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on the Western Australian Goldfields

Gullewa > Gullewa - about


Latitude 28° 40' S Longitude 116° 19' E

Gullewa is a town site in the Yalgoo goldfield, about 160 km east of Geraldton. Gold was discovered here in 1894 by an Irishman, Jim Byrne and his partner Gray. Within days they were followed by the Criddle Brother who staked a nearby claim.
The area was mined until the mines closed in 1937. In 1896, Gullewa was an important mining centre, and the Gullewa Progress Committee requested that the government declare a town site. The town site was gazetted in 1898, but like many goldfields towns, it is now abandoned. It derives its name from nearby from Gullewa Spring, first recorded by John Forrest in 1873. The name is Aboriginal, of unknown meaning, but Sister Albertus Bain, in her book 'Ancient Landmarks',  says a suggested translation is 'Where the wattle grows plentiful".

In mid 1896 a thriving settlement grew rapidly and unlike most other mining towns, the housing and business sections were situated away from the mining area. A Progress committee and a Board of Health were established and a pan system was instigated from the start by a sanitary inspector, making the town clean and free from Typhoid. When the Government surveyor, George Weeks, arrived in 1897 to survey the town there were 171 housing blocks which sold for £20 each with a corner block selling for £30. Some larger area were set aside for government use. The towns seventeen streets were named after the original lease holders. A discrepancy was made with Burns Street which should have been Byrnes Street.

A police camp was established in 1896, and the first officer in charge was PC L Simpson who stated the town had a population of 120 people. There was a store run by Schuman and Kruger which had a gallon licence, a butcher by the name of Morrisey and P Schuman the baker. There was also a wayside inn called the Gullewa Hotel run by Thomas Jones. This was soon followed by a second hotel run by Richard Webb, which was called The Monarch. It was constructed of corrugated iron walls and roof, lined with match board and hessian ceilings. It was claimed to have a large bar and a good size billiard room. In 1897 a Post and Telegraph office was opened with W F White as the postmaster. The same year a school was also opened by John Brown, with 20 children on the original roll. The school was held in the public hall until a school building was erected later in the year.

G.P. Ross pumping out water in King Solomon's Mine, Gullewa, G.P. Ross, 1930

Gullewa Townsite - Image SLWA

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Moya Sharp - Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) For Services to Community History

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