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V

It was some years after the reported discovery of gold at Coolgardie that civilisation in the true sense reached the goldfields. Its arrival was hastened by two events of much importance that changed considerably the character of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. One was the completion of the railway to these centres in 1896 and its extension later to other parts of the goldfields. The second event was the completion a few years later, in 1903, of the project which conveys a river of fresh water


  ― 155 ―
to the goldfields in a pipe two feet six inches in diameter a distance of over 350 miles. The maximum delivery capacity of the conduit is 5,000,000 gallons. Furthermore, as the goldfields are some 1,300 feet above the level of the Mundaring Reservoir, the source of the supply, the water has to be raised, and this is done by pumping stations along the pipe-line. It takes approximately four weeks for the water to travel from Mundaring to Kalgoorlie.

Goldfields towns soon began to assume a changed appearance. Streets were formed and lighted with electricity. Rows of trees were planted on each side for shade and ornamentation. Public gardens and swimming baths were established, also excellently appointed racecourses, a polo ground, tennis courts, bowling greens and golf links. Population increased. Five or six morning and evening goldfields newspapers and several weeklies were published. Comfortable private residences were erected and many social clubs formed. Civilisation had indeed arrived. But as the goldfields settled down to work and steady gold production, they lost much of their early glamour.

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