kalgoorlie map

Gwalia, once the second biggest gold mining town in WA, is now almost deserted. The “Sons of Gwalia” mine closed in 1963 and the population of over 1500 disappeared overnight. The first mine manager, 23 year old Herbert Hoover, brought in cheap Italian labor to help make the mine profitable.  Hoover went on to become the 31st president of the USA. Most of the abandoned cottages built by the workers are still in good condition thanks to the hot, dry climate.


























Gwalia’s State Hotel was the first state owned pub in WA. Built to counter the sly grog trade in the town, it is a stark contrast to the makeshift dwellings of the workers.


The Sons of Gwalia mine has since reopened and, judging by the size of the hole in the ground, must be doing fairly well.

5 thoughts on “GHOSTS OF GWALIA

  1. What incredible beauty you’ve found in the rusty old buildings, John. I just found your blog and am enthralled with your pictures of a part of Australia that I’ll probably never see. Hello to both of you from Oregon.

    • Hi Jo,
      Good to hear from you and glad you are enjoying the blog.
      We are trying to organize another workshop in Oregon, so may catch up in the future.
      Regards John & Dianne

  2. John, this is great stuff. I assume they’re mostly photos though the interiors could be hyper realist paintings. A friend recently there has brought my attention to something no one else seems to have noticed, evidence of much push bike usage in the old days. Have you read the Bicycle and the Bush by Jim Fitzpatrick. You’d love it for the forgotten history is reveals

    • Hi Mike,
      Thanks for commenting. I wasn’t aware of the cycling history of that area, but it sure is flat country, so would be an ideal way to get around.
      I did take this photo in Gwalia. The metal registration plate on the frame interested me.

      Gwalia Bicycle

      I’ll look out for Jim Fitzpatricks book. (They are all photos on the Gwalia post)

      Enjoyed looking at your cycling images – I love the solar prints, they look really quirky and ancient.

  3. Pingback: » Blog Archive » The Bikes and ghost of Gwalia

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