Shire of Laverton
37km WSW of Laverton
Gold was first discovered near the present town site of Mt Morgans in 1896 by Harry Lilley’s prospecting party.
A year later the lease was sold to Alfred Edward Morgans who represented a British syndicate. Morgans renamed the operation the Westralia Morgans Mine, floating the shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Gazetted in 1899, the town was named after Morgans, who was to become Member for Coolgardie and in 1901 served as Premier of Western Australia.
By 1903 Mt Morgans’ population reached 1,250 and the town had more than 500 buildings including six hotels, a hospital, a workers’ hall, police station, four general stores, five specialist retailers, a school and two pharmacies.
In 1911 the town’s biggest employer, the Westralia Morgans Mine, went into liquidation. A new company took over the lease and by 1914 the mine was back in production until 1928.
Production from the area was very intermittent but the townsite survived until 1952. Employing modern open cut mining methods, the mine reopened in 1988 for nine years and, after another long closure, went back into production in 2009. The mine still produces gold today.
Although the old town site is now home to modern mining company buildings, the restored Mt Morgans Municipal Chambers remain, along with the cemetery and part of the old railway station platform.
Near Mt Morgans:
Gold was discovered in the area in the mid-1890s and Mt Margaret was gazetted in 1897. The State Government at first wanted to use the Aboriginal name Kalgara for the townsite, but in the end it was named after a nearby hill that had been named in 1869 by John Forrest in honour of his future wife, Margaret Elvire Hamersley.
The town had declined by 1899 after the rise of nearby Mt Morgans.
The Mt Margaret Aboriginal Mission was founded in 1922 under the auspices of the United Aborigines Mission. In 1976 the mission became the Mt Margaret Aboriginal Community.