Article | Updated 4 years ago

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The story of the smiling camel.

It is not too much to say that next to the camel, the bicycle is one of the most important factors in the development of the goldfields, and as it eats nothing, and never bucks or shies, its value as a locomotive medium is incalculably enhanced.

Coolgardie Miner, 20 August 1895

From that day [the opening of the Eastern Goldfields railway] all things were changed: all the colony was bound together by hooks of steel.

Sir John Forrest - Kalgoorlie Western Argus, 26 March 1896

Bicycle, horse and buggy and camel were the early means of transportation in and around the goldfields until the advent of the car in the twentieth century. The development of the region was boosted by the provision of transport infrastructure. The completion of the Eastern Goldfields Railway from Perth to Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie in 1896 sealed the dominance of Kalgoorlie as the administrative centre of the goldfields.

From 1897 the Loopline became the main passenger transport to the mines and the busiest railway line in Western Australia. It was an immediate success carrying 9,000 passengers per week at the end of the first month. Sixty-one trains ran each day to 19 stations along an eventual 18km of track.

By 1905 tramways were operating in Kalgoorlie and Boulder. The much demanded link with the Eastern States had to wait until 22 October 1917 when the first train left Port Augusta with an official party on board for Kalgoorlie. 

The region is now well served by an extensive network of bus, rail and air services linking Perth, eastern Australia and Esperance.