Founded in 1888 by gold prospectors, Southern Cross has a rich goldrush heritage. Today it serves as the centre for Yilgarn Shire and enjoys the prosperity of it’s neighbouring farms, some of the largest in the state.
The first significant find in the Goldfieds region was in an area called Golden Valley to the northwest of Southern Cross in 1887. Using information from the local aborigines, government surveyor Charles Crossland claimed to have directed prospectors Tom Risely and Mick Toome to explore an area east of Golden Valley. On January 14, 1888, Risely and Toomey's successful find was named Southern Cross (after the constellation).
Even though the site was poor in alluvial gold it supported three large mines employing several hundred men by 1892. Like the town of Boulder in the Golden Mile, Southern Cross was a town of wage-earners, most prospectors lacked the capital to investigate the quartz reefs in the area.
The early years in Southern Cross were hard, with a high death rate from unsanitary conditions in crowded hospital tents. It wasn’t long before a touring government health inspector reported that there was unsanitary backyard accumulations of refuse that were "a dangerous nuisance".
Transport was also difficult in for early settlers, and they relied on horses and camels to bring in supplies. It’s a very different story today, where the Great Eastern Highway runs through the town.
Distance from Perth (km): 371
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