Paddy and the Snake:-

Paddy NEVIN was an elderly identity pf Kunanalling who lived by himself ina  camp on the outskirts of town. Paddy had been involved in a nasty accident in his younger days, being dragged the length of a platform by a train, inflicting horrible painful injuries to his right leg. A stiff leg was to afflict Paddy for the rest of his long life.
It was the custom of old time prospectors to spread fine sand over the floor and smooth this down with a hair broom every morning. The purpose of this exercise was to detect the presence of snakes in the cam while the owner was away at his show or in town. An experienced bushman would see the tracks of the reptile where it has slithered across the sand and entered the camp – and where and if it had departed.

Paddy was the first customer on the Butchers round one Saturday morning. It was my job to hop off the cart and arouse the occupant of the camp while Dad chained the wheel and opened up the cart to display the meat. I noticed that Paddy’s bunk was outside the camp and Paddy was inside cooking breakfast. By his ashen looks this well could have been his last meal, he was as white as death and trembling like a leaf. dad enquired after Paddy’s health and was given a complete run down of the events of the previous few hours. Paddy had returned to his camp for the evening meal after first having inspected the floor for signs of unwelcome visitors. There were tracks on the floor but no sign of the snake having made an exit. So for safety’s sake Paddy took his bed outside to sleep, turning in after the evening meal. On awakening soon after sunrise, Paddy rolled back the blankets and, being handicapped as he was by his lame leg he always had difficulty in climbing in and out of bed.

He slowly inched his way painfully upright and was about to ease both feet to the floor when he discovered a large venomous black snake coiled up beside him in bed. Stiff leg or not, he made the quickest move he had ever done in his life. By not inspecting the bed before clambering in for the night, Paddy had moved both bed and snake outside.
Paddy provided us with a running commentary of the episode and it made our day when, concluding his ‘tale of woe’ he said “I thought I felt a wriggle once or twice through the night”.
Paddy had many a sleepless night after this and tried many a different method of snake detection until he finally acquired a fox terrier dog who could sniff out snakes. This dog was also Paddy’s faithful companion for many years until it fell down a disused mine shaft – chasing a snake.                                                                                    by Rob Bounsell

NOTE: Patrick NEVIN died in Coolgardie on the 4th Aug 1955 and is buried in the Cemetery there.

Kunanalling and Beyond – book review

In 1895 gold was discovered in the area by prospectors and it was initially known as 25 mile which is its distance from Coolgardie. The goldfields warden recommended that a townsite be declared in the same area. The town was also called Connanalling but the spelling was changed by the Lands department when the town was gazetted in 1896. By early 1898 the town had a population of 360 people that later grew to approximately 800 people.

Kunanalling and Beyond by S R Bounsell

Kunanalling and Beyond by S R Bounsell

This excellent book is the second and updated edition. First published in 1988. I was fortunate to correspond with the author for many years S R Bounsell (Rob). For anyone interested in the early history of the Goldfields of Western Australia I can highly recommend this book. Nothing remains of the town today except the ruins of the Premier Hotel.


The Premier Hotel, Kunanalling

The Premier Hotel, Kunanalling


Oh! Who could paint a Goldfields and paint the picture right?
As old adventures saw it in early morning light.
The yellow mounds of mullock with spots of red and white
The scattered quartz that glistens like diamonds in the light.
Hear the fall of timber from distant flats and fells,
The pealing of the anvils as clear as little bells.
The rattle of the cradle, the clack of windlass poles,
The flutter of the crimson flags above the golden holes.
Ah! Then their hearts were bolder and if Dame Fortune frowned,
Their sway they’d lightly shoulder and tramp to other grounds
Oh! they were lion-hearted, who gave our country birth
Stout sons of stoutest fathers born from all the lands on earth.
These Golden Days have vanished, and altered is the scene,
The diggings are deserted now, the camping grounds are green.

                                                      By Henry Lawson

ISBN:- 0-947249-65-6

The Great Goldfields Flood of 1948 – a verse

The heaviest rainfall in Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s history occurred 70 years ago—during the weekend of Saturday-Sunday the 21st and 22nd of February 1948.  Nearly 300 millimetres of rain fell in less than 36 hours, causing widespread flooding and severe … [Continue reading]

Paddington’s Old Cemetery – a verse

Grave of John KEANE d. 29 May 1902 age 49

In Kalgoorlie’s north, away out in the scrub Where nobody’s shoulders you’re likely to rub On an old winding track one scarcely could see Well hidden by bush is an old cemetery. And those lonely old graves with headstones of white Would appear … [Continue reading]

Double Tragedy at Kalgoorlie – grave tales

Truth (Perth, WA : 1903 - 1931), Saturday 28 December 1912, page 3 Double Tragedy at Kalgoorlie.      "She Smiled, said "Hello, Curly" and Died" In our last issue appeared a brief account of the terrible double tragedy, which … [Continue reading]