Historical Towns Directory

By clicking on a state or territory on the map, you can access a regional guide to Australia's historic towns, including a wealth of information about organizations, museums and locations.

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 Southern Cross

Find Southern Cross

Europeans such as H.M. Lefroy (1863), Charles Cooke Hunt and John Forrest were all early explorers of the Southern Cross region. Hunt's Soak (1865), just north of town, is one of numerous wells sunk by Hunt throughout south eastern Western Australia in an early effort to provide a water supply in the dry land.

By the 1880s pastoral activity had commenced in the area.

In 1887-88 Thomas Risely, Mick Toomey, Charlie Crossland and their Aboriginal guide, Wheelbarrow, were prospecting in the area. The group had spent two days without water when they used the Southern Cross as a guide while travelling at night. They discovered gold while using the Southern Cross as a compass.

The Yilgarn goldfield was established at the site of the first major gold find on the Eastern Goldfields. The town of Southern Cross, named after the constellation, was established as a gold boom town. Its streets are also named after constellations.

The most successful mine on the Yilgarn goldfield was Fraser's Mine at a site selected by Hugh Fraser. Despite the wealth of the mine, which has grown to a large open-cut enterprise in modern times, Fraser had no money when he died. It was only through a 20 pound donation made by the mayor that he avoided being buried in a pauper's grave.

The cemetery which operated at Southern Cross from 1891 to 1898 provides an insight into the hardships of early mining and pioneer settlement. Many of those buried in the cemetery died of typhoid, which was a common problem on the early goldfields.

Southern Cross became a municipality in 1892. This was also the year that the Eastern Goldfields' first courthouse, now a museum, was built at Southern Cross. The single storey brick and iron building was designed by George Temple Poole. It was here that Arthur Bayley registered the first claim on the Fly Flat (Coolgardie) goldfields in 1892.

The discovery of gold at Fly Flat resulted in many diggers abandoning the Yilgarn field favour of the more prosperous gold fields to the east.

The post office at Southern Cross was another 1892 construction.

The railway from the coast reached the town in 1894. In 1895-96 at railway line was constructed between Southern Cross and Coolgardie.

The Karalee Reservoir, Rock Catchment and Aqueduct (1897), around 50 kilometres east of Southern Cross, was established to provide water for steam powered locomotives on the railway. The reservoir provided water for steam engines until diesel locomotives were introduced along the line in 1953.

The goldfields' water supply problems were solved in 1902-03 when the first water was pumped through over 500 kilometres of pipeline along the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme. The Number 6 Pumping Station on the pipeline is located around 11 kilometres east of the town. The station was superseded when electric pumps were introduced in 1969.

Southern Cross, 368 kilometres east of Perth, is today located in the centre of an agricultural and pastoral area. Gold is also still mined locally.

Southern Cross Visitor Information
Phone: 08 9049 1001

Shire Office, Antress Street

Website: http://www.yilgarn.wa.gov.au



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