Saturday, December 2, 2017

DAY 138 – KALGOORLIE MUSEUM AND TOWN HALL…



Our last day in Kalgoorlie today…

We have a few things we need to do, first being getting our washing all up to date before we head across the Nullabor, and seconding stocking the fridge before we are out of range of shops for 5 days or so. 

Kalgoorlie Museum
 
With that being done, we then heading back into Kalgoorlie to visit the Museum.  The Museum has the largest display of the State’s collection of gold bars and nuggets, and showcases how the prospectors of the early days searched for this precious metal.  It also detailed the life and hardships faced by the mining families during the early 1900s.
This is probably one of the best museums we have been too.  The Vault houses over $4,000,000 worth of gold and gold nuggets with plenty of signage to read in regards to their discovery and worth.
$500,000 gold gilded clock town in the centre of Kalgoorlie
The church made from gold bricks
 We then caught the lift up to the top of the mining shaft for magical views of Kalgoorlie and beyond.
Trade Union Banner Display - Kalgoorlie Museum
 The Trade Union Banner display showcases a collection of local historic union banners that date back to the initial union actions of this mining town.
 The museum also houses Mulga Bill’s wooden bicycle. I just had to take photos of this, as this is one of the books that  is used by a year three teacher at the school I work at.  I thought they might like to see a picture of the real bike. 

They also had a wonderful display of historical buildings in the museum grounds, and we spent some time wandering through these and seeing life as it was lived many years ago.  
 
The museum also houses the building of an authentic miner’s cottage which has was relocated in 1998 from Piccadilly Street, Kalgoorlie.  The building illustrates the living conditions and social lives of early goldfields settlers. This authentic cottage, also housed vegetable gardens and the outhouse from that era also, all in pristine condition.   Great display.
The British Arms Hotel is one of those buildings  housed here.  It  was built in 1899 and operated as a hotel until it was delicenced in 924.  It I reputed to be the narrowest hotel in the southern hemisphere measuring only 3.2m in width. 
They often hold exhibitions in the downstairs pub section of the British Arms Hotel and the current one showing was on using recycled materials.  Some of the work on display here was really quite good.

In the museum is a recreation in all it’s grandeur  of  Claude De Bernales, (a successful mining entrepreneur who made his fortunes on the Kalgoorlie-Boulder goldfields)  opulent Kalgoorlie and Perth office and boardrooms. Note the difference between the typical miner’s cottage – found nearby in the Museum grounds – and these elegant quarters.
The museum is free with a suggested donation to visit.  Kalgoorlie really has a lot going for it, and there were far more things to do and see than we had time for. 

Once again we all had Subway for lunch before going to check out the Kalgoorlie Town Hall.
The town of Kalgoorlie and the shire of Boulder always enjoyed a healthy competitive spirit.  Both towns began talking about building a Town Hall in 1906 and so began a race between the municipalities to see who come complete their building first. 
Kalgoorlie Town Hall
The foundation stone for the Kalgoorlie Town Hall was laid on 6th November 1907, and there was a shroud of controversy around the building of this  project as the council had accepted a tender price which was not the lowest.
Trowel used for laying the foundation stone of the Kalgoorlie Town Hall
The Boulder Town Hall was commissioned and tenders awarded at the same time, but Kalgoorlie Town Hall looked like winning the race to completion.  Construction had progressed steadily but was spectacularly interrupted by a severe storm, which hit Kalgoorlie in February 1908 and caused the back wall to collapse – this postponed the completion date significantly.
Kathy and I in the foyer of the Kalgoorlie Town Hall
The engineer responsible for the Water Pipeline from Perth to Kalgoorli
Paddy Hannan Sculpture at the bottom of the grand staircase
The Town Hall was officially opened on 8th September 1908.  The opening of the grand building was described as “a spectacular event” with the plush curtain being raised to reveal a splendid scene.  The striking interior was thronged with spectators.  At the conclusion of speeches, an afternoon tea was served and a musical program enjoyed. 
The Town Hall also locates the Council Chambers upstairs, and we were fortunate enough to be shown these during our visit.  The Chambers are still used by the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder for their council meetings.  The Chamber has been used since 1908 and is the only Chamber in Local Government to still be used continuously for over 100 years.  
Ceiling in the Grand Banquet Room
The upstairs foyer in the Town Hall provides an overflow area from the dress circle and is the entrance to the Council Chambers.  The foyer is adorned with paintings, artefacts and memorabilia of events and occasions important in the history of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
When the building was competed in 1908, chandelier and wall lights were installed putting the final touches on this grand old building…

The Town Hall was the premier venue in Kalgoorlie for most visiting shows and artists.  Today it is a popular venue for debutante balls, school balls, and dances.
The Banquet Room is situated on the ground floor and is used for civic receptions, social events and community meetings.  It is facilitated by a kitchen and bar and is used in conjunction with events in the main hall.
The grand staircase in the Kalgoorlie Town Hall

A grand staircase, constructed of Queensland Coachwood and Jarrah, leads into a brilliantly lit Foyer and Dress Circle.  The seats are iron framed tip seat theatre chairs, upholstered in crimson velvet with seating for 224 persons.  Every seat has a splendid view of the stage.
After having a good look at the Town Hall, we each headed off to finish our shopping for the big trip on the Nullabor, and in our case to fuel up and fill our gas bottle before leaving…
We have really enjoyed our time in Kalgoorlie.  It was a lot bigger than we expected, and had way more things to do than we had realized also.   We still haven’t managed to see it all, so I am guessing that at some stage we will be back to complete the list of things to do in Kalgoorlie…

An early morning tomorrow…. We are about to leave this beautiful state and are eastward bound.  We will be heading back to Norseman to start our journey of 1400kms across the Great Nullabor Plains….

Western Australia is a wonderful state with so much to see and do… We have felt that we have only seen the tip of an iceberg and that you could easily spend a whole year here and still not see it all.  We will be back…..

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