President of the United States in Outback Australia 

Herbert Hoover, who later became 31st President of the United States established the Sons of Gwalia Mine and celebrated his 24th birthday in the partially completed manager’s house. We learnt this when we visited the mine site (which is now a modern underground and open cut operation. The house now provides accommodation to visitors and we enjoyed a cappuccino on the shady verandah after touring the mine museum, which is south of the goldfields town of Leonora.



Get ready for the Super Pit!

Kalgoorlie is a gold mining city. It used to have a Golden Mile of individual small poppet heads over mine shafts. Then in the 1980s entrepreneur Alan Bond bought up and consolidated the small mines. Today it is a huge open cut mine owned and operated by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mine, known as the Super Pit. We viewed the trucks removing overburden and a digger working from the lookout at the Boulder side of the city.


We also played two more holes of the Nullarbor Links Golf Course at the impressive Kalgoorlie Golf Course. It was quite a contrast to the saltbush fairways out on the Nullarbor.

Kalgoorlie has some magnificent buildings from the period of its earlier boom around 1900.


Meet Johnny Green, a fire engine and a house if you are poor and sober

Today we did the rest of the Burra passport, first returning to the copper mine, where we photographed Johnny Green, who has been the mine’s mascot since its inception in 1847. He now stands proudly on a chimney moved to the entrance of the Monster Mine.

The town is actually an amalgam of several mining villages and ruins abound, like these old stables.

In order to avoid rent, some of the miners chose to live in dugouts that they had made. This was fine till the river flooded and washed most away. A few have been conserved by the National Trust.

David used the passport key that we were provided with to access the police lock-up.

There was a very fine fire engine in the Bon Accord museum.

But if you were poor AND sober, you could live in one of the pretty cottages that was provided.

We ended the tour of Burra, which had a copper rush that predates Victoria’s gold rush, with a walk along the pretty pond that has been formed along the creek.


Jetting along Port Germein jetty and burrowing for copper at Burra

The jetty at Port Gemein is the longest wooden jetty in Australia, being 1.6km long. It was built so ships could dock without being washed aground by the extreme tides in Spencer Gulf. Now it is a place for fisher folk and for tourists to stroll with an ice cream. The former pub at the start of the jetty now sells ice cream, fish and chips and coffee.

We then drove past canola and wheat crops dazzling in their gold and green and such a contrast to the saltbush plains and red earth of past weeks.

We are now camped at Burra, which in the late 1800s had a “monster mine” of high grade copper. It is no longer competitive, but the town has a self guided tour for retracing its copper heritage. It includes a museum in a lolly shop (mmm, Turkish delight) and also provides a key to open gates to the mine area and other historic remains, the station and gaol. We finished most of the tour by sunset, which was a good time for photographs.









Ravenswood – the old and the new gold mining

This afternoon we drove out to the little gold mining town of Ravenswood, near Charters Towers, Queensland, Australia.

Gold was discovered there in 1867 and the remains of the disused railway line, mine shafts, stampers and chimneys for smelting abound. By contrast, there is also a huge modern, open cut mine and we watched road trains of ore trucking out of it.






Great Cobar Heritage Centre

Cobar is and was a copper town in outback NSW. In 1870, a ‘balgal’ (copper sorter) from Cornwall identified as copper some samples that some men who were tank sinkers showed her. The discovery led to the formation of the Great Cobar Copper Mine, which became the largest copper mine in Australia. However, the drop in demand for copper following World War I led to the demise of the mine. The mine manager’s residence is now the Great Cobar Heritage Centre, providing tourist information.

Today we crossed over part of The Long Paddock, the old route that drovers took moving cattle from outback Wilcannia to market at Melbourne. We just love the red earth and I want to share some photos. Also the Erymophylla (emu bush) that was in flower.

We had a great Italian veal with porcini at Olivettos at the Great Western Hotel, Cobar.




Have you heard of “The Line of Lode”?

The Line of Lode in the Australian outback town of Broken Hill is where the black galena ore is found, containing the valuable minerals silver, lead and zinc. It is a strip of 7.5kilometres and the town has grown up immediately adjacent to the Line. Prior to human interference, the Line originally protruded out of the plain in the centre, forming the Broken Hill that attracted the attention of pastoralist Charles Rasp. Now the Line has been almost mined out, with modern mining at the ends of the lode, which dips deeply into the earth, making extraction more costly and technologically demanding.