Menzies & Surrounds
The gateway to Lake Ballard, Menzies is one of Western Australia’s most historic gold boom towns, now home to approximately 150 citizens.
Gold was first discovered here in 1894 by an American adventurer, Robert Menzie, and his mates. Their first discovery was to become the very rich and famous Lady Shenton mine, the primary catalyst for the establishment of a thriving township, officially gazetted as Menzies on the 20th December 1895. At its height, Menzies is believed to have had around 10,000 residents and was the unofficial capital of the North Coolgardie Goldfields. It was linked by rail to Kalgoorlie in 1898, and the region thrived for about a decade until the gold began to run out, or become too expensive to mine.
Unlike dozens of other gold rush boom towns, Menzies did not die and totally disappear from the map. After the big gold mines closed, it was sustained by the growing pastoral industry and by independent prospectors. But, ultimately, most of the town’s buildings were dismantled and relocated elsewhere, leaving just a few significant buildings on Shenton Street, including the charming Italianate Menzies Town Hall, with a clock tower that didn’t have a clock until the year 2000. It’s an intriguing story.
Today, Lake Ballard is not the only visitor attraction within the Shire of Menzies. Indeed, several key sites within the Shire are featured on the award-winning Golden Quest Discovery Trail, including the historic Menzies Cemetery, Niagara Dam, Kookynie and Snake Hill (at the western end of Lake Ballard).
You can easily spend at least two rewarding days exploring attractions within the Shire of Menzies.
In Menzies, on your way to or from Lake Ballard, you can:
- Enjoy “great coffee and the widest selection of cakes in the Northern Goldfields” at the ACHIEVABLE OUTBACK CAFE, Shenton Street (8.30am-4.30pm daily)
- Enjoy a pub lunch or dinner at the MENZIES HOTEL on Shenton Street, as well as purchase standard provisions such as milk and bread
- Visit the VISITOR CENTRE in the former Lady Shenton Hotel on Shenton Street
- Take a stroll on the MENZIES HERITAGE TRAIL around the town, featuring sites of Indigenous and European significance (look out for the striking cast-iron cut-outs)
- Spend a night or two at the MENZIES CARAVAN PARK on Shenton Street