Not just Kalgoorlie, nowadays it's Kalgoorlie-Boulder, with a current population of 36,000. Boulder had been a seperate town, but the Magic Mile of gold reef was under one side, so that side got shifted to the Kalgoorlie side as the super-pit grew, and they eventually joined together.
It's still hard to believe that a town of 30,000 could exist without a good water supply in the 1890s. It did lead to typhoid and other disease.
There was a government well, where brackish water was sold by the gallon. Some claimed that for rich people it was cheaper to buy new clothes than launder the old. I guess that means that poor people didn't get to wash theirs. There were many businesses condensing water from the salt lakes. They were another big user of timber for firewood. Framing for mines and construction were others, so 99% of the timber was stripped from what was originally classed as woodlands.
There were also horse, ox and camel trains carting water out to mines. The horses and camels were preferred if available as the oxen required half the water they were carting to keep them going there and back.
The great engineer C.Y. O'Connor said that it was possible to construct a pipeline from a dam to be constructed near Perth and pumped uphill over the ranges for this huge distance to Kalgoorlie. He said that the rainfall out here would never be enough for storage dams. It was a colossal undertaking and he was hounded by the press. It was a brilliant success, but he took his life before it was finished.
Wherever it is possible, salt water is used, for example wetting the dust on Superpit roads and washing the trucks before servicing. Very hard on vehicles. In town stormwater is re-used for irrigating parks and schools.
Our tram driver thought that the cost was incongruous - he lives in a group of 10 apartments, and pays around $10 for 2 months water - which is still piped from Perth. His sister in Tasmania lives close to the water supply there - and pays closer to $220 for 2 months water rates.
The jacaradas are currently in bloom and look spectacular. They're absolutely everywhere around town as street trees and in private gardens.
In the 80's underground gold mining was no longer viable here. Alan Bond, of America's Cup fame, tried to buy up the leases on the "Miracle Mile" to start an open-cast pit. He didn't quite make it, and sold to a Canadian and American partnership. They started the pit in 1989 and it's now 3.5kms long, 1.5kms wide, and 660m deep in the middle. It also provides access to one underground operation. They're looking to sell, but say that it should be viable until at least 2029.
Some of the mines are fly in fly out, but you have to live locally to be employed by KCMG at the Superpit. You have to have a "heavy-rigid" licence to start, other training on-site. Everyone is rotated around different jobs. 12 hour shifts, 7days/7 off/7nights/7 off. So although you're doing an 84 hour week, you get the next one off, plus 4 weeks annual holiday.
Back in the day, 90% of Kalgoorlie's population were male. Prostitutes came from all over to help them spend their earnings, and were on display in doors and windows and were approaching males in the street. To keep the city family-friendly "Containment" became unofficial council and police policy - Hay Street was the only place allowed for brothels, and they could only have a maximum of 5 girls. The girls had to live on the premises and could only go elsewhere in town "where people congregated" with an escort - to prevent soliciting. They normally stayed a maximum of 3-4 months. No males were allowed to be involved with the ownership. This was organised between the coucil and the police, but unofficial, as prostitution was still illegal. There were 18 brothels at the peak. The end of "containment" in 2000 when prostitution was no longer illegal was the death knell for Hay Street. The girls could then advertise on-line and not have to pay 40-50% to a house.
The one remaining house "Questa Casa" only operates when they can get girls. Carmel's daily tours are her main income. She has a posh accent and would be 70ish. She was a Gold Coast widow with depression 27 years ago when her (lady) doctor said that she needed to try something new. The doctor later said that she meant charity work, not to buy a brothel in Kalgoorlie.
Sun 3 Nov
The Lions Garage Sale was in a Friendly Societies building. I had no idea that there were so many different Friendly Societies.
Hard cover books $1, paperbacks 50c. I'll have to stop buying now that we're counting down to going home.
Two Up School. Other than Anzac Day, it's only legal at Broken Hill and Kalgoorlie, and this specific site 7kms out of town. Minimum bet of $50!
Birds As we returned from sundowners with the neighbours our usual flock of galahs are doing the rounds before settling for the evening. There are a lot of mudlarks (peewees) and some doves that look similar to bronzewings without the bronze effect and sound effects. They like our drain.
Mon 4 Nov
I'm sure that I heard those galahs out and about before 5a.m. this morning
Superpit tour in the morning. We went back to see the 1pm blast but it must have happened about 10 minutes early. Swimming pool, Happy hour w/ the neighbours
Our Kalgoorlie neighbour, Andrew, diverted to Alice Springs for a couple of weeks on his way here from Brisbane. One evening, returning to his caravan, he found an aboriginal man standing in the dark under his awning. He saw him off and warned his neighbours to safeguard their gear. One of those neighbours were in a van with a sliding door. They had the door open so couldn't lock the front. In the morning the woman's wallet had gone from her handbag in the cab - in spite of their dog being tied in the side door and them sleeping in the back!
This made us a little more security conscious here in Kalgoorlie, as did the sign saying not to leave washing on the lines overnight.
Last night we heard Andrew & Tina's dog bark, so flipped the remote to check that our vehicle was locked. This morning Andrew found his wallet missing from his vehicle. Tina said that he's always so particular about locking everything, but was distracted in the middle of doing something last night. He cancelled his bankcard and spent the morning trying to get replacements of others. Can't get a Qld driver's licence to here.
Tues 5 Nov
For the 1st time I didn't take my phone on my constitutional this morning, and managed to get myself lost. Lynn had already done a cruise around looking for me by the time I got back.
Royal Flying Doctor Tour, The lady said there's a lot of Kiwis work here, including her neighbours on both sides. We were amazed at the Supa IGA with a large range of Kiwi products. They also had a smaller range of Sth African stuff.
Melbourne Cup at the pub, swimming pool. L~ tried to rescue a drowning bee from the pool. Yup, now has a stung finger.