Known as the town of, ‘Golden prospects’, Meekatharra shouldn’t be overlooked when travelling inland Western Australia! Once flourishing gold prospecting town, Meekatharra is now a mining, sheep and cattle juggernaut that contains some important pieces of Western Australia’s history.
Meekatharra’s gold mining roots began over a 150 years ago in 1854 when Robert Austin discovered gold in the area. However, the news of gold being found wasn’t publicly released after reporting the find to the police. It was only when gold was discovered again in the early 1890’s that the attention was turned to this isolated area and settlement occurred. Gold was mined extensively throughout the late 19th century at Nannine Station, Annean Station and Garden Gully. Following the success of the gold discoveries the first settlement occurred in 1894 with the town of ‘Meekatharra’ officially being gazzeted in 1903. Meekatharra got its name from the local Yamatji language, meaning, ‘Place of little water’.
Throughout the 20th century, much development occurred in Meekatharra with a runway, railway and bank being constructed. In 1982, Meekatharra became the first Australian town to be powered by solar energy, due to the construction of the solar-diesel power station. Today gold is still being mined throughout Meekatharra, although nowhere near the large scale that was seen in the gold-rush era.
The Meekatharra Rangelands Discovery Trail is an easy 3km walk that takes you along the banks of the Meekatharra Creek, giving you an insight into the history of Meekatharra and local Aboriginal culture. Starting behind the Tourist Bay, you’ll be able to follow the 17 interpretive panels along the walk, each providing interesting information about the flora, fauna and history of the area. If you’re looking for stunning views over the Meekatharra rangelands, then the Meekatharra Lookout Trail is the one for you! The lookout at the end of this 900 meter trail, which can be walked or driven, is also a perfect place for a picnic, overlooking this isolated town.
If you’re heading to Meekatharra, then an experience with the mines is a must! The Meekatharra Mining Superpit is one of Meekatharra’s operating open cut mines, estimated to produce 120 000 ounces of gold and 1.5 million tonnes of ore per year! If this isn’t impressive enough, it’s also planned to be over 5kms long and 1km wide!
Many of the original mines from the first gold rush in the early 1890’s have been closed down and abandoned now, however they provide a fascinating piece of history when exploring them. Nannine, Garden Gully, Abbots, Peak Hill and Horseshoe are all ghost towns within Meekatharra, relics of the past, each providing its own individual, unique story!
Distance from Perth: 771kms North to Northeast
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