Gwalia Upgrade Project
History of Hoover House
Hoover House is typical of the expansive style of home built for senior mine management in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The site was chosen in 1898 by the first general manager of the Sons of Gwalia mine, Herbert Hoover, and its construction commenced under his direction, although he was transferred to China before the building was finished. Hoover, who was later to become the 31st President of the United States of America, visited the area several times after returning to Australia from China. Hoover stayed in the house in 1902 with the then manager, R. Atwater.
The building was constructed of locally made brick, fired nearby, and bought under a contract for £2/10/0 ($5) per thousand bricks, plus the supply of fuel. The house was finished by early 1899, but not without an objection from the Coolgardie office of the mine’s owner, Bewick Moreing & Co, whose management complained that the company’s London board of directors had never expected to spend £750 ($1500) – several times the cost of an average home – on a manager’s residence. Nevertheless, two of the three bedrooms were soon extended to twice their original size.
Eleven successive mine managers have lived in the house over the years.
Following the closure of the Sons of Gwalia mine in 1963, the mine manager’s house, mine office and assay office were used by Western Mining Corporation as a mineral exploration base until 1971.
Hoover House was renovated in 2001 and has been managed by the Shire of Leonora since September 2010.