Southern Cross

Southern Cross is the major town centre of the Shire of Yilgarn, located 370km along the Great Eastern Highway, east of Perth.  Southern Cross can be seen as either the last town on the edge of the wheatbelt or the first town of the Eastern Goldfields.

The town of Southern Cross owes a lot to the discovery of gold and to Tom Riseley and Mick Toomey, who named the area after the Southern Cross, the constellation they used to help them navigate their way when travelling at night.

Southern Cross became a gazetted frontier town in 1890 and has the first regional courthouse (1891). It was in this building that Arthur Bayley registered the claim which subsequently became the rich fields at Coolgardie in 1892; Paddy Hannan took out his Miner’s Right before he made his famous discovery in 1893; and the first claim on the Lake Dundas (Norseman) goldfields was registered in 1894.

Once upon a time, all traffic to the Eastern Goldfields had to pass through Southern Cross, with most travelling by foot, horse or camel. By 1893, Southern Cross had become a municipality and in 1894 the railway arrived from Perth linking the town to the coast. When Arthur Bayley rode into Southern Cross with 554 oz of gold which he had found at Fly Flat (now Coolgardie), the miners who were working the hard Southern Cross reef fold literally disappeared overnight and moved to the more lucrative eastern fields.

Like many Goldfields towns, Southern Cross developed wide streets so that camel trains could turn around. However, unlike other towns, it names its streets after stellar associations – Sirius Street, Altair Street, Centaur Street, Orion Street, Spica Street etc.

A great time of year to visit is wildflower season (August – October) where visitors can experience a myriad of colours. The town of Southern Cross is also home to some beautiful and historic architectural buildings including The Masonic Lodge, the museum and historic hotel, Palace Hotel.

Southern Cross Map.

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