The Rush for Gold

Article | Updated 9 months ago

Gold Fever

The gold rushes of the 1890s were to change the face and the fortunes of Western Australia. Until that time, the State's tiny European population struggled to survive.

Gold was first discovered in the Kimberley in 1885, but this venture was short lived. A find at Southern Cross in 1888 caused further excitement. This small town boomed for a few years but was in a depressed state by September 1892 when Arthur Bayley and William Ford announced the first big discovery of gold at Coolgardie.

Nine months later, in June 1893, this rich discovery was eclipsed by news of the find by Paddy Hannan and Tom Flanagan, who had struck gold further to the east, at Mount Charlotte. The rush to the ‘fields then began in earnest.

The word ‘gold’ seems to ring in one’s ears all day at Hannans, for every part of the district, even to the very ground the houses are built upon, appears to be teeming with the precious metal.

Julius Price, 1896


Monochrome image of Paddy Hannan, on left

Monochrome image of Paddy Hannan, on left
Image copyright WA Museum