The Committee for Perth's Cultural Compact research outlined the ways in which arts and culture can be part of everyday lives of Western Australians, markers of the past needed to be visible. With Perth's first boom driven by a gold rush, the Gold Industry Group has launched the #heartofgold Discovery Trail starting at Elizabeth Quay. The Trail takes visitors on a journey through the city of Perth, educating locals and tourists on the role gold has played in the development of the city of Perth.

Western Australians have long treasured their gold mining heritage. We have admired the courage, tenacity and sheer grit of those who laboured in the harsh and hot goldfields during the first gold rush in early 1890s.

In October 2017, the Gold Industry Group was pleased to bring our mining heritage to life for a new generation of Western Australians and tourists visiting Perth, with the launch of the Heart of Gold Discovery Trail at Elizabeth Quay. More than 1,500 people braved the cold weather to be the first to experience Perth’s virtual gold trail. The launch celebrated the significant role gold has played and continues to play in the development of WA.

Member for Perth, John Carey MLA, unveiled a replica of the famous Golden Eagle nugget in Elizabeth Quay, marking the opening and start of the trail, which takes visitors on a journey through the city of Perth to the historic grounds of the Perth Mint. The free, 2.5km self-guided walking tour is available via the Heart of Gold Australia app, which transports visitors back in time to the early gold rushes with augmented reality, remarkable audio stories and timeless photographs.

The trail will excite and entertain people of all ages who visit the city, as they learn the story of gold and how it has shaped the cityscape and helped underpin our state’s economy for generations. The Heart of Gold Discovery Trail also provides valuable education opportunities, with teachers of year 5 and year 9 students encouraged to make use of curriculum support materials developed to combine learning with technology and an outdoor experience.

Through the generation of wealth and creation of jobs, gold mining contributed more than $13.4 billion to the economy last financial year. Research conducted by Deloitte Access Economics in May 2017 further underlined the significant contribution of the gold industry to our social and economic fabric.

Exploration is the lifeblood of our industry. Without new discoveries, gold production will diminish over time. In the past five years, greenfield minerals exploration expenditure has declined by almost 70 per cent. However, of all expenditure on mineral exploration in Australia last year, gold explorers and miners invested close to 50 per cent, which was valued at $617.6 million. The Gold Industry Group is determined to ensure all Australians understand and value our golden heritage.

Next year will mark 125 years since Paddy Hannan, Thomas Flanagan and Dan O’Shea found gold at the base of Mt Charlotte, sparking the biggest gold rush in Western Australia’s history. At the time, more than 25,000 men and women from around the world descended on what is now known as the Golden Mile to seek their fortune.  

To celebrate this anniversary and honour those brave prospectors, a second gold trail will be launched by the Gold Industry Group in Kalgoorlie-Boulder in 2018. Kalgoorlie-Boulder is where it all started and today it remains the richest source of gold in the world. 

Working closely with industry, local businesses, schools and the wider community on engagement and education projects like these, we will continue the legacy of Australian gold for generations to come.