... when you're constantly on the move, few things remain unchanged.

Blast from the past: Kalgoorlie/ gold and mining, WA

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

There are so many insanely beautiful places in Western Australia worth visiting and just to give you an idea of how big WA is, I've included this pic from sedevacantist.com which shows how much of the world's land mass could comfortably fit inside of it:



Most people know that the center of Australia is a dry desert of rich, red soil but many don't realize that this soil is home to copious amounts of mineral as well.  Over the centuries of European settlement, discoveries of coal, silver, lead, copper, gold and many types of gemstones have caused mines and small towns to sprout sporadically throughout this region and when gold was discovered in Kalgoorlie (kal-goo-lee) during Australia's gold rush in 1893: it too became one of these small towns deep in the heart of WA's desert.

While living in Australia, Will's job as a salesman in the safety industry meant that he did a lot of work with these mines and that's how we came to visit Kalgoorlie for a few days in October of 2009.  We're so glad that we took this trip together because both the drive and the town are so unlike anything else we've experienced, making it a great way for me to wrap up my blasts from WA.

Many squashed bugs on the window!

Rich red and orange soil

A rather pretty desert weed

Due to draught conditions in Aus, this water pipe was built to supply mining
towns with water and runs alongside the road all the way from Perth to Kalgoorlie

Kalgoorlie has become known as the gold capital of Australia and you understand why pretty quickly.  When you enter its historic downtown district you see billboards, A-frames and posters in shop windows all boasting about the superiority and products made with the local mineral.  There's gold everywhere!  As a couple actively planning our wedding, Will and I easily got swept away by gold fever as well.  You would't believe how many jewellers there were and how cheap gold was!  So without hesitation, we bought Will's wedding band and many other gold-related souvenirs for our families as Christmas gifts that year too.
 
Proud of its history and its gold, Kalgoorlie transformed one of its ancient, original mines into a museum: complete with functioning shaft and small town!  Being a complete history buff, I ended up spending an entire day there - totally absorbed until Will called me for dinner.

13 stories underground, reliving the old mining experience with my tour group
Actual entrances into the mines - now boarded off but once used daily
How the very first gold rush camps were set up
And the houses later...
Surprisingly, despite constant mining for so long, the gold mines in the area have continued growing.  The vein of gold there is so large that in 1989, the Super Pit gold mine was created - which is the largest open-pit gold mine in the world - the provider responsible for the gold capital's reputation.  I can't describe the feeling I had in my stomach when Will and I stood on the edge of this pit but it was something like a dawning comprehension of just how enormous and majestic our planet earth really is.  You can't ever match the sensation of seeing the layers of earth exposed before you:

Layers of earth and the bottom right photo shows how big the trucks are -
those are just the tyres!

it's awing and saddening all at once, when you see firsthand the destructive capability of man against our mother planet, all for a shiny piece of gold.

Gold was molded and weighed on site of the old mines


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Sharing my stories of migrating from Australia to the US | travel adventures | married life | furry kids | new experiences | lessons | and loving life despite always missing home. xo.

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