Records of celebrations marking the centenary of the discovery of gold at Coolgardie were buried in a time capsule in the old Ghost Mining Town today.
Mines Minister Gordon Hill also unveiled a plaque marking the original site where Arthur Bayley and William Ford discovered gold 100 years ago.
"In those days, prospecting was essential to the survival of the infant colony of Western Australia, and indeed Australia itself," Mr Hill said.
"But prospecting was far from a glamorous pursuit. It was dirty, dangerous and back-breaking work with little reward for the majority of diggers.
"The discovery of gold in Coolgardie, and a year later at Kalgoorlie, ensured the future of the colony."
Mr Hill said mining remained the mainstay of the Western Australian economy.
Royalties paid by the mining and petroleum industries were enough to maintain the State's police force for a year, build four secondary and ten primary schools and construct 20 kilometres of two-lane highway.
"The total value of production from these two industries last financial year was an enormous $12 billion," Mr Hill said.
"More than 36,000 people are directly employed in both sectors, and another 100,000 indirectly."