Marble Bar

Experience : Marble Bar

When we left Port Hedland, we decided to take a detour to Marble Bar on our way to Broome.  After driving way past sunset, we arrived at Des Streckfuss Rest Area, and stayed the night.  First thing in the morning, we got back on the road and arrived in town just after 7am.

 

Marble Bar is an isolated pioneer town that was established during the Pilbara gold rush days of the late 1880s.  When gold was found in 1891, the settlement grew and two years later, Marble Bar was declared a town.  Marble Bar is also known as the hottest town in Australia because during the summer of 1923-24, the temperature did not drop below 37.8 degrees (100 degrees Fahrenheit) for 161 consecutive days.

 

In town, there is a caravan park, government houses, and the Ironclad Hotel, which was named by American miners after the ironclad boats that used to travel up and down the Mississippi River during the Civil War.

 

Marble Bar Pool

The huge deposit of colourful rock alongside the Coongan River is what gave the town its name.  It was initially believed to be marble, but was later found to be jasper.  If you splash some water on it, you can see its true colours.

 

 

Chinaman Pool

A little further down the Coongan River is Chinaman Pool, a nice place for a dip and to watch the rich bird life.  There were cranes, cormorants, soaring eagles, rainbow bee eaters and noisy corellas!  Each time they did a circuit of the area, more corellas would come until there was a flock of hundreds – the noise was tremendous!

 

 

There is a great grassed area that’s perfect for kicking a footy around with your mates, and while there is a sheltered picnic bench, a BBQ and toilet facilities would make the area ideal for a day out with family and friends.

 

 

The road back to the highway crossed the De Grey River.  When we arrived at the banks, we were surprised to see the river flowing and were excited about our first river crossing.  Juz noticed the sound of budgies and saw the cute little green birds fluttering amongst the trees.

 

 

The Man from Marble Bar by Victor Courtney

Satan sat by the fires of Hell

As from endless time he’d sat,

And he sniffed great draughts of brimstone’s smell

That came as the tongue-flame spat;

 

Then all at once the devil looked stern

For there in the depths of Hell

Was a fellow whom never a flame could burn

Or goad to an anguished yell;

 

So Satan stalked to the lonely scene

And growled with a stormy brow,

‘Now stranger, tell me what does this mean?

You should be well scorched by now.’

 

But the chappie replied with a laugh quite new;

‘This place is too cold by far

Just chuck on an extra log or two

I’ve come from Marble Bar’

 

The famous Superpit

City Profile : Kalgoorlie-Boulder

The city with a heart of gold – literally – Kalgoorlie-Boulder is the home of the Golden Mile, the richest square mile of gold-bearing earth in the world.  These days, the Golden Mile is called the Super Pit, a huge hole in the ground that goes 500m deep, and mining remains as the lifeblood of the community.

 

The city is the site of Paddy Hannan’s first gold find and the main street in Kalgoorlie is named after him.  Hannan Street hasn’t changed much since its construction and there is a statue of Paddy outside the Visitor Centre, offering water from a bubbler.

 

 

The discovery of gold at Coolgardie in 1892 and Kalgoorlie in 1893 revived Western Australia’s economy, which had been stagnant for over 60 years.  With the hope of finding their fortune, men arrived in the thousands to work in the goldfields, including many single blokes… with needs.  At one point, there was about 25 brothels on the Red Light district on Hay Street.  There is only one brothel left in town, and it offers tours (of what, we didn’t want to find out).

 

These days, Kalgoorlie-Boulder is home to 30,000 people and is a vibrant and dynamic city with big supermarkets and major clothing brands.  There are several fast food outlets, cafes and restaurants, hairdressers, churches, a huge recreation complex, and even an airport.  St Mary’s Church, also known as Kalgoorlie’s Church of Gold, is a heritage listed federation-gothic style church that was built in 1902.  Despite the plain exterior, it was beautiful inside with the stained windows and wooden ceiling, and it is rumoured to contain real gold.

 

The city is surrounded by red dust and is full of beautiful buildings, miners and travellers.  A large percentage of the pubs in town are Skimpy Bars, where the girls behind the bar are ‘dressed’ in lacy lingerie or bikinis. It is also an RV Friendly city and offers 24 hour parking at Centennial Park.

 

Boulder isn’t as commercial as Kalgoorlie.  We went to check out the Little Boulder Sweet Shop but ended up finding something much more special right next door – the South African Gourmet Deli, complete with a little imported supermarket and a display case full of jerky, biltong and drywors.  We purchased three pieces of drywors because they were so delicious, salty and spiced. YUM!

 

PLACES OF INTEREST

Super Pit

We were really excited to see this great big hole in the ground so we drove up to the KCGM SUPERPIT Lookout and witnessed a mind-blowing sight.  We looked down into Australia’s largest open cut gold mine – a hole 500m deep, 3.8km long and 1.5km wide, resulting from 120 years of digging and spits out $70,000 of gold every hour.

 

 

Amazeballs…

 

Mt Charlotte Lookout

Mt Charlotte Lookout gives a great view Kalgoorlie-Boulder but is also home to the reservoir that supplies water to the city.  There are information boards with the history of the C.Y. O’Connor water pipeline that carries water from a weir near Perth through a 500km steel pipeline to Mt Charlotte.  The reservoir was built in 1903 and is the longest potable water steel pipeline in the world.

 

Beaten Track Brewery

A great little brewery that relies on word-of-mouth for visitors and sales, the owner is more than happy to give you a guided tasting.  Check out our post on the Beaten Track Brewery.

 

Kalgoorlie Arboretum

Talk a leisurely stroll through the Aboretum and learn about native Australian trees.  The walking trails are dotted with plaques that provide information on the nearby flora and help you identify their unique features.  The park contains around 50 different species of Eucalypt trees – each a little different and special in their own way.

 

 

Hammond Park

We accidentally found this park while looking for a BBQ to cook our fish.  Inside the gates was a wonderland of miniature Bavarian castles made from local rocks and gems, ornate gazebos and avaries filled with native and exotic birds.  There was plenty of open grassed areas for running around, as well as picnic tables, a playground and electric BBQs.  A great place to stop for lunch.

 

TO THE SOUTH

Coolgardie

Located 38km south of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Coolgardie is considered to be the mother of the Goldfields.  As the site of the first settlement of the Goldfields, many of the buildings on the main street display the history and heritage of the town and Ben Prior’s Park is an open air museum with old machinery and statues that provide insight into the history of the town.  Definitely worth a stop to look around.

 

 

Cave Hill & Burra Rock

These granite conservation reserves are great places to camp, with plenty of walking trails, sightseeing and 4WDing.  Facilities include picnic tables, toilets and information shelters.

 

Check out our post on camping at Cave Hill.

 

Lake Douglas Recreation Reserve

After spending two days in Kalgoorlie Boulder, we slipped out of town and stayed the night at Lake Douglas.  The camping area was huge, with lots of bins and concrete picnic tables and nearby drop toilets.  At night, you can see the light from Kalgoorlie-Boulder but make sure you bring some insect repellent because the mosquitoes are hungry.

 

 

INFORMATION & ACCOMMODATION

Kalgoorlie Boulder Pure Gold Visitor Centre – cnr Hannan & Wilson Streets, 08 9021 1966

 

If you have a self-contained unit and you only plan to stay overnight, there is free 24-hour parking at Centennial Park.  Kalgoorlie Boulder prides itself in being an RV Friendly town so camping is free with no permits required.  However, the area is patrolled by rangers so keep your area clean and keep to the limit of 24 hours.  You can come back if you want to, provided that you spend one or more nights elsewhere.

 

Golddust Backpackers YHA – 192 Hay Street, 08 9091 3737