Gwalia Grows

Gwalia and Leonora developed rapidly from 1897, although Leonora’s population was to lag behind Gwalia’s for more than a decade. By 1898 Leonora boasted three hotels, two banks, a telegraph office and many shops and businesses.

However, many people still preferred to settle near the Sons of Gwalia mine to be close to their place of work and, in 1901, residential lots were surveyed in a bid to bring order to the chaotic growth of the settlement. These lots were taken up by families who built timber and iron cottages lined with canvas, while most single men continued to live in the “Gwalia Block”, a cluster of campsites near the mine.

A general store and co-operative store, several churches, a school, a hall and recreation facilities were built. Despite its de facto status, Gwalia was beginning to look more and more like a town in its own right. The population of Leonora (1,154) exceeded that of Gwalia (1,114) for the first time in 1911.

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