-Boulder township wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for a bold plan back in the 1800s to install a large water pipeline from near Perth to this area.  It began operation in 1903, which really was an engineering feat in it’s day, and still now the town and surrounding gold mines are dependent on this long pipeline that rises 390 (up to 45million litres per day).  This is a very dry and arid area, and prior to this pipeline, water was more valuable than whiskey!

C. Y. O’Connor was the man responsible for this outstanding feat of water supply engineering and this project would brand him as one of the greatest engineers of our time…  In 1896, at the request of the then Premier Sir John Forrest, C.Y. O’Connor submitted a proposal to both Houses of Parliament for a comprehensive water scheme for the Goldfields. During the planning and building of this grand scheme, O’Connor came under severe criticism from  the press for the foolhardiness of the scheme.  It was considered impractical and a waste of public money. Public ridicule of the pipeline continued unabated.  The public pressure came from those who had little understanding of the engineering concepts involved and the necessity for such a scheme.

Some of the articles published by newspapers of the day were extraordinarily malicious and if printed today, would be considered libelous.  O’Connor was described as conceited, accused of corruption and the pipeline was lampooned.  He was also criticised for upstaging his political masters. 

The pipeline was pushing ever eastward.  The dam at Mundaring Weir was going as planned, but the man who was making it happen was wilting under a constant barrage of ridicule and personal abuse.

In line with the public sentiment toward the scheme, the Government announced a Royal Commission in 1902 into the conduct and completion of the water scheme.  O’Connor was devastated.  In May 1902, the Government enquiry found no basis for press accusation of corruption against O’Connor.

The persistent criticism of O’Connor’s grand vision through the press not only undermined his reputation and character, but also affected his health.  O’Connor could accept criticism for the project… he was able to justify his engineering capabilities, but the attack on his character caused tremendous grief. 

The pressure had lasted six years and on 10th March 1902  he took his own life.   All very very sad, considering his great talent to provide such a great engineering feat and even more so to provide it for a cost only slightly more than his estimate made seven years earlier…..
A visit to the Super Pit in Kalgoorlie
Ian Kathy and Steve

Steve and I

Then it was out to the Superpit lookout to witness the daily explosive blast and it also gave us a great view of a working mine in action.  The first Super Pit Lookout was a fenced area with a small viewing platform constructed 100m south of the original Hainault Tourist Mine, near the Boulder Block. Over the years the Lookout has been moved to accommodate the changing pit. It is presently situated at the top of Outram Street in Boulder.
You can see a puff of smoke down in the mine from the blast...
We watched blasts down in the mine and were in awe of the way the huge trucks and equipment were miniaturized by the size of the pit.  We weren’t the only ones out there to view the blast. 

We ended the day by going back to Hammond Park for a sausage on bread for our dinner that night, nice and easy after a full day out sightseeing around Kalgoorlie.  

Another full on day tomorrow planned as we head out to do a tour of the “Super Pit”. 


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