and the Yilgarn Goldfield

by Gilbert Ralph

ISBN 0 85905 395 4, (2007 New), Soft cover, 288 pages, illustrated, under 500 gram packed

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Bullfinch and the Yilgarn Goldfield had its beginnings with a suggestion from Sir Laurence Brodie-Hall that the unique nature of the community at Bullfinch during the Great Western Consolidated era from 1950 to 1963 deserved recording. Sir Arvi Parbo, who began his mining career at Bullfinch, supported the concept and they encouraged Gilbert Ralph, a retired Executive from Western Mining Corporation, to write a history of Great Western and Bullfinch. Gilbert has taken five years to research and write this history.

Mary Sutherland, who grew up in Bullfinch, was very helpful in assembling copies of personal recollections, photographs and memorabilia from many long-term residents of Bullfinch and many of these have been included to give a graphic first-hand account of life in Bullfinch during the GWC era.

Many others have also made personal contributions of more recent events and activities.

This book tells the story of not only Bullfinch during the Great Western era, but of the discovery and development of the Yilgarn Goldfield from its beginnings at Golden Valley in 1888 up to the present day. It covers activities at Southern Cross, Marvel Loch, Westonia and Yellowdine and many places in between.

It tells the story of the four gold mining booms which produced ten million ounces of gold over nearly twelve decades and why a half of that was produced in the last twelve years. It mentions many of the prospectors and entrepreneurs who brought the area to life and many of workers and families who struggled to make a living in tough times between the booms. Mention is also made of the Soldier Settlement Scheme and frustrations experienced by farmers and pastoralists.

It tells the story of tragic events, heroic rescues, desperate struggles, poverty and of happy times, weddings, school days, carnivals, sporting achievements and celebrations. It gives first-hand accounts from people who loved the community and contributed to its uniqueness.

Much of the book is devoted to life in Bullfinch during the Great Western era when many of the people who lived there describe the struggle to establish community facilities, their homes, living conditions, recreational activities and the events which brought them pleasure and contentment.

It tells the story of Great Western and its desperate efforts to combat inflation, declining ore grades and troublesome mining conditions. It covers the post-GWC era and outlines the revival of the goldfield following the rise in the price of gold in the latter part of the 1970s and gives an account of major players such as Burmine, Troy, Gasgoyne and Sons of Gwalia in the past and the current rejuvenation of the field by St Barbara Limited.

It is a book about people, their lives, their joy, their sadness and their achievements.