Goldfields Identities

Article | Updated 3 years ago

Courtesy State Library of Western Australia 00935D
Dr Charles Laver, c.1890

The contribution of many has made the goldfields the place it is today. Be they prospectors, politicians, painters or prostitutes, all have contributed to make the goldfields special.

Case Study: Charles Laver, 1863-1937

He said they [Aboriginal people] taught him a lot . . . He said he learnt a lot from them . . . They respected him, they called him Mr The Doctor, and he respected them.

Sheila Laver, daughter, 1995

Charles William Laver was born in Castlemaine Victoria in 1863. He became a drover in the north of Western Australia in the 1880s, taking up a pastoral lease near Hall’s Creek. He returned to Melbourne to study medicine from 1887 to 1891 and then studied further overseas.

Lured by gold he gave up his Melbourne medical practice in 1894 to return to Western Australia for the life of a prospector.

Laver travelled over 400km by bicycle to the Mount Margaret area where he began a long association with the British Flag mine and the surrounding area. In 1900 the town of Laverton was named in his honour.

Laver had moderate success with mining and other ventures. In 1902 he travelled to England to gather support for his mining activities, and there met and married Edith Attewell in 1904.

They returned to Laverton where Laver became medical officer. He was to have a similar medical role in Kanowna, Menzies and Kalgoorlie. ‘Mr the Doctor’ was well respected all over the goldfields. He was well known for his medical ability, his kindness and his ready assistance to all in need.

He wore a serge suit, cravat and straw decker  . . . They thought it was the parson coming through.

Sheila Laver, 1995

Dr Charles Laver, c.1890

Dr Charles Laver, c.1890
Image courtesy State Library of Western Australia 00935D