Karalee Rocks

Agri, Mining and Industry

Only 4 kilometres north of the highway, hidden by low scrub in a region with less than 260 millimetres of rain a year, is an earth tank capable of holding nearly 50 million litres of water.

It is believed that Charles Hunt was responsible for the construction of a well and a dam at the base of Karalee Rocks in the 1860’s. With the discovery of gold this became a regular stopping place and was officially gazetted as a water reserve in 1888. At some stage a second well was sunk.

By 1895 some 600 teams and 4,000 horses were regularly making the 4.5 day trip between Southern Cross and Coolgardie. Most stopped for water. At the same time construction of the railway was underway. One of the wells was deepened, but it was not enough.

Karalee Rocks offered an ideal water catchment area of some 71 hectares. A stone wall was erected around the base of the rocks, directing the run-off into an inlet channel. From there a steel aqueduct, or flume, carried the water to the tank. The sight of the massive aqueduct, seemingly so out of context in this environment, never fails to impress.

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