Monte Christo Quarry - Outridge Street
by Doug Daws
When Hannan and his partners, Flanagan and Shea, discovered gold at Kalgoorlie in June 1893, they were quickly surrounded by literally thousands of other gold prospectors who, too, were seeking their fortune from the last great gold rush of the Nineteenth Century.
It was chaotic with the prospectors camping where ever they could find a 'spot'. The leaders amongst them quickly organised a Progress Association to plan the locations of the essential community facilities: a place for the nightsoil, the cemetery, and the commercial area. This was all necessary to try to avoid the deadly pitfalls experienced at other early WA mining camps. For instance, the typhoid that had swept through early Coolgardie and, later, Menzies from using contaminated water supplies. The Hannans Progress Association applied to the government for a new town site, which was quickly granted, and surveyed, as Hannans, a four block village incapable of providing what was needed for an explosive situation.
The boundaries of the town site were quickly enlarged, several times, and the early sites for the facilities had to be changed time and again, and moved further away from the central area. Hannan Street quickly became the main street and the hub of the commence such as it was, plus the essential government offices for the postal services, the police and the Mines Departments. The competition for title to commercial and residential land was intense, and never enough to meet the incredible demand.
The heavy traffic of carts, horses, camels and people turned the heavy local clay soils into either a dust bowl of pervasive, nose clogging dust or bogging, cart stopping mud depending on whether it had rained or not. Generally the latter. The dust hung in heavy clouds over the young town, and made life a misery. The Progress Association had morphed into a Municipal council, the Kalgoorlie Municipal Council, as the name of ‘Hannans’ was dropped.
The Council acted quickly to reduce the dust, and occasional mud problem, by arranging to pave the road surfaces with harder material such as gravel. Somehow, in all the chaos and pressure to secure mining leases close to the ‘Hannans’ find, they managed to secure the title to a small outcropping ironstone hill at the eastern end of MacDonald Street close to current Union Club Hotel. This was mined, and crushed, to provide the aggregate needed to lay the dust and to work into the mud to, as far as was possible, provide a more benign environment.
What they didn't know was that this ironstone hill, of which several were eventually identified along the low range of hills heading southward to the famous discoveries on what became known as the "Golden Mile", was associated with what are known as 'deep leads'. Some of the prospectors with experience on the Victorian Goldfields were able to identify them from their experience over there but, such was the pressure of humanity, animals and carts on the environment immediately adjacent to 'Hannans', the subtle signs were scrubbed out.
The deep leads sometimes had high grade gold associated with them and were successfully exploited. Famous among the local deep-leads were the Adeline, Ivanhoe Venture, Foundry and Great Boulder leads.
Monte Christo never acquired the same fame or fortune, as the gold in the ironstone rock and gravel from there was overlooked in the Council's haste to provide relief from the dust and mud. Years later the lumps of ironstone, sometimes with specks and occasional small lumps of gold, became visible in the more settled street scene that Hannan Street had become. People with a keen eye spotted the gold glinting in the sunlight, leading to the claim that Hannan Street was ‘paved with gold’.
Long after quarrying at the Monte Christo Quarry had finished, the small pit became a notorious place for suicide with the depressed sitting on a box of fracture (dynamite) and lighting the fuse, and generally a cigarette to smoke, before being blown to pieces. The Kalgoorlie Municipal Council realised this wasn't a good look so they arranged to backfill the quarry with domestic waste, the first of the land-fills. When finished, they topped the area off with new gravel intending to create a public park which, of course, never eventuated and the area was turned into the barren inhospitable space it now is.
Red Hill GML survey diagrams with the Quarry Marked in the centre of survey C/O Scott Wilson
Site of the Monte Cristo Quarry top of Egan Street and Outrigdge Steet ©Gerry Lamont
The Palace Hotel - 137 Hannan Street
by Robyn Horner
Called the “grandest building in Kalgoorlie”, the iconic Palace Hotel was built on Lot 40 and opened on the 16th October 1897. It was erected for the “Hannans Land Company Ltd”, and cost £16,500. When completed, it was said to have all the appointments of the Hotels Landau and Cecil of London. The hotel was the best of its kind in the Goldfields and the name certainly matched the elegance of the Palace Hotel.
With its grand private entrance from Maritana Street, the hotel was furnished with pot plants each side of the vestibule. The beautiful staircase consisting of cedar and kauri pine, even today makes a grand statement in the spacious foyer.
An entrance to the huge dining room leads off the foyer; this room has hosted many a swish dinner for the rich mining companies, racing clubs and the various mining magnets of the Eastern Goldfields in the early days.
The first floor contained a billiard room, lounges, and of course the bedroom accommodation. The beautiful verandah with its sweeping views of Hannan Street was the host of many a grand party. The view to the street in 1900 was described as “looking down the wide street, we see bright everywhere with electric light. Electric tram cars run in all directions. Telephone and telegraph poles run down the centre of the roadway. Zinc and iron, and canvas huts, are already giving away to brick and stone buildings. The shops are dear enough for Bond Street. The lady whose carriage has just stopped at the Hotel door is dressed by a Paquin[i]. The great lights on the hills and the constant muffled roar of dynamite charges announce the march of industry, last, and most wonderful the scream of a locomotive comes through the air.” Kalgoorlie was at its best.
The hotel’s cellars, of which there were two, has the main entrance directly under the front bar. The other was entered from the saloon bar, this cellar was chiefly for the storage of luggage. The outside cellar entrance, today seen near the corner, was put in place in 1936 as an easier access to the cellar for the storage of the large beer barrels. Still in use today, this entrance can still be viewed near the corner of Hannan and Maritana Streets.
Many thousands of people have gathered on the Palace corner for street parades, ceremonies, and public demonstrations. [ii]
Glimpses of Gold
The Palace Hotel seems to attract the gold that has made the goldfields of Western Australia so famous. It is part of this gold story, as the Palace Hotel itself could also be said to be “made of gold’’. The original footpaths outside were also made of gold. In the 1930’s slugs of gold started appearing in the pavements on the corner outside the Palace Hotel.
These gold nuggets were spotted usually by experienced prospectors who would often catch a gleam as they walked the pavements around that area. In 1938 one such prospector spotted a gleam of gold, and with penknife in hand, he chipped out a 4dwt piece of the precious yellow metal. Another prised from the pavement a 2dwt piece, and a few days later another was on his hands and knees to wrest a 1dwt piece from the footpath.
Why were they in the pavement? Mr Andrew Lennon, the contractor whom originally laid the footpaths for the Kalgoorlie Municipal Council, tells the story of the pavements[iii]….
“When I secured the contract in 1899 for laying the footpaths, I looked for suitable metal to mix with the special composition, similar to concrete.
The ore available to me was situated south of Maritana Hill, contained too much graphite. Harder and more satisfactory ore was obtainable from the old Golden Zone mine at the extreme northern end of the field, near Kyle’s Hill. At that time the mine was in the doldrums and was about to be closed, and the management offered to sell Mr. Lennon 1000 tons of ore at 1s a ton. In 1938 the mine was known as the “Hannans North”, producing profits for the Broken Hill Proprietary Company its ore couldn’t be bought for many times that amount. (This mine today is the Hannan’s North Tourist Mine”.)
While the ore was being treated for mixing, Mr Lennon made 50 secret dolly-pot tests, and found that it averaged 4dwt a ton – this was too low-grade for early day mining here. This was due to the high cost of water in those days, as mining required ore to average at least 1oz a ton to be profitable. Mr Lennon picked out pieces from his dolly-pot ranging up to 5dwt.
He added “over the years the tread of feet has worn the pavements till pieces of gold originally in the ore have begun to show”.
So the streets of Kalgoorlie were truly…
“Paved with Gold”
The above information was supplied by Robyn L Horner: watch for her forthcoming book The Palace Hotel, Kalgoorlie: “With Nothing but the Best”
[i]Jeanne Paquin was a leading French fashion designer, known for her resolutely modern and innovative designs. She was the first major female couturier and one of the pioneers of the modern fashion business – Wikipedia.
[ii]Museum of Goldfields H1989/986
[iii]Daily News, 6 August 1938 p5
Paddy Hannan's Tree
by W Scott Wilson
If you were to ask anyone what Hannan’s Tree represents, the vast majority would answer “it’s where Paddy Hannan found the first gold when he discovered Kalgoorlie”. Others might say “it’s where he pegged his first lease or where he found hisfirst nugget”. However, they would be wrong.
The tree was planted to mark where Patrick Hannan andhis somewhat forgotten partners, Tom Flanagan and Dan Shea had their camp site.
The first gold was actually found on the slopes of Mt Charlotte some 700 metres north of the tree. Many stories have been put forward as to who of the three partners has the best claim to the honour of being the actual finder of this first gold, but most reports give the credit to Flanagan, not Hannan. [KM 6 Sept 1897, ST 14 Feb 1909, ST 4 Dec 1904]
The editor of the Sunday Times said of Hannan during an ongoing ‘to and fro’ debate as to who was the first to find gold:
…he [Hannan]does not claim to have specked the first bit of gold, but says his mate, Flannagan, [sic]is entitled to that honour.”[ST 31 Jan 1909]
Much debate has been had over time on the actual discovery of Kalgoorlie and the role Hannan played in it. It is telling that the location accepted by Hannan to record his role is where they had camped, rather than where he had picked up his first nugget. That location is unknown. To be fair, he is on record as saying ‘we’ when referring to the first discovery of gold [KM 3 Aug 1897]. However, the role of Tom Flanagan and Dan Shea has been downplayed by Hannan and his own significance greatly amplified by the media ever since.
The tree is situated on Brown Avenue (previously Outridge Terrace), Kalgoorlie and it is at the lane way, behind what was once the Glen Devon Hotel. Its GDA94 coordinates are 51J 354350 / 6597675.
It would seem that ‘Hannan’s Tree’ had already entered the town’s folklore before it was suggested to plant a new tree to mark the site. The town had some knowledge of it as being of significance and worthy of maintaining as a connection to the discovery of the town.
The Kalgoorlie Miner of 3 November 1896 records a meeting held between the Mayor of Kalgoorlie, Mr John Wilson and the Governor of Western Australia, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Gerard Smith KCMG in Albany late in October 1896:
THE GOVERNOR AND ' HANNANS TREE'
The Mayor said that he had met the Governor at Albany, who said to him that he had spoken to the acting-Mayor about the protection of a tree which he called 'Hannan’s Tree,' which he (the Mayor) believed was the tree the pioneer of Kalgoorlie had used for shelter.
Cr Nethercott said that the tree could not be traced by him although he had inquired about it, and the matter was allowed to stand over.
Another paper, The W.A Record (14 November 1896) saw the lighter side of the proposal:
Pat Hannan's Tree — A goldfields paper pokes a little mild fun at Governor Smith's suggestion that the tree under which Pat Hannan sat after discovering Kalgoorlie should be carefully preserved.
Pat Hannan is probably, like most prospectors, a very unpoetical fellow, who attaches little value to trees except in so far as they furnish shade, timber for shafts, and firewood. Even if he could remember the particular tree of the forrest under which he sat it is not likely he has ever put forth an effort to save it from the all-devouring axe.”
Someone didn’t share, or were otherwise ignorant of, the significance of the tree and it was found to have been cut down. It was decided to plant another one in its place [Coolgardie Miner 3 August 1897]
Later, when Paddy Hannan was visiting the town, he was able to show the many dignitaries who were a part of a nostalgic procession the ‘stump which was all that remained of the famous tree under which he camped in the early days.’[KM 3 August 1897].
It had been The Mayor of Kalgoorlie Mr HG Parson’s intention to have Paddy plant a pepper tree at the site. This indicates that this was not a chance happening and that the plan to renew the tree was well organised - confirming the Council’s desire to mark the spot.
A photo taken with the dignitaries at the time of the planting shows a picket fence that had been made in preparation and also shows a gentleman (believed to be Jim Cassidy) leaning on the original stump.
In an interview with the Editor of the Kalgoorlie Miner, Mr John Kirwan, Paddy said:
When we came to Mount Charlotte my mate and I decided to stop and prospect the country roundabout, as we had found two colors of gold. This was on June 10. On the 14th we shifted down to the place where Miss Snell planted the tree yesterday. [KM 4 Aug 1897].
Interviews with Paddy were rare, and this report is the most often quoted interview he did. His quote doesn’t help to confirm the tree as a campsite and may have led to the ongoing error that the tree marked a site of a more significant gold discovery.
This error was later to take hold with news articles reporting the tree as the site of Hannan’s first gold discovery or the first alluvial claim.
But the reality is that the site of original tree was used to commemorate the discovery of what was to become known as Hannan’s Find and later Kalgoorlie-Boulder. It is understandable that it became associated with the discovery, even though a purist may prefer to see the tree and plaques placed on Mt Charlotte itself where the first gold was found.
It appears that the pepper tree, planted by Miss Snell in 1897, was left to survive by its own resilience and, as many goldfielders know, it is a very hardy tree. The next we hear of it is in 1915 when Councillor JJDwyer pointed out at a Council meeting, that the pepper tree planted on the spot where “Hannan found the first gold”was in a dilapidated condition, while the fence surrounding it also needed repairs. He moved that the necessary attention be given to the tree, and that a tablet be placed there to indicate the purpose of the tree. [Historic Goldfields Tree, KM Tue 23 Nov 1915]
It is unclear what attention was given by the council to the then 18 year old tree itself, but it would appear that the fence was renewed.
Eight years later in 1923, the Prime Minister of Australia Mr Stanley Bruce visited the tree and a journalist reporting on the occasion took a rather nostalgic yet ambivalent look at the tree…
‘Paddy Hannan's Tree’
Prior to the civic reception on Tuesday morning the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) and party, were motored to the spot where Paddy Hannan and his associates discovered the existence of gold-bearing material in Kalgoorlie. The historic place is marked by a somewhat dilapidated pepper tree in a small enclosure. A small tablet on the tree commemorates the discovery of gold. The tree was planted by Miss Snell, the step daughter of Mr. Harold Parsons, M.L.C., who was at that time second Mayor of Kalgoorlie. For 18 or 19 years the growth was unkempt and uncared for. The roots spread in all directions to get moisture from the surrounding rocky area. It bears testimony to the surprising hardiness of the pepper tree, which persists in growing despite all draw backs. This historic tree was frequently attacked by goats over a long course of years. When Mr. J.J. Dwyer was a member of the Kalgoorlie Municipal Council several years ago he drew attention to the neglected condition of the tree. Since then more or less casual attention has been paid to it. Sometimes it is given a drop of Mundaring water during the hot summer months of the year. Those who wish to pay a visit to 'Paddy Hannan's tree' will find it near the Hannan street railway station, on the eastern side of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder line.[Kalgoorlie Miner, Thursday 3 May 1923, page 4]
It would seem that the ‘tablet on the tree’ referred to above was replaced by a sign that read (erroneously) “This tree marks the spot where gold was first discovered by Patrick Hannan, June 15, 1893”.
The Back to the Goldfields celebrations in 1927 included a reunion of old goldfielders at Paddy Hannans Tree held at 11am, 31 August 1927. Tess Thomson in her 1993 book ‘Paddy Hannan – A Claim to Fame’ mentions that the gathering was reported to be attended by over 3000 men, women and children and was one of the most memorable gatherings in the history of the Eastern Goldfields.
As the event was very well attended and widely reported upon, it no doubt helped confirm the significance of the location and created a greater community awareness. The success of the 1927 reunion paved the way for future commemorations to continue at this site.
But Paddy Hannan’s Tree was not safe just yet. The tree was still only marked by a wooden fence and a sign. Perhaps the same journalist from 1923 was still in the employ of the Kalgoorlie Miner when he wrote in 1928:
On the spot where Hannan picked up the first gold stands a miserable and forlorn pepper tree, which remains there only on sufferance. A willy-willy in its erratic course need only strike it and Hannan's tree would disappear. It is scanty recognition of the memory of the man who blazed the track to Kalgoorlie, and the honour of Kalgoorlie is at stake until the spot is more fittingly marked. It is to be hoped that the prize offered by the council will be the means of bringing forward a suitable suggestion marking such an historic spot. [Kalgoorlie Miner 6 June 1928]
Much to the journalists chagrin no doubt, the prize money he referred to eventually went to the suggestion of a drinking fountain and statue of Paddy outside of the Kalgoorlie Town Hall.
But the W.A. Centenary Committee based in Perth had suggested that a ‘tablet’ should be fixed near Paddy Hannan's tree, which came to fruition to become the first monumental plaque at the tree. This was unveiled by the Mayor of Kalgoorlie Mr B Leslie in front of a large crowd [KM 3 Sept 1929]
The Kalgoorlie Miner (again!) painted a bleak picture of the tree with their Random Reflections columnist ‘Goanna Jack’ penning the following epistle:
A PRINCE, A TREE, AND — ,
By the strange workings of some bright brain, it has been decided that on Tuesday next the Duke of Gloucester will be taken to see the spot where gold was first found in Kalgoorlie, marked by 'Hannan's Tree’. What will H.R.H. see there? A stunted pepper tree in an enclosure overgrown with weeds. A rusty tap. A weather-beaten sign and samples of a picket fence. But what a wonderful panorama will be open to his gaze from that historic spot. On the east he will see the ruins of Hannan street railway station, the scene of many a bottle field. On the west his gaze will encounter the glorious vista of a row of trap doors hanging drunkenly on their hinges, from a line of dilapidated w.c's. The glorious view to the south embraces the bare brow of a hill on which is perched a lavatory leaning precariously on a prop which only just prevents it from tottering to the ground. And this in Health Week!
Since writing the above the authorities painted the fence around the tree. At midnight Friday night the paint was still wet. Hope it dries before Tuesday. But they forgot to paint the surroundings.[KM, 8 Oct 1934]
As foretold by Goanna Jack and others, unfortunately the famed pepper tree died in 1935 (apparently by over watering due to a dripping tap!) [KM 17 Sept 1935] and the Council had it removed, but not before its remains were spied by a local resident who wanted it for firewood. However, all was not lost for Paddy Hannan’s Tree, as the enterprising Mr Fred Woodrow of Brookman Street purchased the wood and saved it from the fire.
He had grand plans to turn the wood into various practical items such as: serviette rings, egg cups, cigarette boxes, boomerangs, flower vases, clock frames, and ash trays. He had intentions of placing the items on display in Perth and to create several elaborate articles made to present (suitably inscribed of course) to the Kalgoorlie Municipal Council, the Boulder Council, the Museum of West Australia and to present a souvenir to Mrs. Read (nee Snell), who had originally planted the tree in 1897. [KM, 9 Oct 1935]
No record seems to exist of the wood turning success or civic donations of Mr Woodrow. But if any knowledge of this exists please contact the Eastern Goldfields Historical Society!
At a well-attended ceremony held on 28 October 1935, a new Kurrajong tree was planted in its place by Miss Klinesmith the grand-daughter of Mrs. F Read, nee Florence Snell who was chosen by Paddy Hannan to plant the original tree. It was said that Miss Klinesmith was accompanied by ‘distant relatives of Mr Hannan’, [KM, 31 Oct 1935] but this is believed to be incorrect.
In 1943, in time for the Goldfields Jubilee celebrations the site received a long overdue facelift and another plaque commemorating the 50th anniversary was unveiled. The moment was reported in the Kalgoorlie Miner, (with the journalist leaving the previously sarcastic pen behind!):
From a small, neglected picket fence enclosure, the site has been transformed. Built to the design of the town clerk, Mr. H. A. Kingsbury, and constructed by council employees, the historic spot is now marked by an attractive octagon enclosure, consisting of a white wire mesh fence, the posts of which are surmounted by cast iron knobs painted red and imbedded in a foundation of stone and tuckpointed brick. The enclosure is planted with lawn in the centre of which stands a flourishing kurrajong tree, which was planted several years ago. [KM 9 June 1943]
On 14 Sept 1945 the Kalgoorlie Miner ran a repeat of Hannan’s original 1897 story, but a bracketed inclusion within it refers to the Kurrajong tree having ‘died some years ago, but it has been replaced’.
It would appear that the second Kurrajong tree also died and was replaced with a Eucalypt tree in the early 1970’s.
As the Eucalypt tree was growing at a very acute angle it was proposed by the Eastern Goldfields Historical Society to replace it with a pepper tree to coincide with the centenary celebrations in Kalgoorlie [TT, PH A Claim To Fame p48]
However, it was to be another Eucalypt that was planted by Miss Natasha Yuryevich, daughter of the Mayor of Kalgoorlie, Mr Ron Yuryevich on 13thJune 1993.
The 1993 tree is thriving quite well in 2018 and is maintained by the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
In my opinion it’s not about the tree at all. Six trees have come and gone! The community commemorates the location, the spot where things started.
This year (2018) marks the 125thcelebrations of the discovery of Kalgoorlie. The EGHS are commemorating the occasion along with the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines, owners of the Super Pit and Mt Charlotte operations, with a public ceremony and plaque unveiling to be held a short distance away (120m SE from Hannan’s Tree) at the Reward Claim site. An obelisk was placed there in 1977 by the Rotary Club of Kalgoorlie to record the ‘First Gold Mining Tenement pegged in Kalgoorlie-Boulder’. (The obelisk was actually moved a short distance [17.3m at 255 deg] from its original site at the most westerly corner of the Reward Claim due to road works being carried out. The obelisk is now located at coordinates GDA94 -51J 354422 / 6597579)
A number of guest speakers are planned and an informative poster is to be launched by the Mines Department and the Historical Society. The four corners of the Reward Claim pegged out (calculated to be 125 years to the day) by the three Irishmen will be indicated to those present. Dignitaries and public will also make the short walk to the Tree to hear of its significance.
The opportunity to commemorate the date at this Reward Claim location came about after research into the original claim and having a resurvey of the claims corners done. It also allows for a more inclusive approach to be taken when paying tribute to Flanagan and Shea as well as Hannan. But it is no way a slight on his achievements. Paddy‘s name is so firmly entrenched in Goldfields history that it can never be ignored or forgotten.
In my opinion it’s not about the tree at all. Six trees have come and gone!
1. The original Gum tree the men camped under, 1893 - 1897
2. The Pepper tree, 1897- 1935, 38 years
3. The first Kurrajong tree 1935 -1940?, 5 years
4. The second Kurrajong tree, 1940? – 1971?, 31 years
5. The first Eucalypt tree, 1971 – 1993 , 22 years
6. The second Eucalypt tree, 1993 – present, (2018) 25 years
By being present when the original pepper tree was planted, Paddy Hannan’s name was connected to it. As trees have come and gone, they have lost that direct connection with him. If we could point to the tree and say ‘this tree is 121 years old and was planted by Paddy’, people would be more engaged I daresay. So, it’s probably no accident that it is most often referred to as ‘where Paddy found his first gold’.
The community commemorates the location, the spotwhere things started. It’s all about the tradition and connection with a site of the past that we can all identify with, where we can honour those who made the discovery and also pay our respects to those who followed. This allows us to celebrate all we have achieved as a community since that time - the beginning.
Mr P. Hannan and Party Planting Tree to mark Hannan's Find. 1897 Aug 02. Documentation of Argus Newspaper and Kalgoorlie Miner photographed by June O'Brien, processed by Keith Quartermaine in 1980s. 35mm and 120 negatives. Photographer Vandyck.
Hannan Tree circa early 1970s
Mayor Leslie at officials at the unveiling 1929. Museum of WA Ref:GM0007718. The front portion of the fence has been removed for the occasion and the wooden post in the front is a remaining part of this.
Stereoscopic photos dated 1923
The assemblage at Paddy Hannan’s Tree August 31 1927 showing the tree in “splendid trim”.
Telephone Exchange 1897-2001
by Robin Bowden
The Telephone Exchange was opened in August 1897 with 43 subscribers connected. On completion of the Post and Telegraph Office, Hannan Street in 1899, a telephone exchange was installed on the second floor of this building.
Telephonists were employed by the Postmasters General’s Department [PMG].
The operators used cords to plug callers into local and trunk (STD) calls. Trunk calls were timed in three-minute time slots.
During the nickel boom (late 1960’s early 1970’s) the area grew significantly, and the exchange was upgraded. For the first time callers heard a dial tone when they picked up a phone. They had the choice of calling STD direct or going through an operator.
As technology improved and the Internet was developed, callers began to rely less and less on manual assistance from operators.
After more than 100 years of operation The Kalgoorlie Telephone Exchange (Manual Assistance Centre) closed in June 2001. It was technology that finally led to the closure of an institution, with computers eventually replacing people. The friendly voice at the end of the line was replaced by an automatic one and the Telephone Exchange quietly passed out of existence.
Ref The “Goldfields Morning Chronicle”-- Tuesday 3rd August 1897
Ref The “Kalgoorlie Miner” - Saturday July 28th 2001.
© Claire Weir Photography
Telephonists at the Telephone Exchange in Kalgoorlie Pat Treby, Margaret Robinson, Ivy Opacak, June Robinson circa 1950’s by photographer Tom Williams © EGHS
Masonic Hall - 10 Egan Street
by Doug Daws
In August of 1892 gold was discovered at Coolgardie and a wild rush set in for this new El Dorado. Soon after, the pioneer prospectors pushed further afield and in June 1893, Paddy Hannan and his mates discovered Kalgoorlie. These new rich goldfields brought an endless stream of humanity to Western Australia from all parts of the world, and many among them were Freemasons. The early rough camps soon gave way to hessian houses and these in turn were superseded by buildings of timber, stone and brick.
The first lodge formed was named Kalgoorlie. It was consecrated on 18th August, 1897, under the English Constitution. Then followed Lodge Sir William Wallace under the Scottish Constitution, and others of both Constitutions.
The prime mover responsible for the erection of the Kalgoorlie Masonic Hall was Bro. Fred A. McMullen. He later shifted to Perth where he became the Grand Master of all of the lodges in Western Australia, except those lodges belonging to the Scottish Constitution which remained loyal to Scotland. There are now only 'Scottish’ lodges operating in Kalgoorlie.
McMullen was the Master of the Kalgoorlie Lodge in 1898, when he convened a meeting of delegates of three of the local lodges to discuss the erection of a Masonic Hall. They agreed to form the Kalgoorlie Masonic Hall Trust and to jointly finance the building which was erected at the eastern end of Egan Street, within 100 metres of the historic spot where gold had first been discovered by Paddy Hannan.
The foundation stone was laid on 5th July, 1899, by the W.A. Premier, Bro. Sir Gerard Smith, a District Grand Master of the English Constitution answering to London, and Bro. Rev. G.E. Rowe, a District Grand Master of the Scottish Constitution answering to Edinburgh. When the stone was laid, with great pomp and much Masonic ceremony, one of each of the coins of the realm, with records and various papers, were placed in a lead casket and lodged in a cavity under the stone. You can see the Foundation stone in the front eastern corner of the building.
That day made history in Freemasonry in Kalgoorlie. It was long remembered by the large number of masons present, from all parts of the world and from many Constitutions. That night a banquet to celebrate the occasion was held in the then Mechanics Institute on Hannan Street. Tickets for the banquet were £1 1s (one guinea), and there was a large attendance. During the banquet word was received that some cowards had upturned the foundation stone, and removed the coins deposited thereunder. The incident created considerable interest at the time with the news quickly spreading to the Eastern States. The Sydney "Bulletin" published a cartoon relative thereto. A new set of coins was placed in the cavity and brethren stood guard until the workmen had built about two metres of masonry over it.
The first stage of the hall was completed in December 1899 and is made of local stone. The beautiful ceiling is made from Kauri pine. In 1906, it was found essential to erect a larger banquet room to accommodate the rapid growth of numbers in Freemasonry. The total cost of the Hall, banquet and other rooms, including furnishings and land, was £3,100.
The entire property is now owned by Lodge Sir William Wallace, one of the original three Hall Trustees and they require other lodges meeting at the hall to pay rent. These include Lodge Golden Feather that originally met at Kanowna until 1945 and Lodge Golden Thistle which was formed in 1896 and met at Coolgardie until it relocated to meet at this Kalgoorlie Masonic hall in 1995.
The Kalgoorlie Masonic Hall was placed on the State Heritage list in March 1998. They describe it thus:
The Masonic Lodge at the corner of Egan and Porter Streets is built in the Federation Academic Classical style which was used to express community wealth and prominence and is common throughout the goldfields which grew and prospered following the discovery of gold in the early 1890s.
The building is constructed of pink-coloured ashlar stone capped with a painted stucco entablature and parapet which both extend across the facade.
In the lead up to, and following on from, the Centenary of the Kalgoorlie Masonic Temple in December 1999, considerable improvements have been undertaken including modern lighting furnishings, air conditioning and equipment.
The Kalgoorlie Masonic Temple is in good hands and we maintain the important legacy placed to our care by those early Brethren.
Masonic Procession leaving Egan Street Wesleyen Church. Documentation of Argus Newspaper and Kalgoorlie Miner photographed by June O'Brien, processed by Keith Quartermaine in 1980s. 35mm and 120 negatives. Photographer Joshua and Dwyer.
Kalgoorlie Masonic Hall 2017 ©Doug Daws
View of Kalgoorlie Masonic Hall from SE
Ardross Chambers - 71 Maritana Street
by Diana Stockdale nee Wood
The corner of Dugan and Maritana Street was originally part of the site of Ardross Chambers, a wood and iron structure of fifty bedrooms and offices built in approximately 1896. The building was thought to have been built by Alex Mathieson who also owned the first wooden ‘Maritana Buildings’ on the corner of Maritana & Brookman Street.
These bedrooms remained until 1945 when this old landmark was demolished to make way for a new St. John’s Ambulance headquarters. This has also since been demolished.
Looking towards Hannan St from Maritana St Overway Bridge. The Ardoss Chambers is on the left after Dugan Street intersection.
Tippetts Ltd - 100 Hannan Street
by Diana Stockdale nee Wood
Mr Norman Tippett arrived in Kalgoorlie sometime after World War 1. He established a bakehouse at the top end of Hannan Street and a small shop near the Post Office, to which he delivered cakes and pastries in a hand cart until he acquired a horse called “Lulu”.
In 1929 Albany Bells approached Mr Tippett regarding amalgamation of the two companies and traded under the name of Tippett’s. By this time Tippett’s also had a shop in Boulder.
Mr Tippett managed the business until 1938, when Mr Bill Wilcocks took over the position. Other business partners included Miss Nancy Saunders, Mrs A Cruikshank and Mrs M Willox (who retired in the 1950’s).
The three shops closed their doors in 1973. 
“I worked at Tippett’s when I was at High School. I worked on a Saturday and I helped with the preparation of Fruit Salad for their catering jobs. I would start around 6am and hose down the front of the shop at 100 Hannan Street, then help with serving of breakfasts. Tippett’s motto was always to please the Gentlemen who came in for all their meals.
Around 8am Mrs Gouge the weekend cook would call the staff in for their breakfast, after that I would start the cutting of the fruit.
Tippett’s had lollies sold by weight out of jars, ice cream, yummy cakes, pasties and pies. The bakehouse was up the lane in Brookman Street (now a carpark).
The men used to bring the cakes and pastries down the lane carrying them on the big baking trays. The best cakes were Devil Food Cake and Black Forrest.
Tippett’s stayed open on Friday and Saturday nights to provide half time snacks for the picture goers at the Majestic or Cremorne Theatres.”
 Tippett, Lillian, ‘Letter to Norrie Bingley’, EGHS Library Archives 3.223.1
Tippett’s Café, 100 Hannan Street ©Eastern Goldfields Historical Society.
Interior at Tippett’s displaying a banquet ready for guests ©Eastern Goldfields Historical Society
Sheed's Store - 101 Hannan Street
Today at 101 Hannan Street stands this simple two-storey building, looking nothing like its original use and purpose. The building was the main store for Sheed and Company, a prosperous enterprise, which at its peak operated four other stores, one of which was in Fremantle. Advertised as grocer provision and wine and spirit merchants, David Sheed explained that his ability 'to buy for cash and to pass the benefits gained to his customers,' and his business motto of 'quality is the best test of cheapness,' insured success in his line of work.
Typically, the first building on this site was a timber framed and hessian structure with a galvanized iron roof from which John Willis Fimister conducted a furniture, groceries, ironmongery and mining requisites business. Soon after as Kalgoorlie boomed, the building was upgraded to a timber and galvanized iron affair and eventually in 1898 the two storey stone and brick structure that stands here today was constructed.
In 1900, David Sheed bought the building and dealt in hardware, wholesale and retail groceries, general home furnishings, spirits and wines. He also operated an additional store in Lane Street, Boulder, another at Trafalgar on the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Loop Line and a third goldfield’s shop at Golden Ridge on the 'Trans line.' A Fremantle store was the fifth of the company's outlets.
Over time, the Sheed family closed all but their Hannan Street premises and continued to operate until 1983 when the business was sold.
During the early 1960s, my mother used to do her weekly grocery shopping at Sheed’s each Friday morning. During the school holidays, I reluctantly had to join her on what was a familiar pattern of shop visitation beginning with a trip to Sheed’s. At the time in Kalgoorlie, there were no modern supermarkets and a visit to their shop was like a trip down memory lane. It was quaint to say the least, but the staff, both numerous and personable, placed service as a top priority.
I used to stand back and watch as Mum's grocery list was processed. This was something to behold, since behind the long timber counter most of the dry merchandise, biscuits, sugar and tea for example, was stored in boxes in floor to ceiling shelving that filled one side wall of the shop. Sold by number or weight and bagged separately at the point of sale, very few pre-packaged goods were available. Accessing the high shelves meant younger shop assistants had to ascend tall ladders to retrieve produce and then shift the ladder to get more. My mother would chat to Stan Sheed if he was available and then later in the day, the groceries would be delivered to our home.
Originally, at the rear of the store there was an enormous 30 000 gallon (114 kilolitre) underground water tank. This was later filled in when the shop was refurbished into a clothing retail outlet.
It all seemed so old world and yet it was in keeping with the traditions that Kalgoorlie people had come to expect. Today, Aldi the modern manifestation of supermarket operations, has more like the Spartan no fuss warehouse look of those earlier times.
Interior of Sheed’s Store
The Athenaeum Cafe - 202 Hannan Street
By Robyn Horner
Do you see the Luxfer prism tiles fitted into the pavement in front of the Mechanics Institute building? These tiles are believed to be the only ones known to exist in Kalgoorlie.
When the Mechanics Institute was erected in 1902, the Luxfer Prism tiles were installed to carry more light into the basement of the Institute. The basement still exists today with access via the original entrance staircase, descending from the outside of the Institute buildings down to the Basement. 
The Luxfer Prism Tiles were made by the ‘’Radiating Light Company” founded in America by James G Pennycuick, who applied in 1882 for the patent for the new window-glass. His improvement was the addition of horizontal prisms to the back side of square glass tiles, redirecting sunlight back into rooms where light was scarce. 
With the ceiling of the basement being 10ft 6in high and consisting of ornamental pressed zinc, getting light down to it would have been difficult. The basement comprised of two apartments. At the rear was a kitchen plus pantry and storeroom. One apartment was built to house a restaurant and the other was to be a Billiard Room although this never eventuated. 
The first inhabitants of the basement was the ‘’Athenaeum Cafe”, opened to the public on 3rd October 1902. The Ladies of the goldfields were said to appreciate a place to go as a cool retreat in which to have afternoon tea. The Cafe measured 37ft 4in x 24ft. The tables were spread with white table cloths. An adjoining room measuring the same as above was a dining room, with a curtain screening an afternoon tea room for ladies. 
The cafe was run by Mr Stone who had over 20 years experience in leading hotels in Australia as well as England. Miss Barry was the proprietor. A grill and oyster saloon was operated from the dining room. Open daily until half an hour after midnight – mainly for those to enjoy supper after the theatre.
In 1904 Mrs N W Hewson took over the Cafe. During her time at the Cafe she was known to grow many of the Cafe’s supplies from her residence in Piccadilly Street. She supplied the beautiful Cafe flowers from her nursery. She also supplied the Cafe with all her own poultry, eggs, lettuce, beetroot and potatoes.
The Cafe was popular for wedding breakfasts and social functions of all kinds.
Since that time the basement has had many uses such as –
1928 - 1932 - Toc Tea Rooms
1941 - 1949 - Legion’s Club Room
1943 - 1945 - Air Raid Protection Headquarters.
1948 - 1950 - Gaiety Studio of Dancing
1948 - 1950 - Ron and Reg Lamberts Photographic Studios.
 Kalgoorlie Western Argus, 21 Oct 1902. P20
 20thCentury Building Materials, TC Jester 2014.
 Kalgoorlie Miner 28 Aug 1902. P6.
 Eastern Goldfields Historical Society Archives Photographs 23/24A – Athenaeum Cafe 1904
 Kalgoorlie Miner, 8 October 1902, p6
 Kalgoorlie Western Argus, 8 October 1904 p6
Kalgoorlie Miner, 26 August 1949, p6
View of Hannan Street, looking West showing Post Office and Miners' Institute. Documentation of Argus Newspaper and Kalgoorlie Miner photographed by June O'Brien, Processed by Keith Quartermaine in 1980s. 35mm and 120 negatives. Photographer Dwyer
Composite of three pictures of the Athenaeum Cafe dining room and staff. 1904.N.W. Hewson, proprietor. Documentation of Argus Newspaper and Kalgoorlie Miner photographed by June O'Brien, processed by Keith Quartermaine in 1980s. 35mm and 120 negatives.
Kalgoorlie Town Hall
by Robyn Horner
By 1904 Kalgoorlie had been beautified with parks, trees, electric light, electric trams, and luxurious hotels; all the best that could be found in Australia. However, it was without a proper Town Hall or Theatre. Councillor Frederick A Chapple, accountant and a member of the Kalgoorlie Municipal Council, was the first to put a proposal to a Kalgoorlie Council meeting, to erect a large Town Hall with theatre for Kalgoorlie on endowment Lot 151, at the Corner of Hannan and Wilson Streets. Sadly, fellow Councillors rejected his proposal, and Kalgoorlie people had to wait another four years before his idea became reality.
On 15 March 1906 the Kalgoorlie Council put the decision to the people, as to whether they wanted a Town Hall built in Hannan Street or Brookman Street. The results gave a majority of 280 in favour of the Hannan Street site, at a cost not exceeding £12,500 pounds.
Due to the Council not forward planning the budget in the 1905/1906 financial year, the Council were legally forced to postpone the building of the Town Hall until after December 1906. By then the finances would be included in the following year’s budget.
A competition was called for designs of the Town Hall in December 1906. By 8 January 1907 no less than 79 separate designs were submitted for the consideration of the town’s surveyor/engineer, Charles Wentworth James.
However, due to costs, the Kalgoorlie Town Council decided to have the Town Hall designed ‘’in-house’’, and the building was designed by the Kalgoorlie Council engineer Charles Wentworth James, with the assistance of Tom Roberts, architect.
The design was built with a strong economic consideration, playing heavily on the outside design of the building. As a result the building had little embellishment to the sides or front. The interior however, was a very different matter, with most of the money being spent on the inside of the building.
The Foundation Stone for the Town Hall, situated at the front of the building, was laid on 6 November 1907, just one week prior to the laying of the Foundation Stone of the Boulder Town Hall. The race was on between the twin towns to build and open their Town Hall first (Kalgoorlie lost that one).
The Kalgoorlie Town Hall took ten months to erect, which was much longer than anticipated. A cyclone struck Kalgoorlie on 25 February 1908 and the building sustained severe damage. The nearly completed rear wall of the Town Hall was completely demolished. Due to this disaster the contractors (Williams & O’Donnell) experienced financial problems and consequently new contractors were employed. The contractors William and John Park actually completed the town hall. 
The Governor Sir Frederick Bedford officially opened the Kalgoorlie Town Hall on 8 September 1908. The building comprised foyer, elaborate ceilings, grand staircase constructed of cedar and coachwood, huge theatre with upstairs dress circle complete with cast iron seating upholstered in crimson velvet. It had eleven dressing rooms, a huge basement, and a large stage with a plush velvet drop curtain - the list was endless.
The completion was a great achievement for the town. The Kalgoorlie Town Hall demonstrates the wealth and civic pride of a community thriving on the gold boom on the 1900’s.
 Kalgoorlie Miner, 20 January 1904 p2
 Kalgoorlie Miner, 15 March 1906 p7
 Kalgoorlie Miner, 12 November 1907 p6
 Kalgoorlie Miner, 10 April 1908 p6
 Kalgoorlie Miner, 9 September 1908 p6
by Beverly Quatermaine
The Kalgoorlie Electric Tramways Limited was formed to build and operate tramways in Kalgoorlie and Boulder. This company had close links with the Perth Electric Tramways Limited, but unlike the Perth situation, the Kalgoorlie operation was to remain privately owned for most of its life.
The tramways began operation in May 1902. The trams ran along Burt Street, out to Fimiston (the Boulder Block) via the subway, Lane Street, Hopkins Street, Vivian Street and into Kalgoorlie and Hannan Street along Maritana Street ending at the Tower Hotel.
In early 1903, the first electric tram was ordered from Philadelphia. Tramcars came in two sizes and were remarkable in their speed. The small trams were four-wheeled with two motors, the large double bogeyed and had four motors.
The smaller trams could travel 30 miles per hour, the larger trams could reach 45 miles per hour and had electric lights. Customers could attach their bicycles to the rope cowcatcher on the front of the tram and their prams were stored at the back. The small trams relied on the strength of the ‘motor man’, as the driver was known, to stop the tram by using a winding hand brake.
The larger trams pulled carriages, called ‘dummies’. Dummies were attached to the tram during shift change on the mines. On race days or football finals, three or four dummies transported large crowds. The larger trams were controlled by air brakes, with hand brakes for emergencies.
After the 1914 to 1918 War, many soldiers did not return to the district. Alluvial gold deposits had been worked out and the many retrenchments caused further population decline. Many houses in the outer suburbs were sold for use on farms, leaving a scattered population. As a result, many of the lines to these suburbs, regarded as "branch" lines, were closed, leaving just the core lines within and between the twin towns of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. A revival of the gold mining industry in about 1930, led to a revival of the tramways. The operating concession was extended by fifteen years, and many trams were renovated, with platforms being enclosed and some bodies being completely dismantled and rebuilt.
However, in 1936, another tram route was closed when it was found to be too expensive to extend the Boulder Block line from Fimiston to Chaffers. Instead a bus service was introduced, also replacing the trams on the Kamballie-Fimiston and Boulder Racecourse tram lines.
After the Second World War, which temporarily brought more life to the town, the need for trams was reduced to peak hours and miners' specials only. The Kalgoorlie Electric Tramways company was taken over in 1949 by the Eastern Goldfields Transport Board, which closed the system on March 10, 1952.
Extract from Publicans and Sinners, By Arthur Dunstan
“A Kalgoorlie Scorcher
On one of Kalgoorlie’s hotter summer days Ted was the conductor on a tram plying the Lamington Route. In that sort of weather the trams become unbearably hot. During an 8 hour shift, if a bloke wasn’t careful, he could become unbelievably parched, perhaps even dehydrated.
It was probably Ted’s fear of the latter that led him to make an arrangement with the driver.
He said “Why don’t we take it in turns to drop off at the Tower (hotel) on the way out. One of us could have a drink while the other takes the tram to the Terminus.”
It seemed a good idea on that scorching day, so the driver agreed.
According to Ted, the system worked well, as it did, for a while. When it was his turn to drop off at the Tower, Ted was able to “sink a couple of leisurely pots” while waiting for his mate to return. He would then amble out of the pub when he heard the tram approaching. There was plenty of warning because those trams did not move silently. The locals claimed they had square wheels.
As the day wore on and the heat became intense, Ted and his mate “got the taste”. Ted said that they were popping into the Australia hotel for a “quicky” before turning around and heading for Lamington again. They were managing a turn around every half hour.
Towards the end of the shift it was Ted’s turn to drop off at the Tower again. He quietly sunk a couple of pots and walked slowly into Maritana Street as the familiar rattle of a tram grew louder.
This time the tram did not stop for Ted. He had not reached the edge of the foot path when it trundled past. He gasped as he saw that the driver’s compartment was empty.
Ted was momentarily stunned, but he sprung into action. He had noticed a couple of female passengers sitting in the tram, apparently unaware that they were in a driverless vehicle.
There was not a lot of motor traffic heading for town at the time of the day, but fortunately for Ted a car came on the scene. He jumped into its path and desperately waved it down. I would like to be able to say that he got into the car yelling “follow that tram”. The fact is that I do not know what he said, but the car with Ted as passenger, sped off in pursuit of the runaway.
The tram slowed down considerably as it struggled up the incline at Maritana Bridge. It was there that Ted was able to clamber aboard and take control.
To say Ted was most perplexed about the disappearance of the driver, would be the under statement of the year, but it was not long before the mystery was unravelled.
A Tight Bend
Around “Sayers corner” there was a sharp curve in the tram-lines where the trams turned out of Ward Street into Graeme Street.
Apparently the driver had not handled the heat and the grog as well as Ted had.
As the tram lurched around the sharp bend he was bucked off, onto the road. The driver was dazed and lost a bit of skin from his forehead, but otherwise he was unhurt.
Bull Stanley, the manager of the Tramways, heard of the incident almost as soon as it happened. He was not amused. Ted and his driver “got the tramp” (sacked).”
Erecting the First Pole of the Electric Tramway.
Construction of the tram rails on Hannan Street
View of Hannan Street, Looking North.
Dwyer's Studio - 141 Hannan Street
by Claire Weir
Park Building was erected in 1904, with brick walls and a corrugated galvanised iron roof. It comprised four ground floor shops and an upstairs photographic studio to the back, with offices at the front. To the back Windsor House, a two-story brick building, is constructed in the same era, its purpose to be a boarding house.
Built by builders W&J Park, Joseph Kearny the Lot owner and architect Michael Kavanagh designed the building for commercial use and a boarding facility. The building got its name from Kearney’s fiancé Ms Park and not the builders, as widely speculated at the time.
The upper floor photographic studio was designed by John Joseph (JJ) Dwyer, with the intention for his business to be operated once the building was completed.
Four Photography businesses operated from 141 Hannan Street:
JJ Dwyer 1904-1917
In 1896 Dwyer came to Coolgardie working as a photographer. He also spent time prospecting the north-east corner of the Coolgardie Goldfields. After a small stint in Niagara, Dwyer returned to Coolgardie and took a position as a special photographer with the ‘Goldfields Courier’ which at time was still the ‘mother of the goldfields’. In 1900 Dwyer moved to Kalgoorlie and established his own studio. Dwyer was known to have a wider scope of work, delivering high quality work in both the studio and on the field. He was highly sought after and his business thrived. In 1904 he relocated his business to the purpose build 141 Hannan Street Studio in the Park building.
TF MacKay 1917-1945
Mackay came from Scotland to WA, where he found himself working at Rembrandt Studio in Boulder before buying Dwyer’s Studio in 1917. Mackay had the longest duration as a photographer in this building. An extensive collection of wedding photographs were captured by MacKay throughout his tenure. Photographer Floy Matthews undertook her photographic apprenticeship at 141 Hannan Street under MacKay’s guidance, opening her own successful studio in Kalgoorlie upon leaving.
Stuart Gore 1945-1948
Gore operated as an aerial photographer for Western Mining aerial survey of the Goldfields. He enlisted in the RAAF at the outbreak of World War Two, and was based in Darwin. A collection of his images of this time are in care of the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Heritage Unit.
Emrys Morgan (Maxine Studio) 1950-1962
Morgan operated Maxine studios as a candid and family portrait studio. Morgan was the last photographer to operate from the room.
Park Building was sold after Morgan had closed his business. For a nominal sum Morgan had sold the glass plates and some equipment to Hedley Candids which were stored in the studio since Dwyers and Mackays tenure. When the building was sold to a new owner the studio was cleared out and the glass plates and negatives were brought to the tip.
Due to the diligence of a young man named Morgan, and of no relation to Emrys, he retrieved the glass plates and donated them to the Goldfields Museum and Eastern Goldfields Historical Society!
For this reason it is important to realise how fortunate we are to be able to have these documents of the past as they were so close to being lost forever!
Photographic Negative - Glass