The Rise and Fall of Big Bell: Western Australia's Abandoned Ghost Town

The Rise and Fall of Big Bell: Western Australia’s Abandoned Ghost Town

Can you imagine the rise and fall of a bustling town in less than 20 years?

Explore the fascinating story of Big Bell, a once-thriving gold rush town in Western Australia that now stands as a haunting reminder of its former glory. Discover the rise and fall of this forgotten town and the remnants that still remain today.

The Rise and Fall of Big Bell: Western Australia's Abandoned Ghost Town

In the early 1900s, Western Australia experienced a gold rush that attracted people from all over the world. While Kalgoorlie was the epicentre of this frenzy, other settlements like Gwalia, Kookynie, Ora Banda, Cue, and Big Bell also saw an influx of hopeful prospectors. Big Bell, located in the Gascoyne Murchison region, was established in 1936 to support the Big Bell Mine operated by Premier Gold Mining Company. Like many mining towns, it quickly grew into a thriving community with various amenities such as a theatre, schools, churches, a recreational park, a police station, and shops. At its peak, Big Bell boasted a population of 850, but its prosperity would not last.

Unfortunately, the town met an untimely demise in 1955 when the Big Bell Mine abandoned its mining efforts. The once-bustling settlement quickly became deserted, leaving behind a ghost town frozen in time. Today, Big Bell stands as a stark reminder of its former existence, with the remnants of its buildings scattered across the red land. Concrete slabs mark the spots where houses once stood, while twisted scrap metal serves as a haunting reminder of the town’s industrial past. Despite its decay, nature breathes life into the ghost town, with dispersed trees, wildflowers, and local wildlife bringing a sense of eerie beauty to the abandoned landscape.

Among the dilapidated buildings, the town’s hotel stands as a prominent relic of its past. With its half-demolished red-brick exterior, the hotel blends with the sandy surroundings, mirroring the town’s faded glory. Once a bustling taproom with the longest bar top in the country, the hotel now lies in ruins, with scattered bricks and wood telling tales of a bygone era. Graffiti adorns the walls, a testament to the presence of explorers who have ventured into this forgotten place. Another notable structure is the stone brick church, its roof long gone and its windows empty. A makeshift crucifix hangs on its plastered wall, a haunting symbol of its past devotion.

Despite its abandonment, Big Bell still offers visitors a glimpse into its past. The town’s former nurse quarters were relocated to Cue in 1958 and now serve as budget accommodation in the Cue Tourist Park. Exploring the ghost town is a haunting experience, as visitors can wander through its empty streets and imagine what life was like when Big Bell was a thriving community.

For those seeking more historical and cultural experiences, a visit to Walga Rock is highly recommended. Located 36 kilometres away from Big Bell, this natural attraction houses the largest collection of Indigenous rock paintings in Western Australia. With almost 1000 intact drawings, Walga Rock provides a deeper connection to the region’s ancient past.

In the end, Big Bell stands as a testament to the impermanence of human endeavors. Its rise and fall are a reflection of the fleeting nature of boomtowns, where fortunes can be made and lost in an instant. While Big Bell may have lasted less than 20 years, its memory lives on as a captivating piece of Western Australia’s history.

The Rise and Fall of Big Bell: Western Australia's Abandoned Ghost Town

  • Big Bell, an abandoned ghost town in Western Australia, was once a bustling gold rush settlement.
  • Established in 1936 to support the Big Bell Mine, the town boasted a thriving community and various amenities.
  • After the mine closed in 1955, Big Bell quickly became a deserted ghost town, leaving behind remnants of its former existence.
  • Today, visitors can explore the town’s dilapidated buildings and get a glimpse into its past.
  • Nearby attractions such as Walga Rock offer additional historical and cultural experiences.

The Rise and Fall of Big Bell: Western Australia's Abandoned Ghost Town

Big Bell, the abandoned ghost town of Western Australia, serves as a haunting reminder of the region’s gold rush era. With its dilapidated buildings and remnants of its former existence, Big Bell offers visitors a glimpse into the past. From exploring its empty streets to venturing to nearby attractions like Walga Rock, there are endless opportunities to immerse oneself in the history and culture of this forgotten town. So, are you ready to step back in time and discover the secrets of Big Bell?

By Paul Hughes

Paul Hughes is an accomplished travel journalist known for his captivating stories and insightful exploration of destinations worldwide. With a deep love for travel and a curiosity for different cultures, Paul has embarked on countless adventures, immersing himself in diverse landscapes and communities. His wanderlust led him to pursue a career in travel journalism, where he skillfully captures the essence of each place he visits.