A project from the National Trust of WA
A self-guided drive trail between the Perth Hills and Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields. Go with the Flow. Follow the water to discover more about the audacious goldfields water supply scheme and Engineer CY O’Connor.
“Future generations, I am quite certain will think of us and bless us for our far seeing patriotism, and it will be said of us, as Isaiah said of old, ‘They made a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert”
Baandee Lakes has been mined for both salt and gypsum over the years.
Aboriginal men from a reserve not too far from Baandee Lakes often scraped salt from the lakes to sell to the local farmers for their animals. The reserve was established in 1933 north of Great Eastern Highway near the old Goldfields Road between Kellerberrin and Doodlakine and was called Jureen Mission.
The work was hard and unpleasant. In the bright sun, the glare from the salt was blinding. It was not particularly well paid work and the income could not be declared because at the time an Aboriginal person in receipt of any income, no matter how small, would lose their rights to weekly rations needed to feed the family.
In the 1930s it was found that Baandee Lakes were rich in gypsum. The gypsum was shovelled by hand out of the lakes and into skips which ran over light rails to the lake’s edge. From there it was trucked to Doodlakine before being railed to Perth. The industry flourished for about 30 years until continual flooding of the lakes made the gypsum extraction just too hard.
Click on any map section or place below to discover The Golden Pipeline.