Having lived in Leonora for a few years, I’m very familiar with the old Gwalia historical site. It is located 233 kms north of Kalgoorlie and around 828 kms east of Perth on the edge of Western Australia’s Great Victoria Desert. If you are heading east along the Great Central Highway to Northern Territory it is worth a visit.
The gold mine was first discovered in 1896, and Bewick Moreing & Company an English firm, sent the 23-year-old mining engineer Herbert Hoover to inspect the Sons of Gwalia mine. Herbert saw its potential and on 17 November 1897 Bewick Moreing purchased the mine. Herbert Hoover of course went on to be the 31st President of United States. The mine has had a checkered career, going through a number of bust and boom cycles.
Nevertheless, and during the period 1897-1963 the mine produced 2.644 million ounces (82.24 tonnes) of gold down to a depth of 1,080 metres (3,543 ft) using an incline shaft. The Sons of Gwalia grew to become the largest Western Australian gold mine outside Kalgoorlie, and the deepest of its kind in Australia. The 2.644 million ounces recovered (1897–1963) amounts in value to somewhere in the vicinity of US$4.34 billion or AU$4.55 billion, at August 2012 prices.
The Gwalia historical collection represents mining activities over the years at the Sons of Gwalia Mine (1896-1963), plus the commercial and domestic life in Gwalia and Leonora itself, and pastoralism in the surrounding area since 1896. The collection is made up of existing buildings and structures from the Mine and Gwalia town as well as objects (including documents, books, textiles, photographs, artwork, machinery, equipment and furniture) connecting people to buildings and structures. You can easily spend a couple of hours wandering through the corrugated iron shanties, looking at old household items and the way life was back then. For the more fanatic historians you can occupy a full day.
The historical township maintains a dedicated web site which can be viewed here.