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on the Western Australian Goldfields

Kanowna > Kanowna

Kanowna Western Australia

Kanowna is an abandoned gold mining town in the eastern goldfields about 20 km north east of Kalgoorlie. Gold was discovered here in 1894, and the area was at first known as "White Feather". When the government decided to declare a townsite, H C Prinsep, then Under Secretary for Mines, stated the Aboriginal name of the place was Kanowna, and this was the name given to the townsite. The townsite was gazetted in December 1894. The name may not be local Aboriginal name however. There is a Kanowna Station on Coopers Creek in South Australia, and some sources state that one of the early Kanowna diggers came from this station, and brought the name with him. Another source states that "Kanowna comes from the Aboriginal word "kana" or "gana" which means "place of no sleep" or "can't sleep".

The term supposedly referred to the extremely stony ground surrounding area, making it an unpleasant place to camp. The term White Feather, although hard to track down with any accuracy, may have come from a dispute between two lots of diggers where one party took to their heels, showing a lack of courage. The remaining men named the lease after the event.


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