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Norseman is very much a part of the historic goldfields with the first discovery of gold in 1892 but because the gold here is located in hard quartz reef and not alluvial, this area did not attract the same number of prospectors as Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. The first township established was actually Dundas which was approximately 22km south of Norseman, there was also a smaller community established at Princess Royal which was approximately 5km east of Norseman.

Gold Mining

Laurie and Horse

The discovery of a rich gold reef by Laurie Sinclair in 1894 as a result of his horse 'Norseman' uncovering a piece of gold bearing quartz, caused a town to be established and named in honour of the horse.

Since then a rich history of gold mining has developed with numerous mines operating over the years and many ounces of gold being extracted. There have been boom and bust periods, fluctuating levels of population and over the years many different nationalities have made their homes here.

Early Pioneers

Roberts Street in the early 1900’s

The early pioneers had a very tough life. Water was always a challenge with condensers being set up on the salt lakes to assist in addressing the issue and the towns people relied on camel trains to bring supplies. For the women, raising their children with very little or no medical services, providing meals with basic cooking facilities and scant fresh food, it was very hard work and often heartbreaking.

Ngadju people

Ngadju dancers Photo: © Lynn Webb
Ngadju dancer Photo: © Russell Smith

The Ngadju people are the traditional owners of the land in the shire of Dundas. The following is a brief history of the Ngadju provided by Mr James Schultz.

The Ngadju people were very hostile, had their own dialect and were very very important people. They were known as the Song & Dance people and whenever another tribal group wanted a new song or dance they went to the Ngadju.

The Ngadju Elders showed the visitors the song and dance only once then the visitors had to learn the routine and return home.

The Ngadju were and still are a very powerful and prominent people. They possessed the white flint rock which made a spark when struck together and the Ngadju carried the stones when travelling far and wide and would make a spark at night. After surrounding others and making the sparks it would bring enormous fear to whoever had done them wrong, for the people knew immediately who was present.

Nobody dared enter upon Ngadju boundary, which was marked by their tree (Pugarn). Other tribal groups were only invited during ceremony.

Stamp Battery
Regent headframe with mining crew Photo: © Lynn Webb
Early prospectors headframe