We celebrated one of the nation’s biggest gold rushes at the official opening of Kalgoorlie’s #heartofgold Discovery Trail over the weekend, which saw scores of locals, tourists, students and families alike joining in the fun.

Credit: ABC Goldfields-Esperance - Jarrod Lucas

The adventure trail is the second of its kind, following the successful launch of Perth's gold trail in October 2017. Telling the stories of the Goldfields in a unique and interactive way and highlighting the importance of gold in shaping Western Australia and the rest of the nation, the new virtual journey educates and delights people of all ages. 

Despite a week of dreary weather in the lead up, Saturday’s launch was all shine. The event kicked off with a stirring Welcome to Country by Wongutha Elder Trevor Brownley and performance by the Brownley Gospel Singers at the Kalgoorlie Town Hall. Gold Industry Group Chairman Richard Hayes provided the welcome address, followed by speeches from Member for Mining and Pastoral, Hon. Kyle McGinn MLC and City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor, John Bowler. 

Paddy himself would have been glowing with pride to see so many people clamouring to snap their photo with the replica gold bar, which was unveiled outside Market Arcade to mark the official starting point. After the unveiling, it was time to set out on the new trail. 

Eager trailblazers delved into augmented reality treasure hunts, watched exclusive videos from gold mines nearby, discovered the evolution of gold mining with interactive widgets and uncovered untold audio stories on their journey through the historic town, via the free Heart of Gold Australia app. 

After visiting 11 locations of golden significance, around 1,000 visistors and locals wound their way to the top of Hannan Street to finish at the Museum of the Goldfields, where a host of exciting, family-friendly activities awaited. 

After claiming their commemorative #heartofgold medallion, young and old participated in a day of golden themed fun; including a treasure hunt, face painting, gold panning, traditional games, rock identification and gold detecting, a virtual reality experience, and sporting challenges with former Ausdrill Hockeyroos captain Madonna Blyth and former West Coast Eagles player Sam Butler. 

Among the most popular was the Gold Fields’ treasure hunt, where children dived into the sand pit to find 10 golden keys which opened a special treasure chest full of prizes. Others were intrigued as they identified rocks and tried their hand at gold detecting with Northern Star Resources, and kids and adults were in awe as they stepped inside a gold mine using virtual reality with the WA School of Mines. 

Early trailblazers were rewarded even further for their golden quest, with the first 250 to finish receiving their own Heart of Gold cap and Perth Mint gold bar iPhone cover. Participants also posted their trail pictures to social media and rang into the local radio station during specific cues, in the hopes of scoring one of two gold iPad Minis, with lucky winners Amanda Walker and Brett Forde taking home the prizes.

Here’s what some of our trailblazers had to say: 
Wonderful idea, thanks.” 5 Star Rating – Geraldine, Local
"Really fantastic idea to celebrate Kalgoorlie's 125th birthday." 5 Star Rating - Jayde, Student
"The app and the trail is amazing, tells you everything there is to know about local history. What a wonderful experience. I loved it, thank you." 5 Star Rating -  Susan, Local
It was great.” 5 Star Rating – Reagan, Student
Cool!” 5 Star Rating – Hugh, Tourist

In addition to the new virtual walking trail, visitors can continue their journey exploring the region by car to 15 points of interest using the app. Some of these include Hannans North Tourist Mine, the Super Pit, Mount Charlotte, Eastern Goldfields Historical Society, Paddy Hannan's Tree, Coolgardie and Kanowna.

Moreover, lesson plans linked to the Australian Curriculum have been created in conjunction with the Kalgoorlie #heartofgold Discovery Trail to join the existing School Program. Developed for years 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 the lesson plans are available to download in Teacher's Resources.

The trail and its launch were made possible by the following members: major sponsor Saracen Mineral Holdings; replica sponsor The Perth Mint; trail and school program sponsors Gold Fields, Northern Star Resources, Silver Lake Resources, Ausdrill, St Barbara Limited, Gold Road Resources and AngloGold Ashanti Australia; and trail sponsors City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Mining Education Australia.

To embark on the Kalgoorlie #heartofgold Discovery Trail yourself, download the free Heart of Gold Australia app from iTunes or Google Play and discover Australia's golden stories.

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