George Cash

George Cash


    Kalgoorlie landmarks entered in heritage register (A/Min)

    31/08/1994 12:00 AM



    Acting Heritage Minister George Cash said today the historic significance of three Kalgoorlie landmarks, including a hotel involved in a notorious 1920s crime, have been recognised.


    Mr Cash said the Kalgoorlie Town Hall and Council Chambers, the Boulder Town Hall and the Cornwall Hotel in Boulder had been entered into the State Register of Heritage Places.


    The interim register entries, recommended by the Heritage Council of Western Australia, recognised the significant role the buildings played in the State's history.


    "The Cornwall Hotel, built in 1898, was a landmark in the area and had a long and colourful history," Mr Cash said.


    He said the hotel was particularly noted for its association with the 1926 murders of Detective Sergeant Alexander Pitman and Inspector John Walsh.


    "The murders caused quite a sensation at the time due to their gruesome nature and while there are conflicting reports about the hotel's involvement, the licensee was convicted as an accessory after the fact."


    The hotel was also caught up in another notorious local event when it was extensively damaged by fire during the 1934 Kalgoorlie race riots.


    "Simmering resentment and threat of unemployment on the Goldfields began to be directed at the Italian and Slav communities and an incident on the Australia Day weekend triggered three days of fighting.


    "The mob commandeered trams to Boulder where they burnt buildings used by `foreigners', including the Cornwall Hotel."


    The hotel was restored to its original condition after the riots and operated as a hotel until it closed in 1976.


    Local sporting identity Jack Osmetti ran the Cornwall for more than 50 years.


    In 1987 it was restored to its present condition which closely resembled photographs taken around 1900.


    Mr Cash said the Kalgoorlie Town Hall and Council Chambers had been associated with Kalgoorlie's major municipal, civic, social and cultural activities for more than 80 years.


    "The building is evidence of the wealth, civic pride and communal confidence generated by the Kalgoorlie Goldfields community at the turn of the century.


    "The building is both a familiar physical landmark in Hannan Street and a social landmark in the Goldfields community."


    "It is an impressive federation free classical structure in a city possessing many fine examples of exuberant Gold Boom architecture.


    "It contributes strongly to the famous Hannan Street landscape."


    The Boulder Town Hall was also recognised for its historic and social significance and its design.


    Mr Cash said the hall was an impressive example of an administrative and civic building designed in the Gold Boom federation free classical style.


    "The imposing form of the hall, complete with its tall clock tower and its prominent position at the intersection of Burt and Brookman Streets has been a focal point of the Boulder township since 1908.


    "The drop curtain in the elaborately detailed interior was painted by Phil W. Goatcher and is a rare surviving example of his art work in WA."


    He said the building's scale and stature reflected the confidence of Boulder's civic leaders in the continued prosperity and growth of their town.


    Media contact:  Caroline Lacy (09) 222 9211 or Alison Maggs, Heritage Council of WA public affairs (09) 221 4177