Menzies was established in 1894 when Leslie Menzies found gold in the area. Today Menzies is famous for it’s global renowned art sculptures, located in Lake Ballard. This artistic project has really put Menzies on the map for passing travellers.
For thousands of years the Aboriginal people have inhabited the Menzies area as part of their ancestral dreaming tracks, which include: the Mountain Devil, the Mallee Fowl, the Goanna and the Snake, How the Desert Come To Be, the Giant Man, the Trap Door Spider Woman, the Goo-roo Daarn, and the Dingo.
The first gold discovery in the Menzies area has been credited to a prospecting party led by James Speakman in 1891. During September 1894, LR Menzies with J McDonald, Jimmy (an aboriginal tracker) and Cumbra (an Afghan camel driver), discovered gold about 43 km north of Ninety Mile (known as Goongarrie). Menzies obtained a lease and called it The Lady Shenton and the town of Menzies grew around his claim.
Early residents had to endure heat, flies, lack of water, poor diet and limited transportation, often for little or no reward. Sickness and disease claimed many lives, an outbreak of typhoid produced a mortality rate of 13%, the highest percentage recorded during the West Australian gold rush. Improved sanitation and a hospital helped control the spread of the disease. Testament to the early days is the Menzies Pioneer Cemetery which provides a record of the human costs involved settling the Western Australian Interior.
Despite hardships the residents strived to make Menzies a vibrant and prosperous town. Water was carted from surrounding lakes, and a dam was built in 1897 by the State Government. The railway line between Kalgoorlie and Menzies was officially opened on March 22, 1898. Menzies at this time boasted 13 hotels, 3 banks, breweries, cordial factory, post office, school, public library and 4 churches.
The northern Goldfields Shire of Menzies has a unique ecology of mulga and eucalyptus belts rich in biological diversity. This region of Western Australian has many striking rock formations, making it an area of great interest for visitors.
Visit the Historical Menzies Hotel established in 1902, the social hub of the community still catering for the mining community as it has done for over 100 years, today it offers fantastic hospitality for workers and travellers. Inside are grand 15 foot high pressed-tin ceilings and photographs of yesteryear, outside in the beer garden are more artifacts and an abundance of native bird life.
Experience Western Australia's pioneering past by visiting the ghost towns of the Northern Goldfields. Remnants of towns such as Goongarrie, Mulline, Mulwarrie, Kookynie and Niagara, and their cemeteries are a record of the human story behind the gold rush of the 1890s.
Described as Australia’s largest outdoor gallery, Lake Ballard is home to the Inside Australia sculptures by Anthony Gormley. This Turner prize winning artist chose Lake Ballard because of it’s unique display properties, knowing that this artistic installation would evolve with the environment, from seasonal changes to light and shade.
The 50 figures are based on real ‘insiders’ of the outback. Locals were invited to strip off and have their naked bodies scanned for Gormley’s work. These individuals are now immortalised in the world famous Inside Australia installation.
Distance from Perth (km): 764
Area (sq km): 99,973
Length of Sealed Roads (km): 607
Length of Unsealed Roads (km): 2375
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