The Men of the Lake View and Star – Project

Three years ago, Outback Family History and Dr Criena Fitzgerald, historian, approached KCGM, Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines, regarding historical employee records in their archives. These records were in the format of individual cards for each employee from the inception of  Lake View and Boulder East Company in 1895 up to about the 1960’s. Outback Family History, Dr Fitzgerald and KCGM have been working in conjunction during this time to preserve both the cards themselves and also record the valuable information contained in them.  This is a sample of one of the cards:-

LV & Star Card Harry L Whitchurch

LV & Star Card –  Harry L Whitchurch

These cards provide a valuable insight into not just the working history of one of the largest Gold mines in Western Australia, but also show a widely diverse social history of people from all over the world coming to the Goldfields of Western Australia for a better life.  The information in these records is something that will not be found elsewhere. So far the earliest date of birth we have found is of a British man, Robert James BELL, who was born in 1848. The exact data collected on these cards varies as the years go by and new cards were used but the sort of information in general is:-

Full name, Date of Birth, Nationality,occupation, address, postal address, Mines Workers Relief cards, Lodge, Doctor, Union, Maritial status, children or any other dependants such as mother or sister. Also contained among these records is what we believe to be the only complete record of ‘Tributing Parties’ from 1924 to about 1935 showing the full details of each man but also the tributing party he belonged to. Some were just teams of two and other had up to 10 members. These provided valuable information that men from all nationalities worked together in groups.

The Men of the L V & S

The Men of the L V & S

The original mine was at first very small but grew over the years to incorporate Chaffers, Ivanhoe, the Golden Horseshoe, Hannans Star and the Associated. In 1935 they made an unsuccesful bid to take over the Great Boulder Mine. Mining continued into the 1960’s but with increasing difficulty as the gold price plummeted. By the end of the decade gold prices were very depressed while nickel prices were booming. In 1971 the company was taken over by Poseidon Limited, a nickel company riding the boom after a discovery at Windarra near Laverton. Its shares rose from 80c to $280, so was in a financial position to purchase Lake View and Star. However nickel prices and its shares then plummeted, while its new Windarra mine saw lower grade nickel than predicted. It and therefore Lake View mine was taken over by Western Mining Corporation in 1976.In the late 80’s the mine was sold to Alan Bond who was trying to consolidate all the Golden Mile leases. It was the last to hold out on selling and went for $375 million. It is now incorporated into the Superpit as of 1989.

A complete history of this period can be read at:- http://www.mindat.org/loc-6642.html

Lake View Consols

Lake View Consols

From 1989 to 1914 KGMM were to operate what is now known as ‘The Super Pit’ the exact timeline for this last 25yrs can be seen at:- http://bit.ly/1WRuy4i

We currently have a group of volunteers entering the information on each card.  We estimate that there are about 35,000 cards in total. Sadly some are damaged and unreadable but the majority are in great condition and when they have been transcribed they will be packed into archive boxes and returned to KCGM for storage. The transcribed data will be made available to everyone from  free of any charge and we anticipate that the contribution to our mining history will be immense.

We will continue to keep everyone informed of our progress as we proceed . If you have any questions about this project please do contact me.

 

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My name is Moya Sharp, I live in Kalgoorlie Western Australia and have worked most of my adult life in the history/museum industry. I have been passionate about history for as long as I can remember and in particular the history of my adopted home the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia. Through my website I am committed to providing as many records and photographs free to any one who is interested in the family and local history of the region.

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