Kalgoorlie is a city in the Goldfields–Esperance region of Western Australia, located 595 km (370 mi) east-northeast of Perth at the end of the Great Eastern Highway. It is sometimes referred to as Kalgoorlie–Boulder, as the surrounding urban area includes the historic townsite of Boulder and the local government area is the City of Kalgoorlie–Boulder.

Western Australia
Coordinates30°44′56″S 121°27′57″E
Population29,068 (2021 census - UCL)[1]
 • Density387.06/km2 (1,002.5/sq mi)
Elevation383 m (1,257 ft)
Area75.1 km2 (29.0 sq mi)[2] (2011 urban)
Time zoneAWST (UTC+8)
LGA(s)City of Kalgoorlie–Boulder
State electorate(s)Kalgoorlie
Federal division(s)O'Connor
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
25.2 °C
77 °F
11.6 °C
53 °F
265.6 mm
10.5 in

Kalgoorlie-Boulder lies on the traditional lands of the Wangkatja group of peoples.The name "Kalgoorlie" is derived from the Wangai word Karlkurla or Kulgooluh, meaning "place of the silky pears".[3] The city was established in 1893 during the Western Australian gold rushes. It soon replaced Coolgardie as the largest settlement on the Eastern Goldfields. Kalgoorlie is the ultimate destination of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme and the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail. The nearby Super Pit gold mine was Australia's largest open-cut gold mine for many years.

At August 2021, Kalgoorlie–Boulder had an estimated urban population of 29,068,[4] a decline from the recent peak of 32,966 in 2013.[5]


The Centenerary Plaque of 1993, on the wall of the Town Hall in Kalgoorlie
Since 1897, a tree has marked the spot where gold was found on 14 June 1893.

Kalgoorlie-Boulder lies on the traditional lands of the Wangkatja people. Languages including Wangkatja,[6][7] part of the Wati language family,[8] continue to be spoken there today.[9]

In the winter of 1893, prospectors Patrick (Paddy) Hannan, Tom Flanagan, and Dan Shea were travelling to Mount Youle, when one of their horses cast a shoe. During the halt in their journey, the men noticed signs of gold in the area around the foot of what is now the Mount Charlotte gold mine, located on a small hill north of the current city, and decided to stay and investigate. On 17 June 1893, Hannan filed a Reward Claim, leading to hundreds of men swarming to the area in search of gold, and Kalgoorlie, originally called Hannan's Find, was born.[10]

Hannan Street in September 1930; the Exchange Hotel is at the centre, with the Palace Hotel on the right.

The population of the town was 2,018 (1,516 males and 502 females) in 1898.[11]

The mining of gold, along with other metals such as nickel, has been a major industry in Kalgoorlie ever since, and today employs about one-quarter of Kalgoorlie's workforce and generates a significant proportion of its income. The concentrated area of large gold mines surrounding the original Hannan's find is often referred to as the Golden Mile, and was sometimes referred to as the world's richest square mile of earth.

In 1901, the population of Kalgoorlie was 4,793 (3,087 males and 1,706 females) which increased to 6,790 (3,904 males and 2,886 females) by 1903.[12]

The 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) narrow-gauge Government Eastern Goldfields Railway line reached Kalgoorlie station in 1896, and the main named railway service from Perth was the overnight sleeper train The Westland, which ran until the 1970s. In 1917, a 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge railway line was completed, connecting Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta, South Australia, across 2,000 kilometres (1,243 mi) of desert, and consequently the rest of the eastern states. The standardisation of the railway connecting Perth (which changed route from the narrow-gauge route) in 1968 completed the Sydney–Perth railway, making rail travel from Perth to Sydney possible; the Indian Pacific rail service commenced soon after. During the 1890s, the Goldfields area boomed as a whole, with an area population exceeding 200,000, composed mainly of prospectors. The area gained a reputation for being a "wild west", notorious for its bandits and prostitutes. This rapid increase in population and claims of neglect by the state government in Perth led to the proposition of the new state of Auralia, but with the sudden diaspora after the Gold Rush, these plans fell through.

Places, famous or infamous, for which Kalgoorlie is noted include its water pipeline, designed by C. Y. O'Connor and bringing in fresh water from Mundaring Weir near Perth, its Hay Street brothels, its two-up school, the goldfields railway loopline, the Kalgoorlie Town Hall, the Paddy Hannan statue/drinking fountain, the Super Pit, and Mount Charlotte lookout. Its main street is Hannan Street, named after the town's founder. One of the infamous brothels also serves as a museum and is a major national attraction.

Kalgoorlie and the surrounding district were served by an extensive collection of suburban railways and tramways, providing for both passenger and freight traffic.[13]

In 1989, the Town of Kalgoorlie and Shire of Boulder formally amalgamated to create the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, adjoining the two towns into what is now the fifth most populous city in Western Australia.[14]

On 20 April 2010, Kalgoorlie was shaken by an earthquake that reached 5.0 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was 30 km north east of the town.[15] The quake caused damage to a number of commercial hotels and historic buildings along Burt Street in Boulder. The entire Burt St. precinct was evacuated until 23 April. Work in the Superpit and many other mines around Kalgoorlie was stopped. Two people suffered minor injuries as a result of the quake.[16]

Panorama of Kalgoorlie, with the Airport visible behind and Boulder present behind the headframe


According to the 2016 census, there were 29,873 people in the Kalgoorlie - Boulder Significant Urban Area:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 7.3% of the population.
  • 65.8% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were New Zealand (7.9%), England (2.4%), Philippines (2.2%), South Africa (1.9%) and India (1.2%).
  • 78.6% of people spoke only English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Afrikaans (1.3%), Tagalog (1.1%), Filipino (0.7%), Mandarin (0.7%) and Hindi (0.5%).
  • The most common responses for religion were No Religion (33.4%) and Catholic (22.1%).[17]



Kalgoorlie has a semi-arid climate (BSk) with hot summers and mild winters. The average annual rainfall is 260 mm (10 in) on an average of 68 days and, while the average rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, there is considerable variation from year to year.

January is the hottest month, with an average maximum temperature of 33.6 °C (92.5 °F), but temperatures above 40.0 °C (104.0 °F) occur nearly once a week when hot, dry, north to northeasterly winds arrive. Such high temperatures are usually followed by a cool change from the south, and occasionally with a thunderstorm.

By contrast, winters are cool, with July average maximum and minimum temperatures being 16.5 °C (61.7 °F) and 4.8 °C (40.6 °F), respectively. Cold, wet days with a maximum below 12.0 °C (53.6 °F) occur about once every winter. The lowest maximum temperature recorded is 7.2 °C (45.0 °F), on 19 July 1961. Overnight temperatures fall below freezing about four times in a typical winter. Such events occur on clear nights following a day of cold southerly winds.

Climate data for Kalgoorlie
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 46.5
Average high °C (°F) 33.6
Average low °C (°F) 18.2
Record low °C (°F) 8.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 23.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2mm) 3.9 4.5 4.3 3.2 7.1 8.7 9.2 7.5 5.6 4.3 4.1 3.8 68.3
Average afternoon relative humidity (%) 24 30 32 38 44 48 46 39 31 27 25 24 34
Average dew point °C (°F) 8
Mean daily sunshine hours 11.4 11.2 9.9 7.1 7.0 6.6 6.5 6.6 8.6 10.9 11.6 11.7 9.1
Source 1: Bureau of Meteorology[18]
Source 2: Time and Date (dewpoints 1985-2015)[19]

Weather Atlas (sun hours)[20]

Industry and commerce

Kalgoorlie-Boulder is a regional centre and has a Chamber of Commerce[21] and a Chamber of Minerals and Energy.[22]


Since 1992, Kalgoorlie has been home to the Diggers & Dealers conference, held annually in August. It is Australia's premier international mining conference.[23]

The Fimiston Open Pit (Super Pit) is an open-cut gold mine about 3.6 km (2.2 mi) long, 1.6 km (1.0 mi) wide, and over 600 m (1,969 ft) deep. Originally consisting of a large number of underground mines, including the Paringa, Oroya, Brown Hill, Chaffers, and Hainault mines, they were consolidated into a single open pit mine in 1989.[24][25] A visitor centre overlooks the mine, which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The mine blasts at 1:00 pm every day, unless winds would carry dust over the town. Each of the massive trucks carries 225 tonnes of rock and the round trip takes about 35 minutes, most of that time being the slow uphill haul. Employees must live in Kalgoorlie; there's no fly-in, fly-out operation. The current life of mine plan covers operation until 2035, with investigations for mine extension ongoing.[26]


Kalgoorlie-Boulder has a dynamic and diverse cultural scene.[27][28]


Kalgoorlie-Boulder has many arts organisations and practising artists.[29]


Kalgoorlie-Boulder's location, being roughly 600 km from Perth, enjoys high levels of participation in Australian rules football (the Goldfields Football League), netball, basketball, rugby league, soccer, field hockey, and cricket. Other popular sports in Kalgoorlie include tennis, lawn bowls, roller derby, rugby union, and swimming.

Kalgoorlie also has an international squash tournament held every year at the YMCA.

In a statewide sense, the semiprofessional Goldfields Giants basketball team competes in the State Basketball League, and were league champions in 2007 and 2008.

The Goldfields Titans play in the Western Australia Rugby League Harvey Norman Premiership state rugby league competition. Home games are at the Oasis playing fields on Saturday afternoons.

Horse racing is also very popular in the city, and Kalgoorlie-Boulder is home to the internationally recognised annual "Race Round".


York and Oriental Hotels, c. 1900

Given the wealth of its yesteryear, Kalgoorlie features many elaborate heritage buildings that have been retained. Kalgoorlie-Boulder – the largest settlement for many hundreds of kilometres, with many employees at the Super Pit – is the centre of the area's social life. Of particular interest is the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racecourse, a horse racing venue. Also well known in the area are the Kalgoorlie Skimpies, ladies employed by each pub who walk around in their underwear or burlesque outfits to attract punters and who expect a fee in return.[30] Two grass sports ovals and a cinema showing recent international releases are in the area.

Historic hotels

Kalgoorlie has historical hotels still in operation:

  • Broken Hill Hotel – iconic venue in Boulder
  • Exchange Hotel, Kalgoorlie – situated at Kalgoorlie's main intersection
  • Kalgoorlie Hotel opposite the Kalgoorlie town hall
  • Palace Hotel – also situated at Kalgoorlie's main intersection
  • Piccadilly Hotel – suburban pub north of the Kalgoorlie CBD
  • Recreation Hotel – a two-storied hotel in Boulder

Many hotels have been put to private use, including:

  • Cornwall Hotel, Boulder, extensively damaged during 1934 riots[31][32]
  • Mount Lyall (refurbished as a restaurant 2004, currently a Nando's restaurant)[33]

Hotels that have disappeared from the city include:

  • Boulder Block (demolished 1991) (Removed due to Super Pit expansion. This pub had a mine shaft so underground workers could access it.)
  • Commercial Hotel (burnt down 3 November 1978)[34]
  • Fimiston Hotel (demolished February 1980)[35]
  • Foundry Hotel (closed 2005 – damaged by fire 3 July 2008, deliberately lit on fire in 2009, Burnt to the ground 2012)
  • Glendevon Hotel (burnt down 1986)
  • Golden Eagle (The collapsed balcony of the Golden Eagle hotel on the corner of Lane and Wittenoom St in Boulder.)[36] Damaged by fire then demolished in 2012
  • Home from Home Family hotel (burnt in the riots of 1934)
  • Oriental Hotel (demolished July 1972)[37]


Kalgoorlie Town Hall

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder metropolitan area consists of the following suburbs:[38]

  • Boulder

Known as the home of the Super Pit, it is one of Kalgoorlie-Boulder's historical suburbs featuring many buildings and landmarks dating as far back as 1882. It was once the central business district for the Town of Boulder, but since amalgamation with Kalgoorlie, it is now more of a historical local centre. Boulder has its own post office, town hall and many hotels along its main thoroughfare, Burt Street. A significant refurbishment has been commenced as part of the 'Royalties for Regions' initiative.

  • Broadwood (aka – Hampton Heights)

A new housing suburb located next to the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport, which was recently expanded.

  • Fairways

This area derives its name from the golf course that once occupied the area. It was released to provide affordable property to a growing population in Kalgoorlie-Boulder. Fairways features a private primary school, church, caravan park and small business.

  • Golden Grove (formerly Adeline)

Adeline was originally constructed around 1970 by the State Housing Commission. The suburb was built on the "Radburn concept", with houses facing away from the street and common pathways linking homes. The area has been plagued by antisocial problems. In 2003, a significant urban renewal project was commenced, including the renaming of the suburb to Golden Grove and re-aligning of homes. The project has seen some success but has yet to fully eliminate antisocial problems within the area.[39]

  • Hampton Heights

See Broadwood.

  • Hannans
The Kalgoorlie street in Hannans dedicated to Tom Flanagan in September 1981

Located in Kalgoorlie's far north. Hannans was the first suburb to have its own independent shopping centre ("Hannans Boulevard") which includes a Coles Supermarket. The area also has a primary school and an 18-hole golf course. The original course was not formally grassed but was recently refurbished. Several surrounding golf clubs joined together to form one club known as 'The Goldfields Golf Club'. A dam has been constructed to service what is now a luxury desert golf course and club. Alongside the golf course project has been the development and release of Greenview estate. It lies on the western border of Hannans. This ongoing project has been designed as an environmentally friendly estate, and will eventually consist of over 2000 homes, apartments and facilities such as parks and schools. As one of Kalgoorlie's highest growth areas there has been a proposal for a new alternative route, out of the suburb onto the Kalgoorlie Bypass, to avoid traffic problems on the already heavily used Graeme Street which is a direct route to the city centre. Other developments include 'Karkurla Rise' and 'Karkurla View' which have added an additional 400 homes to the area.

  • Kalgoorlie

The central business district. Hannan Street, named after Paddy Hannan, is Kalgoorlie's main street and stretches the length of the suburb. The western side of the suburb consists of housing and some light industry. The eastern side contains retail chains, banks, the police station, court house, restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions, schools, university, and a TAFE.

  • Lamington

One of Kalgoorlie's oldest suburbs. Much like other older suburbs, almost every street is parallel with Hannan Street in Central Kalgoorlie. Streets are noticeably wide. It houses North Kalgoorlie Primary School, small businesses, a medical practice, a hotel, tavern and a non-maintained 18-hole golf course.

  • Mullingar

Much smaller today than it originally was before the Super Pit expansion, Mullingar is located at the far east end of Lamington, between the northern Goldfields railway and Goldfields Highway.

  • O'Connor

Officially O'Connor is the south-east section of the suburb of Somerville. Much of the area is increasingly now known as O'Connor. It is home to a primary school (O'Connor Primary School), a private high school (Goldfields Baptist College), and shopping facilities. It also houses the city's only recreation centre.

A narrow suburb following Piccadilly street between Central Kalgoorlie and Lamington. It features the city's regional hospital, small businesses, a hotel, sporting arena and two grassed ovals.

  • Somerville

Somerville marks the end of Great Eastern Highway that stretches between Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Perth. Much of the area is now referred to locally as O'Connor. Somerville contains a residential area, schools, retail shops, light industry and some horse stables. In the past it also contained market gardens.

  • South Kalgoorlie

Stretching from Boundary Street, Kalgoorlie to Holmes Street, Golden Grove and bordering with Central Kalgoorlie, O'Connor and Golden Grove, South Kalgoorlie is mostly residential but also contains the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racecourse, schools, some light industrial and small businesses. The suburb was expanded in the mid-1990s to include a sub-division named "Sport of Kings" on Maxwell Street, using a surplus of land from the racecourse.

  • Victory Heights

A residential-only subdivision within Fairways estate along Burt Street.

  • West Kalgoorlie

Kalgoorlie's main industrial area, it is the first suburb as you approach Kalgoorlie on the Great Eastern Highway. It features the city's airport, as well as small, medium, and heavy industrial areas. Currently under expansion further west (ANZAC Drive Industrial Estate).

  • West Lamington

The western tip of Lamington was built in the 1980s. It includes one shop, sporting facilities and an arboretum nature reserve.

  • Williamstown

This small existing area features mostly housing with one small primary school. It is also home to the Mount Charlotte gold mine (past production of about 5,000,000 ounces of gold), the Cassidy Shaft and Nanny Goat Hill (Mt Gleddon). Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines, owner of the Super Pit to the south on the Golden Mile, from 2015 mined the Hidden Secret orebody, between 215 metres (705 ft) and 440 metres (1,440 ft) below the surface of Williamstown, using Mount Charlotte's Cassidy Shaft as access.[41][42]



The town is located on the main East-West rail corridor across Australia. The Transwa Prospector operates once to twice daily passenger train services from Kalgoorlie to Perth. The Indian Pacific train also stops here, operating weekly in each direction.


Town bus services are provided by TransGoldfields, there are three town routes as well as school services. Transwa also operates road coaches that service the town.


Commercial air services connect Kalgoorlie-Boulder with Melbourne and Perth, operating out of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport. Airlines that provide regular flights include Alliance Airlines, Qantas, QantasLink and Virgin Australia. There is a locally owned and operated charter company with a flight school, Goldfields Air Services.[43]


Kalgoorlie is linked to Perth by the Great Eastern Highway, and is also on the Goldfields Highway.



Radio Services available in Kalgoorlie:

  • ABC Goldfields-Esperance: 6GF 648 AM \ 94.3 FM (Part of the ABC Local Radio Network)
  • ABC Classic FM: 6ABCFM 95.5 FM;
  • ABC Radio National: 6ABCRN 97.1 FM
  • ABC Triple J: 6JJJ 93.5 FM \ 98.7 FM
  • ABC News: 6PNN 100.3 FM
  • Hit 97.9 (Commercial Station) 6KAR: 91.9 \ 97.9 FM – Contemporary hit radio format
  • Triple M (Commercial Station) 6KG: 981 AM \ 92.7 FM – Adult Contemporary / Classic Hits / Talk radio format
  • Vision Radio Network 1431 AM : Community Narrowcast Station – Christian praise, worship music and talk.
  • Tjuma Pulka (Media) Aboriginal Corporation : 96.3 FM (Aboriginal Community radio service)
  • 6TAB Racing Radio – 88FM (Live broadcasts of Horse Racing, Greyhound Racing and Harness Racing, with talkback and music played at other times).

Television Television services available include:

The programming schedule is mainly the same as the Seven, Nine and Ten stations in Perth with variations for news bulletins, sport telecasts such as the Australian Football League and National Rugby League, children's and lifestyle programs and infomercials or paid programming.

GWN7 maintains a newsroom in the city. The GWN7 bureau provides coverage of the surrounding area for the station's nightly 30-minute news program, GWN7 News, at 5:30pm on weeknights.

A Foxtel subscription television service is available via satellite.


The local newspaper for the Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Goldfields region is The Kalgoorlie Miner.

Newspapers from Perth, including The West Australian and The Sunday Times, are also available, as well as national newspapers such as The Australian and The Australian Financial Review.


There are 10 primary schools, four high schools and one university in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder area.

Primary schools

  • Boulder Primary School
  • East Kalgoorlie Primary School
  • Goldfields Baptist College (private)
  • Hannans Primary School
  • Kalgoorlie Primary School
  • Kalgoorlie School of the Air
  • North Kalgoorlie Primary School
  • O'Connor Primary School
  • O'Connor Education Support Centre
  • Saint Joseph's Primary School (private)
  • Saint Mary's Primary School (Kalgoorlie Catholic Primary School) (private)
  • South Kalgoorlie Primary School

High schools

  • Eastern Goldfields College (formerly the Eastern Goldfields Senior High School Senior Campus)
  • Eastern Goldfields Education Support Centre
  • John Paul College (formerly Prendiville College & Christian Bros. College (amalgamated)) (private)
  • Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community High School (formerly the Eastern Goldfields Senior High School Middle School Campus)
  • Goldfields Baptist College (Year K–10) (private)[44]


  • Curtin University of Technology – Kalgoorlie Campus (includes the Western Australian School of Mines and Curtin VTEC; formerly Kalgoorlie College)
  • University of Western Australia and University of Notre Dame Australia – Rural Clinical School of Western Australia

Notable people

Notable people from or who have lived in Kalgoorlie include:


See also

  • Auralia (proposed Australian state with its capital in Kalgoorlie)
  • Yilgarn Craton


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  • Casey, Gavin and Mayman, Ted.(1964) The Mile That Midas Touched Rigby, Adelaide..

Further reading

  • 100th anniversary of rail link (History of the Eastern Goldfields railway, officially completed on 1 January 1897, to the present, including introduction of the Prospector train on 29 November 1971) Kalgoorlie Miner 1 January 1997, p. 2
  • Early Railways in the Kalgoorlie Area, Shepley, W.H. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, November 1965

Kalgoorlie-Boulder travel guide from Wikivoyage

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