Historical Collections

Gwalia Historical Collections Gwalia Buildings Large Objects Small Objects Archival Collection 


Small Objects

Objects in the Mine Office depict community, cultural and mining life from the late 19th century until the middle of the 20th century. The collection, which also features the heritage of Afghan, Italian and Yugoslav migrants, tells the stories of hardship in a remote mining community and the ingenuity of the inhabitants to make do with what was available in order to survive. Objects depict the mining technology of the past and illustrate events in the life of the region.

The introduction of mining had a dramatic impact on the Aboriginal people of the Northern Goldfields. From the 1920s, the Sons of Gwalia Mine employed a few Aboriginal men to work below and above ground.

Gwalia Museum holds a small collection of Aboriginal boomerangs and spears which, together with photographs, give a glimpse into Aboriginal culture in the Leonora-Gwalia area. Today Wongi and Ngalia people live in Gwalia and Leonora, in Koara Country.

The collection includes:

  • Examples of equipment adapted to the harsh Goldfields conditions by people who used available materials to construct wheelbarrows and household utensils.
  • Homemade household utensils made from metal, such as a spoon and fork joined together with a screw, a corrugated iron washboard on a wooden frame and a dust pan made of metal.
  • Mining items such as a  hook for hoisting helmets, boots and belts in and out of the mine, miners’ carbide lamps and the wooden pattern moulds used to make machinery for the mine.
  • The small collection of Aboriginal artefacts including boomerangs and spears help tell the story of the Wongutha people.
  • Crockery and tableware once used at the State Hotel.
  • A commemorative hammer with wooden handle and chrome head which was presented to Mr A.F. Cleland, the Mayor of Leonora, by the State Minister of Transport R.J. O’Connor at the opening the standard gauge railway line from Kalgoorlie to Leonora on 13 September 1974.
  • The wheels from the water cart used to carry water to the single men’s camps, which are reinforced with timber to make them last on the rough ground.
  • The mangle from Mrs Patroni’s boarding house, as well as a number of items in the museum's collection of objects from the abandoned cottages in Gwalia.

Click on a thumbnail to view a slideshow of all of the images in this gallery.