Kalgoorlie is located 550km east of Perth, 40 kilometres east of Coolgardie and 200 kilometres north of Norseman. You can get there by car, bus, train or fly. Travelling by car, bus or train provides unlimited scenery and experiences along the way.
Gold was discovered at Fly Flat, Coolgardie in September 1892 and was mined until 1963. During this period of time over 500,000 ounces of gold was extracted from the mine site.
Following a large gold discovery near Mount Charlotte by Paddy Hannan, Dan Shea and Tom Flanagan, Kalgoorlie was settled by Europeans in June 1893. When news of this discovery travelled to the eastern states of Australia (where people were currently suffering a depression) hundreds of prospective gold miners headed for Kalgoorlie to stake their gold mining claims. By 1903 over 30,000 people resided in the town with 93 hotels and 8 breweries.
By the late 1890's the gold mining scene was changing to companies with large machinery and plenty of money to invest in reaching the vast gold deposits found some hundreds of metres below the ground and well out of reach by the humble prospector.
Kalgoorlie is one of those towns in Australia that is well known around the world, for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is the complicated relationship with law and order and respectability. Even though miners are mainly based in the satellite towns and mining camps, it is Kalgoorlie that is their mega center. The town comes alive on Friday and Saturday nights when mining contractors and their employees descend upon Kalgoorlie's famous nightlife.
The gold rush brought a rush of prospectors seeking their fortune, but it also broguht a herd of men with little to no female companionship. Males dominated the population at 100 males to every one female. Prostitution flourished, and authorities relocated the 'ladies of the night' into one area of town, and called it 'Hay Street'. Early in the 20th century there were about 25 brothels, or more accurately, tin sheds, and these continued to grow in number. 'Trade' was busy in this area of town, and there were mixed attitudes towards Kalgoorlies flourishing 'sex industry'. Many praised the area, stating that it kept sex crimes down and made the streets safer for women. Others saw it as a blemish on their town. But love it or hate, it was there to stay by popular demand.
You can still see remnants of Hay Street's colourful past, there are still a few of the brothels still operating. However, these days they make nearly as much money out of tourism. Tourists will often book time just to hear the colourful stories of the street's past. Then when the night comes again, you can see the ladies selling their wares.
There are also the hotels that used to have strippers and topless barmaids. Travelling to Kalogoorlie was always profitable for the major city performers. Tips were high, and appreciation higher. New laws soon saw an end to this era, as women were required to cover up. Topless barmaids gave way to 'skimpy' barmaids in very little attire, but covering the important parts. Strippers stopped short of baring all. While it bothered some, it didn't seem to bother them that much, because it is still a popular attraction at many hotels.
Kalgoorlie really was a page out of the Wild Wild West.
Annual Rainfall : - 250mm
Winter Temperature Average (July) : 5°C to 17°C
Summer Temperature Average (January) : 18°C to 34°C
Kalgoorlie-Boulder Tourist Centre
Opening hours for the tourist information bureaus are 8-30am to 5 pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm on weekends.
Telephone: (090) 211 966
Transport - W.A. Goldfields
Kalgoorlie is well serviced by an extensive network of bus, rail and air services linking through to Perth, the eastern states, Esperance and other points in south Western Australia.
Buses are available in Kalgoorlie to provide tourist services to Perth and other states of Australia. Booking in advance is advised to ascertain departure dates and times.
A local bus service operates the local Kalgoorlie-Boulder bus network with a daily service to nearby Coolgardie.
Westrail provides the "Prospector" train service which links Perth to Kalgoorlie. This train trip is approximately six hours duration and bookings are essential. To book a seat on the "Prospector" ring 131053 (in Australia). An interstate train service is also available.
Air services are available from Perth to Kalgoorlie and Adelaide to Kalgoorlie and return. These flights can be booked through your local travel provider.
Scenic flights are also available
Royal Flying Doctor Service (emergencies only) : 1800 625 800