Koolyanobbing – Place of large rocks.

At the turn of the century, it was the thirst for gold that led prospectors to the Koolyanobbing area. Today, it is Iron Ore mining that continues.

In 1887, prospector Henry Dowd became the first mineral prospector to visit the area and he did not return until 1891 and thought “the rock was without value”. Mr Dowd placed a transcript of his findings in a bottle and buried it on a hill at the foot of a surveying peg. The bottle was not found until 1963 on what is now known as Dowd Hill and the transcript can be seen at the Historical Museum.

In 1960, BHP obtained a lease for the area after considerable iron ore deposits were found. Quarry operations began in 1967 on Dowd Hill with the main deposit containing approximately 60 million tonnes of Ironstone.

A township was established at Koolyanobbing to cater for the mining workforce. Approximately 400-500 people had access to a school, club, swimming pool, hall and general store. In 1983 mining ceased due to economic reasons.

The Koolyanobbing Mining Operation recommenced in 1993/94 by Portman Mining Venture. Portman’s mining model was to run the mining operations as a FIFO workforce and as such during 1994/95 most of the buildings were sold, removed and replaced with single person’s quarters.

Cliffs Natural Resources acquired the operation from Portman in December 2008 and in 2018 Mineral Resources commenced mining at Koolyanobbing and Windarling.

Salt is also mined in Koolyanobbing at Lake Deborah and Lake Seabrook for mostly domestic use.

Points of interest:

  • Koolyanobbing Mine
  • Dowd Hill
  • Lake Seabrook lookout
  • Bungalbin Ranges (spectacular scenery & views)

Please note that the townsite of Koolyanobbing is a mining camp and as such no access is allowed to the public past the townsite. As it is an operating mine site, tourists must obey all signage and directions given by the mine operators.