We emerged from the Nullarbor and turned right at Norseman for Kalgoolie, where we expected to spend maybe a few days. But "Kal"turned out to be rather a mixed bag. The town has some wonderful 19 century buildings and is still obviously very wealthy, but extremely expensive, as are most towns involved in the mining boom, and not really "our kind of town". Why? Well, one of the first thing we noticed were bars on shop windows everywhere, obviously a place with a very high crime rate. Then we had trouble finding an even half decent place to have lunch, in spite of "Kal" being the second largest city in WA, and one where money is obviously not in short supply, people there would rather spend their cash on shiny new utes, booze or greasy take away rather than on dainty morsels.
We did, none the less experience something dainty in the shape of Madame Carmen, the owner/manager of "Questa Casa", the oldest brothel in Kal. we thought," in Rome do as the Roman do",brothels are an integral part of the history of the town, so why not take advantage of the conducted tour offered? And may be there would be free samples at the end.
Madame Carmen, an extremely posh lady, gave us a fascinating insight into the old fashion world of the kalgoorie brothel. Nineteen years ago, Carmen was looking for something to do to get her out of the deep depression she was experiencing after the death of her husband. Her doctor suggested she tried to find some new direction to her life. As a joke, a friend sent her the "for sale " brochure of the brothel. She flew to Kalgoolie from Queensland, and bought it, more or less on impulse. When she told her doctor the new direction to her life was going to be running a brothel the doctor exclaimed "oh! I meant for you to get involved in charity work!" Madame Carmen was a fascinating story teller and we would recommend the tour to anyone in Kal, but, unfortunately, no free samples!
A stay in Kal, is not complete without a visit to the "superpit". Those huge trucks and bulldozers look like toys, driving up and down the jaw-droppingly big pit. All this energy just to get bits of gold out of the ground does not really inspire us, but the sheer magnitude of the mining pit is phenomenal.
So, having ticked the super pit and the Hay Street brothels, we said :" let's move on!"