New Museum curator Lucy Harper shares her thoughts about WA's Goldfields
Lucy Harper is a curator with the New Museum Project team. As part of her research into the extraordinary stories from around our State, Lucy traveled to Kalgoorlie and the Goldfields to meet the local residents and survey the landscape.
Here's her account of a unique part of our State.
"While I’ve lived in WA for about eight years now, and have swam with the whale sharks, cycled through the Wheatbelt, visited the remote Eyre Bird Observatory on the Great Australian Bite and hiked the Cape to Cape, I had never been to Kalgoorlie or the Goldfields.
That was until recently when I had the chance to visit the region and meet with staff from the Goldfields Tourism Network Association.
Within this one patch of WA is a fabulous opportunity to experience the incredible diversity of people and places from our State.
I walked amongst Antony Gormley’s 51 steel sculptures positioned across the vast expanse of Lake Ballard, was welcomed to Moropoi Station and listened to stories of the past, and the continuing cultural heritage, of the Wangkatha people. I was fortunate to explore the ancient rock formations at The Terraces and sat by the fire under the stars at Wiluna - the beginning (or end) of the 1,800km Canning Stock Route.
Being woken before light by the sounds of FIFO workers heading to the mines was part of the constant reminder of the long and continuing mining history of the region, which was soon followed by a visit to Hoover House and the ghost town of Gwalia.
It is not hard to imagine the once large population of Italian miners moving between town and mine site and singing around the crumbling piano that now sits, silent on an old cottage porch.
And of course, there was a trip to the Super Pit. I think it actually took my breath away with its sheer enormity and exploitation of resources and surprisingly, and certainly at odds with how I thought I would react, for its beauty. The changing light and diversity of colours, with the synchronised movement of the haul trucks (enormous in size but made tiny by distance) made you look beyond the activity.
My team and I facilitated community workshops with local residents in Kalgoorlie and Gwalia as part of our content development for the New Museum and in these meetings were heard stories of life in the town, the incredible biodiversity of plants and animals from the area and about life in this beautiful, vibrant and complex region.
Our team has a remit to meet with people from around the State, to hear and identify stories that may appear in the New Museum and I was humbled and delighted to travel to the Goldfields and meet groups of Western Australians and experience this amazing landscape.