The Shire of Yilgarn
The Mount Palmer goldmine operated from 1934 to 1944 and was not only genuine but a very rich strike.
It all began in late 1934 when Augustus Palmer, a prospector of many years experience, embarked on another prospecting expedition south of Yellowdine with his horse and cart. He was lucky with his searching & lease application, work commenced erecting of a 20 head battery during 1935 with 130 men employed by 1937.
Hessian, tin & canvas buildings were springing up like mushrooms and the area was a hive of activity. Some 43 blocks were auctioned from the Southern Cross courthouse, raising £3,969 for land that was worthless a few months earlier, and destined to be worthless again when the gold ran out.
Another 24 blocks were auctioned after the surveyors reserved areas for a post office, police, public hall and churches. The town boasted boarding houses, bakeries, butchers, a school and a medicine shop. As well there were three billiard saloons where two-up, dice and SP betting was conducted.
At its height the population of Mount Palmer was estimated at 500. The war took many young workers away and the mine struggled to cope with the labour shortage. By the end of 1942 the number of men employed at the mine had declined to 60. By the end of 1943 Mount Palmer was almost a ghost town. In June 1944, after a run of nine years, the Mount Palmer mine ceased operations. By this stage the main shaft was down to 500 feet.
Officially the mine produced 4,928 kilograms of gold from 310,728 tons of stone. Unofficially the figure was much higher.
All that remains of “The most pretentious Two storey hotel” built in Goldfields at the time is the brick archway. The hotel was famous for its very long bar and two stories. The bricks were eventually carted to Kalgoorlie and built into the 1st chain store in the field. The building is now the Bankwest Bank in Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie.
Concrete foundations of the mine buildings, treatment plants, cyanide tanks, water cooling dams, the open cut and tailing dumps are still visible today. Travel west past the hotel arch and you come across a lone grave and head stone. The area is also noted for the magnificent display of our Shire’s floral emblem, the Flame Grevillea, Excelsior, which grows profusely on all sand plain country.
As the gold ran out, the people moved on, wilderness takes over, dotted with remains of times gone by. Take a walk through the area and you can spot the old streets and remains of buildings. Visit the old mine site.