Kalgoorlie-Boulder celebrates 125th anniversary of gold discovery

Western Australian gold hub Kalgoorlie-Boulder yesterday marked the 125th anniversary of its first gold discovery by Irish trio Paddy Hannan, Thomas Flanagan and Daniel Shea by kicking off a weekend of activities and events.

This morning, an organised visit to Hannan’s Reward Claim (the site where the gold was first found) was conducted by the Eastern Goldfields Historical Society, while the Gold 125 Conference, which focuses on mining heritage, will take place today and tomorrow at Hannans Club.

The conference takes a look at “the role of mining heritage in regional revitalisation and tourism, policy and regulation including famous miner’s rights, innovations in technology and infrastructure, Indigenous cultures and education” according to its listing on the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder website. The event also coincides with the 125th anniversary of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) and the 115th anniversary of the Kalgoorlie School of Mines.

A historical gala ball will take place tonight (with the option for attendees to wear gold rush-era costumes), followed by a celebratory football friendly between Goldfields Football League and WA State Country Football League tomorrow, and finally a Mayoral Cup Day at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racing Club on June 17.

Paddy Hannan is credited with discovering the first gold in Kalgoorlie. His finding spurred the greatest gold rush in Australia’s history in the late 1800s.

In June 1893, Hannan, along with fellow prospectors Thomas Flanagan and Dan O’Shea, found gold near the surface of the dry red soil in Mt Charlotte. In secret, each man gained the equivalent of several years’ wages within the space of a week. 

Hannan biographer Tess Thompson said, “Whenever there was word of gold, Paddy was there most of the time.”

City mayor John Bowler said he was extremely proud of the city’s rich history.

“From honouring our traditional land owners to celebrating the pioneers that created our City – the opportunities to make our forefathers proud is endless,” he said.

“Whether you are a local or visitor, I encourage you all to take advantage of the wonderful events, hosted by the City and other local organisations, and join in to commemorate the 125th year since the discovery of gold in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.”

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