National Trust Website   Gold  Life on the Goldfields

Transport and Travel 

Early Water Supplies  Key Players Storing and Pumping Water The Pipes  Political Issues and Celebrations 


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    Swampers on the Road, 1890s

Men in search of fortunes pause on a track in WA’s eastern goldfields for a photographer to record their various forms of transport.

    The rush to Coolgardie, 1894

Various ways of travelling and transporting personal belongings to the Coolgardie goldfields.


Horse corpse, 1895

This dried-up corpse of a horse epitomises the desperate need for water on WA’s eastern goldfields.


Archibald Sanderson, 1895

A newspaper correspondent equipped for his long trip to report on WA’s eastern goldfields, that had captured the public’s imagination.

    Prospectors with camel team, c1895

A prospecting team preparing to depart in search of gold, using camels as transport for themselves and their water supply.

    Gold escort leaving Coolgardie, c1895

Getting gold from WA’s remote interior to the capital of Perth was a long and arduous journey with the possibility of being hijacked.


Outside the Cobb and Co booking office, Coolgardie, 1895-97

This coach crowded with men indicates the amount of traffic generated by the discovery of gold in WA’s arid interior.


First train to Coolgardie, 1896

The train line was only extended to the goldfields four long years after the discoveries, so the first train on the new route was an occasion to record.

    Camels pulling pipes, c1900

Shows the unusual sight of ten camels in harness pulling a wagonload of pipes for the goldfields water supply pipeline.


Pipes at Parkerville, c1901

A trainload of pipes en route to a pipe-laying team gives some indication of the immense task of distributing them.

    Transporting pipes by wagon, 1902

Shows a horse-drawn dray, an alternate method of transport for distributing pipes where there were no train lines, since rail was the norm.

    Camel drinking from a gnamma, 1909

A prospector’s camel drinking from a naturally occurring rockhole, depleting and possibly polluting an important source of precious water for animals and people in WA’s arid interior.