The town, roughly mid-way between Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun on the sealed road was once a thriving, busy place, all because Baldy Halbert found some alluvial gold in 1899. The next year, whilst out kangaroo shooting in the hills, the Dallison brothers came across gold where a mallee hen had been scratching for its mound. They opened the first mine which they called Harbour View as they could see the breakers on the reefs down in Hopetoun. Gold, silver and copper in various quantities were mined. First called Dallison’s Find, Kundip was officially gazetted in 1901, with a population of 89.
All goods came into and out of Hopetoun, by ship, horse and donkey teams. In the years 1906-07 ships delivered 1,000 t of cargo a month into Hopetoun. Kundip became a sort of halfway stop between Hopetoun and Ravensthorpe, once the railway was built. There were railway barracks and a station on the Steere River, used by the first locomotive which arrived by sea in 1907 from Kirrup in the State’s south west.The locomotives used Newcastle (NSW) coal in preference to Collie (WA) coal!
In its heydays, Kundip sported a Half Way Hotel, 43 businesses, and private homes, shops, school, churches, hall, bakery, tinsmith, engineer, assay offices, blacksmith, billiard saloon, tennis courts and a poultry farm.
The bubble didn’t last long: the school closed in 1915 but people kept on living in Kundip till 1923. A resurgence in mining activities in 1936 briefly brought new life to the struggling township with a school operating again from the local hall which was eventually relocated in 1949 to Hopetoun and used as town hall there until 2014. However, the end was nigh, with shipping ceasing in 1937, and the railway long gone.
By 2001, just over a 100 years after its birth, Kundip was well and truly a ghost town with very little left to indicate its once busy state. However, the town's centenary was grandly celebrated that year, in conjunction with the opening of the Kundip to Desmond railway heritage walk.
The combined Kundip mines produced a total of 45,508.77 fine ounces of gold between 1903 and 1948. Copper and silver were also produced. Today a rest area is nestled in the trees on the site of the former town (RHS archives).
(Extract from the booklet Kundip 1901-2001© compiled & printed February 2001 by R. Goldfinch.)Back to History