After our walking tour of Boulder we headed east for only 40km to the town of Coolgardie. Here we found a 24 hour free camp beside the now closed railway station. By nightfall there were five other travellers who joined us. One of the local neighbours across the road even came over with fresh picked silverbeet for anyone who wanted some. This is our first really hot day for a while reaching 30 degrees so it was a change from our cold and wet south west corner.
We relaxed until later in the afternoon when we went for a walk through the main street of the town which is 40 metres wide, built to accommodate camel trains and horse teams but now used by a lot of road trains.
Coolgardie was the first settlement of the Eastern Goldfields with gold found in 1892. By 1898 Coolgardie was home to 15,000 residents and the third largest town in Western Australia. Another 10,000 lived in the immediate area. At its most prosperous the town had 2 stock exchanges, one ‘open call’ market, 25 stockbrokers, 26 hotels – 16 of them on the main street, 3 breweries, 4 clubs including a Japanese club, 7 newspapers and 14 churches. Today sadly there was little open with the Denver City Hotel and the Way Out West Café hoping for business. There were plaques in front of each building providing us with the story of the glorious past.
This large building built from indifferent bricks started as the Post Office building in 1895. It was expanded to include buildings for the Post and Telegraph Department, Police Station and Lockup. There was also a military drill hall in the complex. At Coolgardie’s height, the Post and Telegraph Office had a staff of 90.
We wandered back to watch the footy and have dinner at camp.