Goldfields / Western Australia
The town of Menzies is located approximately 132 kilometres (one and a half hours' drive) north of Kalgoorlie and 730 kilometres east of Perth.
It is a historic gold mining town where in 1894, a prospector named Robert Menzies stubbed his toe on the rich gold bearing rocks during the "gold rush" period that later became the Lady Shenton Mine, and the town of Menzies was born!
The town was established in the same year and by 1896 the town hall was starting to be built. The railway came through in 1899 and by 1900 the town had two breweries, thirteen hotels and a population of over 10,000 people. The Shire of Menzies still remains the largest shire area in Australia. In 2001 it carried the grand population of 201 permanent residents.
A symbol of the town's changing fortunes is the Town Hall's clock tower. When the Town Hall was being built a huge clock was ordered from England. Unfortunately the ship carrying the original clock was being shipped from England when the boat carrying it sank off Rottnest Island, and the municipal leaders, sensing the rapidly changing fortunes of their community, never ordered a replacement. On New Year's Eve 2000 a new clock was installed and unveiled to celebrate the millennium. It took 100 years to replace, during which time the opening for the original clock was boarded up and noticeably absent.
Unfortunately the gold boom was not to last for the town of Menzies. By 1905, a little over ten years later, the prospectors had moved on to other potentially gold prosperous areas. Today, all that is left of this gold mining town is what you generally see in the main street. However, many reminders of Menzies former glory still remain. There is still good gold prospecting and fossicking in this area, although permits are required.
Today the town also plays host to many international astrologists, bird watchers, and the many wildfower tours that come through the region in Spring. Because of the town's distance from other towns, itself only possessing about 5 streetlights, the clear dark night sky makes it an ideal stargazing location.
A few years ago an English artist/sculptor, Antony Gormley, placed 51 cast stainless steel figures across the Lake Ballard saltpan (north of Menzies) which represented the people of Menzies. Some of the Menzies people stripped naked so Gormley could take a digital scan of their bodies, then reduce the image, turned the images into sand moulds and cast them in stainless steel alloy. Check with someone in Menzies if the sculptures are still there before heading out to see them, as it was designed to be a moving exhibition and may have been moved to another town.
Goongarrie National Park
To the southeast of Menzies is the 49 878 ha Goongarrie National Park which has extensive stands of mulga and mallee. It is isolated and access is difficult. Spring is the best time to visit.
- Accomodation: hotel, caravan park
- Restaurant: at the hotel
- Post Office/Bank Agency
- Police - Menzies - (08) 9024 2042
08 Nov 2016