Outback Family History

State Library of Western Australia

Aboriginal HistoryBook FinderCemeteriesHotelsMaps of the GoldfieldsMilitaryMinersMiscellaneousPeoplePlaces on the Goldfields Place Index A-Z

This website is dedicated to the memory of my two dear friends Sandy Duncan and Shyama Peebles who both passed away in 2012.


Bulong > Bulong

Western Australia


A picture postcard of Bulong , addressed to my ggUncle Mr Ross Coulter , Woolgar near Menzies WA from my ggAunt Jeanette Harrod of Bulong (his sister). Dated 15th April , I cant make out the year but she died in 1910 so prior to that .From - Mary Coulthard


Bulong.jpg (67440 bytes)
Bulong Townsite

A goldfields town about 34 kilometres east of Kalgoorlie, Bulong was gazetted in 1895. After the discovery of gold in this vicinity the area became known as "I.O.U" which was the name of a mine or a gold-mining lease. In October 1894 surveyor G.C.Hamilton was instructed to lay out a townsite at "I.O.U" and to "suggest a better name for it". Hamilton suggested "Boolong", the aboriginal name of a small soak situated nearby. This name was adopted but was spelt "Bulong" to conform with the Standard system of spelling Aboriginal names.

Bulong Map-3.jpg (114663 bytes)

Excerpts from an interesting account of the early days of Bulong which appeared in the Kalgoorlie Miner newspaper Monday 16th June 1952

Bulong, situated about 20 miles east of Kalgoorlie and 15 miles south east of Kanowna, was active from about 1893 to 1908 with various deep leads and alluvial workings, which by 1900 had produced 17,500 ounces of gold.

There are various accounts of who and when , the first gold was actually found at Bulong.

One version says May 1894, Arthur Reid in his book "Those Were the Days" says January 1894

but Jules Raeside in his book "Golden Days" says that an Aboriginal man called Tiger found the first gold - Tiger was working for Smith and Jack Moher.

From Mines Dept records it shows that in November 1893 a group of prospectors, Kennedy, Hogan, Turnbull, Henry and Holmes were granted a lease which was called the I.O.U. - which gave the area the name I.O.U - later in about 1895 the name Bulong was starting to be used.

The Bulong townsite was gazetted in 1895 and by 1900 had a population of 620 plus many thousands of prospectors and miners in the surrounding district. The centre become the principal township of the North East Coolgardie Goldfields and was the centre for the transaction of Government business with a wardens court, police court etc. There were six hotels and three stores, mechanics institute, town hall, the government hospital and various churches.

There was also the I.O.U.Brewery.

A steam locomotive on a narrow gauge railway was used to transport ore from the Last Chance mine to a battery on the shores of Lake Yundarlgooda: it is alleged that this may have been the first railway used in this way on the Eastern Goldfields.

In the early times water was drawn from Lake Yundarlgooda, condensed on the side of the lake, and pumped to the top of Mt Stuart, whence it was piped through the streets of the town.

Natural bush and timber surrounding the town were preserved, giving the place a rural appearance, somewhat at variance with the more or less common rule for many outback mining towns.

In common with other goldfields centres Bulong had its share of interesting personalities. An old timer named Bennett used to drive a team of eight or nine goats harnessed to a buggy. Bennet lived at Taurus, six miles from Bulong and was known facetiously as "The Mayor of Taurus"

J. Robinson was another character who it was reported in 1919/1920 under the heading

" Ex Mayor of Taurus" – Mounted Constable Haines brought in the body of a man, Jack Robinson

from the Bulong District to the Kalgoorlie morgue. He had followed the occupation of woodcutter and dryblower for over a score of years and usually known under the soubriquet of The Mayor of Taurus, he having on one occasion set up claims to the civic magistracy of that locality in opposition to the identity, Bennett, who was called the Mayor of Taurus, before his departure for the North West. The deceased referred to, had reached the age of 58: he arrived in Western Australia from Dublin 40 years ago.

By 1998, all but the cemetery had disappeared, and new a very large mining venture is in operation, this time not gold but nickel/copper.


Return to Bulong

Next Record Bulong - Queen Margaret Gold Mine

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required