District Superintendent's House (fmr)

Author

City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder

Place Number

01280

Location

2 Forrest St Kalgoorlie

Location Details

Cnr Maritana St

Other Name(s)

District Engineer's Residence

Local Government

Kalgoorlie-Boulder

Region

Goldfields

Construction Date

1900 to 0

Demolition Year

N/A

Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Town Planning Scheme YES 18 Apr 1997
State Register Permanent 20 Feb 2004 Register and Assessment

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Category
Register of the National Estate Interim 21 Oct 1980 NA
Statewide Railway Heritage Surve Completed 01 Mar 1994 Recommend RHP
Classified by the National Trust Classified 13 Jun 1978 NA
Municipal Inventory Adopted 09 Jul 2001

Statement of Significance

The residence has historic value for its important associations with the development of the State's railway system and the vital role it played in the settlement and development of Kalgoorlie. The residence has historic value is a demonstration of the status of the chief engineer in society at the time and the particular way of life of providing a residence for the chief engineer. The value of the residence is enhanced as a component of an historic railway precinct comprising the adjacent station master's house and the Kalgoorlie Railway Station.

Physical Description

A substantial single-storey building with a broken-back hipped roof. The exterior of the building features bay windows, an encircling verandah (since infilled along north side), and rendered corbelled brick chimneys.

History

Documentary Evidence: The building was the residence of Kalgoorlie's district engineer of the railway. It was specifically built to house the person in that position. The District Engineer was a very important person, in charge of the entire district. General Comments on the Railway: The discovery of gold at Southern Cross and the subsequent declaration of the area as the Yilgarn goldfield in 1888, had prompted the State Government to commence construction of a railway to serve the area. The line, known as the Yilgarn Railway, began at the head of the Eastern Railway at Northam (the name “Yilgarn Railway’ was replaced with ‘Eastern Goldfields Railway’ in 1899-1900 (WAGR Annual Report, 1900: 2), and included, at that time, the lines from Northam to Kalgoorlie, the Boulder Loopline Railway, and the lines from Kalgoorlie to Kanowna and Menzies). Before the line had reached Southern Cross however, the Coolgardie, and then Kalgoorlie, gold finds were made. The line to Southern Cross was opened on 1 July 1894, and tenders were called for the construction of the line from Southern Cross to Coolgardie. The Wilkie Brothers won the contract with a price of £64,000 compared to the next closest tender of £150,000. The Wilkies gambled on finishing the line quickly and then making money operating it until it was time to hand over to the Government. Handover time was set at November 1896 (Gunzberg and Austin, 1997: 206; Le Page, n.d.: 221-225; Webb, 1993: 208-211). At this point, there was no intention to extend the line to Kalgoorlie, but the Kalgoorlie Miner and local mine owners and businessmen began a campaign to have the line taken the extra 24 miles. Plans were already underway to construct a branch line to Menzies, and both Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie were vying to be the junction for this line and thus become the centre of the railway system and the centre of the eastern goldfields. One argument for the extension was that it would allow the import of heavy machinery for the opening up of deep mines on the Golden Mile (Wilson, 1977: 173; Webb, 1993: 208-211 and 288-293). In September 1895, a bill was passed to extend the railway line to Kalgoorlie. The Wilkie Brothers were contracted to immediately continue on when the line reached Coolgardie, which it did on 23 March 1896. The railway line reached Kalgoorlie on 8 September 1896. Included in the contract for the Eastern Goldfields line was the construction of railway station buildings, but the Wilkies had been so busy operating the line for maximum profit that almost all the ballasting and most of the station buildings and goods sheds were still to be constructed, including Kalgoorlie Railway Station. Official handover of the railway line was affected on 31 December 1896 (or 1 January 1897) (Note: various dates are reported for this handover depending on the source. It is not always clear what is being handed over, eg. section of line, entire line, station, etc. Dates can vary by months, but these two dates appear to refer to the station (sources are local histories, and ‘A Brief History of the Western Australian Government Railways, WAGR, 1975). The Government transferred staff to Kalgoorlie on 31 December ready to take up their new duties at Kalgoorlie Railway Station, but a report in the Morning Herald of 1 January 1897 stated that ‘in regard to the accommodation of the Government staff, it will take another fortnight at least before the new railway station is completed’ (Webb, 1993: 303; Gunzberg and Austin, 1997: 238). In 1897, less than twelve months after the line was opened, it was reported in the Annual Report of the Railways Department that traffic to the goldfields ‘had largely increased’, and duplication of the line from Northam to Kalgoorlie was under consideration (Railway Department Annual Report, 1897: 19). By 1900, the Coolgardie/Kalgoorlie duplication was underway (Railway Department Annual Report, 1900: 17, 19 & 36). It was reported in 1900, that 80% of the traffic on the Eastern Goldfields line passed through Kalgoorlie. In 1904, there were 161 people employed at the Kalgoorlie Railway Yards, including forty-five in the Goods section, as compared to 431 in Perth and 239 at Fremantle (Railway Department Annual Report, 1904: 82). In 1920, decentralised control and supervision was introduced, with responsibility for the Eastern Goldfields line being transferred to Kalgoorlie (Railway Department Annual Report, 1902: 24). Kalgoorlie Railway Station has been extended and altered internally a number of times over the years, but few WAGR files have survived to document these changes. The traffic through the station considerably lessened after World War One when gold mining went into a decline. Later, road transport had an adverse impact on the place as it did on all rail services. A major change to Kalgoorlie Railway Station occurred when the standard gauge line to Perth was opened in 1968. Previous to this, passengers travelling between Perth and the eastern states had changed trains at Kalgoorlie, between the standard gauge line of the eastern states and the narrower West Australian gauge line. Following the construction of a standard gauge line through to Perth, Kalgoorlie Railway Station had less use and some of its services, including the Refreshment Room, were closed. All goods services were transferred to the West Kalgoorlie station at this time. In 2001, Kalgoorlie Railway Station is little used in comparison to its heyday. Two passenger trains utilise a small section of the long platform on a regular basis. The Prospector makes a daily round trip between Perth and Kalgoorlie, and the Indian Pacific passes through twice a week.

Integrity/Authenticity

Integrity: High Authenticity: Moderate to High

Condition

Good

Associations

Name Association Type Date From Date To
WAGR Previous Owner - -

References

Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Le Page, J. S. H; "Building a State: The Story of the Public Works Department of Western Australia, 1829-1985". p.221-225 Perth, University of Western Australia Press, Perth. Undated
Webb M; "Golden Destiny: The Centenary History of Kalgoorlie–Boulder and the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia". p. 208-211, 288-293, 303 City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Kalgoorlie. 1993
Wilson, H. H; "The Golden Miles". p.173 Rigby 1977
Gunzberg, A. and Austin; "Rails Through the Bush". p. 238 Light Railway Research Society of Australia, Melbourne. 1997
"Railway Department Annual Report". p.24 WAGR 1902
"Railway Department Annual Report". p.17,19 & 36 WAGR 1900

State Heritage Office library entries

ISBN Number Title Medium Year of Publication
Images CD No. 10 : Station Master's House Wongan Hills; District Engineers House; Wongan Hills Railway Barracks & Cuballing Civic Group. C D Rom 2002
Railway superintendent's residence (former), 2 Forrest Street, Kalgoorlie : conservation plan. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2002

Place Type

Individual Building or Group

Uses

Epoch General Specific
Present VACANT\UNUSED Vacant\Unused
Original Transport\Communications Rail: Office or Administration Bldg

Architectural Styles

Style
Federation Bungalow

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall BRICK Common Brick

Historic Themes

General Specific
TRANSPORT & COMMUNICATIONS Rail & light rail transport

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Viewing Status

Approved

Last Update

28 Aug 2013

Disclaimer

This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.