In 1893 a bloke called Paddy Hannan cried ‘Eureka’ (or ‘Ouch, I stubbed my toe on a bloody big piece of shiny rock’ or whatever lucky buggers yell when they find gold) and sparked one of Australia’s great gold rushes. Kalgoorlie was born.
Today, the Golden Mile (don’t you just love that name?) continues to be worked by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines and is called the Super Pit Mine. And for good reason – at 3.5km long and 1.5km wide, it produces up to 800,000 ounces of gold every year and can apparently be seen from space. Naturally, then, it can also be seen from all over town as well.
As for dragging your kids to a regional city 600km east of the nearest Australian city (Perth), here’s what Kalgoorlie-Boulder has to offer:
Ever lived in Kalgoorlie? Give us the goss...
"I've lived here for 15 years, from straight out of high school so I could go to the WA School of Mines (Uni) to study mining engineering. I've heard the story that there are two types of people who live in Kal - either miners or prostitutes - and that is just silly. Kal has about 32,000-ish residents and yes that does include some ladies of the night, but so do most towns/cities of that size. I have to admit getting quite a shock moving to Kal, but to be fair I was an unworldly 17-year-old, leaving a small rural town for the bright lights of Kal, going to the pub for the first time etc. I guess you could say there are two speeds of lifestyle in Kal - those who are only in town for a short time, live in the pub, don't have kids vs those who are more settled with or without kids who join in to the community. There is opportunity to thrive at either in Kal. There are plenty of sporting, social and community activities for families and all the facilities and services you would expect in a town of its size. A lot of people spend a few weekends a year at Esperance, our "local" beach 400km away, and Perth is either a 600km drive or 1-hour flight. All in all I think it is a pretty good place to live.
- Miner chick, Kalgoorlie
"I have been in Kal for almost five years now - we love it here! We moved when our first child was eight weeks old and have since had two more children. Kalgoorlie has everything you need and is like a mini-city. We love the clean air, the bush surrounds and just the fact that you can bring up a family here and don't have to do FIFO!"
- Cal, Kalgoorlie
"Wow what a great place for a family with young kids! It's easy to get around, there's nothing you can't reach in 10 minutes and there are plenty of bike paths for the energetic. Schools are just fantastic, with amazing school pride and community spirit, and the teachers seem to really focus on the important stuff, like reading and writing. But the most important thing about Kalgoorlie is the friendliness. I landed in Kalgoorlie with the kids miserable at haveing moved yet again and was immediately greeted by such friendly women who just completly understood. There are plenty of day-time social groups and craft groups to keep mums sane, and more job opportunities for mums seeking casual work or part-time work than you could believe... You can even deliver a baby in this town!!! And it's only six hours to Perth. (PS: make sure you've got insurance on the removals, things do seem to get damaged when you move them across the Nullarbor.)"
- Kathryn, Kalgoorlie