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The WA Goldfields: a walk down memory lane

At Goldfields Security Services, we’re proud to call Kalgoorlie home.



With strong family ties to the town, it made sense for us to base our security business in the region and have the Goldfields at the heart of our brand and who we service.


So today, for something different, we’d like to step back in time and take a journey down memory lane as we pay homage to the milestone moments of our rich Goldfields’ history.


Key milestones


Where to begin? Well as its name suggests, the Goldfields region has its roots in gold, with the first discovery of the precious metal in 1892 by Arthur Bayley and William Ford, in an area which we now know as Coolgardie.


The gold rush began in earnest when Patrick “Paddy” Hannan, Tom Flanagan and Dan Shea found a second deposit in Kalgoorlie in June 1893, which ultimately led to the discovery of the 'Golden Mile' - home to an impressive 49 mines by 1903!


And it wasn't long before gold prospectors from around the globe caught wind of the buzz, flocking to the area to try their luck in pursuit of gold, including a young mining engineer who would later become a US President, Herbert Hoover.


While we certainly can’t claim to have been around during this time, from the stories we’ve heard, we gather the goldrush would have been an experience, with an unspoken energy and exhilaration in the air.


One of our favourite facts these early days is the roads in Kalgoorlie were actually paved with tellurides - containing gold and tellurium- a mistake which was quickly rectified as the town caught on to the valuable material that lay on their street. If only they had our security services back in the day to assess and mitigate risk!


But the discoveries didn't end there. In 1903, the visionary C.Y. O'Connor engineered the Goldfields pipeline, which brought a steady water supply to the region and laid the groundwork for industrial-scale irrigation, prompting further developments in mining, agriculture, and social infrastructure.


Then in the 1930s, the unearthing of the largest golden nugget in Australia (at the time), the 'Golden Eagle' in Coolgardie, generated renewed interest in the area.


Fast forward 30 years, nickel was found at Leinster and Mount Windarra in the 1960s and 1970s, near Laverton and Kambalda.


And in the late 1980s the big news that changed the region’s trajectory for good: businessman Alan Bond’s acquisition of bulk mining leases along the Golden Mile.


Mr Bond’s grand vision was to amalgamate the mining leases to create one giant operation, what we now know as the Kalgoorlie Super Pit.


And although Bond had to pull out of the deal in the eleventh hour, the project went ahead under joint venture partners Normandy Australia and Homestake Gold of Australia Limited, injecting jobs and massive economic growth into the region, strengthening the Goldfield’s position as a national mining hub to watch.


Over the years, there have been various ownership changes at the mine, and the mammoth operation now sits in the hands of sole owner Northern Star Resources,


with some exciting developments in the mix including the ‘Fimiston South Project’ which will extend life of mine out to 2034. Great news for local jobs and economic output for our region.


A strong economic output


While we’re on the topic of economic output, it's no surprise our mining industry makes the greatest contribution, with a staggering $22.2 billion, employing 39.19% of the region's workforce.


To put this into perspective, our sprawling 955,276 km² region of red dirt, encompasses 10 local government areas, home to more than 57,000 people and a total annual economic output of $32.758 billion, 67.77% of which comes from mining.


In February 2023, the Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission released its Strategic Plan 2022-2024 which shared some interesting insights signalling a positive growth curve.


“We are experiencing another wave of economic activity with the potential to further transform the region in both population and economic importance,” GEDC chief executive Kris Starcevich said.


“This economic activity must be well managed with enabling policies, services and infrastructure, and a focus on local jobs, capacity building and diversification of industries and the regional economy.”


As a local employer and company that directly services our Goldfields mining industry, this is welcomed news, and we’re ready to assist local businesses from all industries with their security needs.


Our place in the Goldfields story


Since the early days of the goldrush, security has been a big-ticket issue.


We’ve spoken about this before: miners would smuggle gold from mines and there was a real necessity for security services – and still is to this day.


“Gold stealing was rife on the Kalgoorlie goldfields almost from the day the first prospector arrived there,” WA Police state on their website.


“The crisis escalated, to the point a Royal Commission was set up in 1906. The result was the formation of a Gold Stealing Squad in 1907 – police who would be funded by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy for the specific purpose of tracking down gold thieves, traffickers and illegal smugglers.”


A Gold Stealing Detection Unit (GDSU) is also still around that investigates theft in the industry.


However, as a security company that prioritises a proactive approach to safety and security, we offer mining companies in the Goldfields region access to local experienced security staff that can provide risk assessments for your site, physical guards – either static or mobile – drone patrols, and much more.


All our staff live and work within the Goldfields, providing superior security services to our clients in the mining industry and beyond. We understand the challenges, and issues of our area, risks, and are here to protect our client’s businesses, assets and people.


Are you looking to work with a local Goldfields security provider to protect your business? We’d love to hear from you. Call us on 0404 449 326 or email info@goldfieldssecurityservices.com.au.

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