Coolgardie Goldfields Exhibition & Visitors Centre

The Coolgardie Goldfields Exhibition and Visitors Centre are both housed in the former Warden’s Court building on Bayley St.

The Goldfields Exhibition is an extensive display of objects and images relating to the history of Coolgardie, particularly the gold mining boom of the 1890s.

The exhibits extend over two floors and more than a dozen rooms, and feature hand-made tools and furniture from the early gold mining days, such as the Coolgardie Safe, tin water bottles and seats made from kerosene tins.

Other significant material on display is clothing and memorabilia from Afghan camel herders, indigenous artifacts, a large diorama of the town in its heyday, rocks, mining equipment such as the local dryblowers and much more.

Among the displays are rooms which are dedicated to the important role of nurses during the typhoid epidemic of the 1890s.

Also highlighted are the living conditions of the miners and their ‘make-do’ equipment, which are in stark contrast to the displays of the more affluent kitchens and bedrooms of established residences in the area.

The courtroom features one of Australia’s largest bottle collections, the Waghorn collection, displayed in upright showcases, dramatically backlit and artistically arranged according to colour and shape.

The exhibition is situated in the Warden’s Court, the stately old courthouse building used by the goldfields mining warden, a building designed by George Poole Temple and constructed in 1898 form local pink stone.

The collection was amassed by the community in the late 1960s and has changed the little since the displays were put together by the late Scott Properjohn.

Today, it is owned by the community and managed by the Shire of Coolgardie.

Opposite the Warden’s Court you can find Ben Prior’s Park.

Ben Prior’s Park is an eclectic array of mining and agricultural equipment, horse and camel drawn vehicles, and miscellany such as a water tank and old business signs.

The collection is arranged in an open-air park which features large gum and Chinese pepper trees, and has a picnic bench and table.

Quirky statues of locally important identities, such as Tommy Windich, Ernest Giles and Warden Finnerty line the picket fence facing Bayley Street, the main street of Coolgardie.

The collection was amassed by local garage owner, the late Ben Prior, who found most of the objects while prospecting for gold in the area.

The Shire of Coolgardie purchased the park and collection for the community in the late 1980s.

The Visitors Centre and Exhibition is open 8.30pm-4pm Monday to Friday and 10am-3pm Saturday and Sunday.

Address Warden’s Court, Bayley Street Coolgardie
Phone

9026 6090

Email visitors.centre@coolgardie.wa.gov.au
Prices Adults $4.00

Seniors: $2.00

Child: $2.00

Other attractions in Coolgardie include:

  • Coolgardie Museum
  • Warden Finnerty’s Residence
  • Ben Prior Park
  • Coolgardie Cemetery
  • Lion’s Lookout
  • The Gorge
  • Lindsay’s Pit
  • Historic Markers (Boom to Bust Audio Trail and app)