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Australia: Kalgoorlie

Wave Rock
It doesn't take a genius to work out how Wave Rock got its name...

Before arriving in Perth, I'd fired off an email to the city's Acorn dealer and said it would be nice to meet up, and much to my surprise he invited me round for a chat. Wouldn't you know, my visit coincided with the girl on technical support going on holiday, so when we met up and I mentioned in passing that I was looking for a job, it suddenly turned a job interview. Much to my delight, I got offered three weeks' employment, starting in a couple of weeks' time; it would end up turning into five weeks of very satisfying work, charging up my coffers with impeccable timing.

Dreaming Sites

Aboriginal handprints in Mulka's Cave
Aboriginal handprints can be seen all over the walls of Mulka's Cave

The next morning I set off up a dirt road towards Southern Cross, which is about 200km west of Kalgoorlie, and on the way I visited a place called Mulka's Cave, home to some Aboriginal cave paintings. It strikes me that I've not said much about Aboriginal culture so far, so I'd better explain how the Aboriginal myths hang together.

A sign saying 'Koolyanobbing'
A genuine but totally bizarre place name near Southern Cross


The gold mines of Kalgoorlie
The gold mines of Kalgoorlie

Kalgoorlie is really stranded. Gold was discovered there towards the end of the last century by these wandering travellers looking for grazing land, and the place went ballistic, with crowds of people heading for the desert with gold in their eyes. The only problem? There's precious little water out here, and plenty of them died, or had such terrible living standards that survival was a serious challenge.

Back to Perth

The British Arms in Kalgoorlie
The British Arms in Kalgoorlie is the thinnest pub in the whole of Oz

Thursday came along and I decided to head back towards Perth, so I drove south to Kambalda, another mining town, to see the salt lake there, Lake Lefroy. Imagine being on top of a hill, with a searing blue sky above, a dull, reddish desert all around, and this huge, flat, white lake surrounding most of the hill; it was quite a sight in the hot sunshine.