I aint sayin i'm a gold-digger

Trip Start Feb 15, 2006
Trip End Aug 29, 2006

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Flag of Australia  ,
Wednesday, April 12, 2006

While down south had been fun, I came back still feeling as though I hadnt seen the "real" australia...for much of the time I'd felt like we could have been driving through England or Wales and to be honest I half expected Robin Hood to come bounding out of the trees at any moment! It was with this in mind that Mort had set about planning a trip east to Kalgoorlie, promising to show us the "wide open spaces" and a couple of other things inbetween.

To get from Perth to Kalgoorlie takes about 7hrs driving. If you take a look at a map of Australia and see the aparently miniture distance between the two you will begin to comprehend the sheer size of this country.
Mort had us up early: very early. I hadnt seen what 5am looked or felt like since my old paper-round job and I cant say i've missed it much! Everyone was pretty knakerd as we left and we all spent most of the morning attempting to find comfortable positions to sleep in the car...Around breakfast time we stopped off at wave rock...the name pretty much speaks for itself:

Having filled both the car and ourselves up with fuel, we head off on the road again. We travelled through the rabbit fence, which is generaly considered to be the divide between civilisation and the outback - or as Mort called it, "...a whole load of nothing!".

If you look on the road maps of Western Australia, you see every other town is either "abandoned" or "ruins". Mort calls these "ghost towns" and its basicaly where the whole population has up and left. It happend for a number of reasons: the introduction of modern farming techniques made the work of hundreds of men the work of one man, so entire communities on the wheat belt here were forced to find work in Perth; also, many of these towns were initially built after a gold find centuries ago...when the gold ran out, there was no point in having a town there anymore so people left.
This is the undoubtable future of Kalgoorlie. One of the richest gold mines in WA resides over the town. So much gold is mined here that they have what is called a "Superpit", a giant gash in the landscape that is incredible and has made me even keener to see the Grand Canyon in USA. What is even more staggering is the fact that this is man made...it seemed incredible that we had the ability and desire to manipulate the landscape in such a way.

The trucks you see in the pic are around four times the size of cars...just to give you an idea of scale...

We only stayed here for one night. The next day Mort took the skint Jack to see another ghost town, while cox and I went to Number 1 Shaft...the first mine to be sunk in Kalgoorlie all those years ago when three Irish prospectors - Paddy Hannan, Dan Shea and Tom Flanagan - found 8 pounds of gold nuggets on the surface of the desert...To give you an idea of the extent of this find, one ounce of gold today sells for 860 dollars, which is about 400 quid! Consider the fact that an ounce is only this big...

...and you can understand why literaly over night the town was built by prospectors arriving from all over the world, and they've been extracting ever since.

We panned for gold outside...

...went down the mine to the first of ten levels...

i dont know if you can see the white dot, but this is a shot down the crack beside the lift...the dot is water which flooded 10 shafts below.

...and finaly watched a gold bar being poured.

Was interesting to watch, and i left with a greater desire to be wealthy than when i came...actualy considered forgetting uni and trying to find another goldmine of my own in the outback. Odds are there is one out there, just no-one's found it yet... :P
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