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HISTORY OF GWALIA MINE
•Started by Thomas Tobias a Coolgardie Storekeeper in 1896
•Lease transferred to G W Hall in 1897 and Sons of Gwalia was born
•Started with a 10 head stamp battery and 110 men
•Miners had to provide their own accommodation and the area was
soon sprinkled with corrugated iron and hession cottages.
•Seeking additional capital Hall started negotiations with London firm
Bewick Moreing who sent out 23 year old Herbert Hoover to inspect
•Hoover recognised the potential of the mine and recommended that
Bewick Moreing buy it.
•In 1898 Sons of Gwalia was launched on the London stock exchange
with Bewick Moreing having the controlling interest , Herbert Hoover
•An amazing young man. General manager of Gwalia
mine development at age 24 years
•Introduced new work practises at Gwalia. Shift
changes at the face. No overtime on weekends.
Employed Italian miners
•Became a partner in Bewick Moreing at age 27 years.
•Elected 31st President of the USA in 1929. Served only
SOUTHERN EUROPEAN MINERS
Employed by Herbert Hoover at the
Sons of Gwalia mine. Hoover said
they worked harder for less money
and conditions of employment were
HOOVER RECRUITS SOUTHERN EUROPEAN MINERS
Hoover recruited a number of Italian
workers whom he regarded as his allies
against the unions: "I have a bunch of
Italians coming up ... and will put them in
the mine on contract work. If they are
satisfactory I will secure enough of them to
hold the property in case of a general strike
and ... will reduce wages." By the early
1900s and up to the closure of Sons of
Gwalia Mine in 1963, a large proportion of
GWALIA – NEVER GAZETTED AS A TOWN
•State Govt said it was too close to Leonora –
•Electric tram ran between Leonora and Gwalia
•Gwalia continued throughout it’s life as a shanty
town although the state govt built a state hotel
•Not so for Herbert Hoover who oversaw the
construction of a magnificent mine managers
residence, still there, fully restored.
KALGOORLIE BETWEEN THE WARS: A MINE OF RACISM?
The 1916 campaign against ‘enemy subjects’
In December 1916, inflammatory reports in the Kalgoorlie
press blamed the King of Greece for the deaths of British
and French soldiers at the hands of Greek troops. In
revenge, some Kalgoorlie residents, led by returned
soldiers, damaged and looted more than twenty Greek- run
KALGOORLIE BETWEEN THE WARS: A MINE OF RACISM?
The 1919 Kalgoorlie race riots
In 1919, there was a considerable level of street violence in Australia, as
soldiers expressed their dissatisfaction regarding the political and
they found at home. Migrant workers who were deemed to be taking
jobs particularly angered them. In one such incident in Kalgoorlie, a 22 year
old returned soldier, Thomas Northwood, was fatally stabbed in an
altercation with an Italian man.
A bell-ringer was sent through the streets to summon a general roll-up of
Soldiers. Although Northwood and his companions had instigated the
returned servicemen led riots against southern Europeans. They organised
a march of townspeople to various Italian-owned businesses in the area,
which were ransacked one by one. The protesters demanded that all non -
Britishers be ejected from the goldfields in order to ensure that sufficient
KALGOORLIE – HANNAN ST – MARITANA ST
•The Depression hardened community attitudes against immigrants. Racism
surfaced under the guise of protecting Australian jobs and businesses.
•Anti-foreigner riots occurred on the Kalgoorlie goldfields in 1916, 1919 and 1934
•These were followed by strikes demanding preferential employment for
Australian-born workers (Britishers). Immigrants in the 1920s and 30s maintained
contact, where possible, with families and homelands.
•This was especially important when many were made to feel unwelcome.
HOME FROM HOME HOTEL
The bloody foreigners were attacking Australians in
their own country. Tempers flared: volunteers were
Manning Clark on the 1934 Kalgoorlie riots,
History of Australia1
HOME FROM HOME HOTEL
An Italian barman, Claudio Mattaboni, 34, employed at
the Home FromHome Hotel, is alleged to have struck a
“Britisher” George Edward Jordon,29, who fell to the
pavement and suffered a fractured skull. He died as a
KALGOORLIE WINE SALOON BURNT
A youth threw a stone through a window of the
Kalgoorlie Wine Saloon and full-scale rioting
THE ALL NATIONS HOTEL DESTROYED BY FIRE. THIS WAS A
BOARDING HOUSE AS THE HOTEL WAS DELICENSED. LOOTED
AND DESTROYED BY FIRE
THE FUNERAL OF TED JORDAN OVER WHOSE DEATH ALL THE FRACAS OCCURRED.
OVER 100 CARS FOLLOWED HIS REMAINS AND OVER 9000 PEOPLE VIEWED THE
TED JORDON FUNERAL
One local resident Nancy Crisp described her sisters
impression of the funeral procession that accompanied
“I’m not suggesting there wasn’t the usual grief and
sorrow from his own family and friends but Norah told
us when she came home that the cars going along at
the tail end of this cortege were full of sightseers and
almost merry makers and she was rather disgusted
Reporter Gavin Casey blamed the elaborate funeral and
subsequent alcohol consumption for the second night
FULL SCALE RIOT
The scene of the shooting on 31/1/34. The trench at
the foot of the bridge is where the Italians held force
with their homes immediately behind. When the
"mob" got control the Italians ran for safety to the
dumps in the background only to see their houses
looted and burned to the ground. 70 homes were
FULL SCALE RIOT
KALGOORLIE, Jan. 31.— At Boulder last night miners who were concerned in the
riot on Monday night came into savage conflict with the foreigners who defended
their homes and property with rifles and knives and home bombs.
Rioters looted and obtained firearms and ammunition
Rioters were alcohol fuelled and unrestrained looting occurred
MURDER, PILLAGE AND INCENDIARISM
Night Battle With Rifles and Bombs
MILE LONG LINE OF BURNING SHACKS
POLICE REINFORCEMENTS RUSHED FROM PERTH –
150 special Constables held back due the ongoing volatility.
ITALIANS RETREATED TO THE DUMPS – 70
DINGBAT FLAT – PROPERTIES BURNT
Scene of the destruction on what is
known as "Dingbat Flat". Chimneys in
background "Left" are of Kalgoorlie
Electric Power and Lighting
Corporation, Boulder . Reported that
250 Slav homes were destroyed
SLAVONIC DANCE HALL, BOULDER WRECKED. THIS WAS NOT BURNED OWING TO
BEING SURROUNDED ON ALL SIDES BY BRITISHERS
STOKES, CHARLES (27), of 14 Cheetham Street, Kalgoorlie.
KATICH, JOSEPH (33), single, a Dalmatian.
SHACKLES, William (28), of 16 MoranStreet, Boulder.
KING, WILLIAM (26), married, of 26George-street, Kalgoorlie.
BROWN, M. (17), of 186 Forrest Street,Kalgoorlie.
AUERN, FRANK (25), single, of 10 President-street, Kalgoorlie.
MAONAMABA, JAMES (17), single, of 95Boulder-Road.
BARBIE, SAMUEL (36), married, of Boulder.
THE FUNERAL OF JOSEPH KATICH. NOTICE ALL THESE MEN ARE WITHOUT COATS. MOST OF THESE
PEOPLE HAD ALL THEIR BELONGINGS DESTROYED BY FIRE BARRING THOSE THEY ARE
STANDING UP IN
•In time, eighty-six people were arrested on a variety of charges in
with the riots – twenty-two charges of stealing, fifty-five for unlawful
possession, four for vagrancy, seventeen for rioting (one absconded
from bail) and four for possession of unlicensed firearms.
•The police were able to secure eighty-three convictions and fourteen
men received gaol sentences.
•The records do not, however, support the common contention that
the rioters were predominantly miners.
•Alcohol and mob rule were key drivers
KALGOORLIE HOTELS – ONE EVERY 50 YARDS
YORK AND ORIENTAL EXCHANGE
The town was no more disturbed than usual,
during the late summer weeks, but the
undercurrents were deep underground until
one single incident brought them gushing to
Gavin Casey – Journalist and author 1934
The belief that foreigners were getting preference was indirectly
fuelled by members of the Chamber of Mines. They made it
abundantly clear that the foreign-born miner was an example
which Britisher miners would do well to emulate – docile, hard-
working and uninfected by trade unionism – an easily
recognisable ‘divide and rule’ tactic. Although the mine managers
insisted that they observed a policy of Britisher employment
preference, pointing out the advantages of migrant labour
confirmed their commitment to ‘freedom of contract’
The RSL leadership’s position on immigration was
contradictory. On one level, they supported the employers’
right to search for the cheapest labour. At the same time,
their commitment to a ‘White Australia’ encouraged
opposition to all but British immigration. As a result, their
stance helped to marginalise southern Europeans in
Kalgoorlie, while not effectively limiting their arrival. At both
state and federal level, the Kalgoorlie RSL leadership
promoted motions demanding an end to southern European
immigration; calling for the more strict enforcement of
language tests; and scaremongering about the social
dangers of non-British immigration.
The AWU leadership occupied a contradictory position
between the Chamber of Mines and its own membership.
Although it sought peaceful and bureaucratic negotiations
with management, it also sought to build a union in an
industry where management denied any concessions, using
every possible means to reduce wages and conditions and to
weaken trade unionism. The union had been unable to resist
the Chamber of Mines’ push towards greater employment
competition, and blaming migrants for poor conditions either
went unchallenged or became a convenient scapegoating
• Payment of compensation agreed upon by the State
• Rolling out of compensation was prolonged with general
• Eventually 6,500 pounds worth of corrugated iron and
timber were made available along with carpenters to
•Encouraged to build in Boulder away from “Dingbat Flat”
for better integration
•Business people were also compensated for destroyed
premises’ fittings and furniture.
There was a community wide lack of sympathy with the
rioters and a subsequent feeling of shame and guilt
Local Australian residents had good relations with
immigrants and helped them during and after the riots
by storing their valuables in their homes and giving
them food and clothing
Large numbers of Australian born kids of migrants had
been to local schools and played sport with Australian
There was a lack of racism at this community level
The Osmetti brothers were outstanding sportsmen and
popular in Boulder
Charlie played for East Fremantle and Jack was a
champion footballer with Mines Rovers and became a
state bowls champion in later years.
The Epis family were also great sportsmen and Alex
played 184 games for Essendon in later years.
Many Italian and Yugoslavian offspring became leaders
in the business, cultural, community and sporting life of
The current Mayor of Kalgoorlie is Ron Yuryevich
Matt Turich and Danny Sheehan ran the Kalgoorlie two-
up game for years