The Kalgoorlie gold-stealing days
The first spectacular gold finds of the early 1890s, in the Boulder region, also founded our state's mining boom-towns of Coolgardie, Boulder and Kalgoorlie.
Gold stealing was rife on the Kalgoorlie goldfields almost from the day the first prospector arrived there. Gold-miners would smuggle out what gold they could while working and the thieving was commonly regarded as a miner's privilege.
Everyone seemed to be profiting from the proceeds of gold stealing, much to the frustration of the mining companies and despair of the local police, who were simply unable to keep up with the number of complaints they received.
Gold Stealing Unit formed
The crisis escalated, to the point a Royal Commission was set up in 1906. The result was the formation of a Gold Stealing Squad in 1907 – police who would be funded by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy for the specific purpose of tracking down gold thieves, traffickers and illegal smugglers.
Sorting evidence, Pitman and Walsh investigation, 1926
Kalgoorlie Police Station staff
GSDU policing the gold industry
Western Australia now produces up to 75 per cent of Australia's gold each year extracting 256 tonnes of gold per annum (2008) and, in the past year, it was worth $12.06billion to the state.
Throughout its long history the Gold Stealing Detection Unit (GSDU) has left an indelible mark on the gold industry of Western Australia and beyond.
An extensive record of successful investigations throughout the state, nationally and even internationally has firmly established the reputation of the 'Gold Squad.'
Report suspicious activity
Anyone can report any suspicious activity or information to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or call the GSDU on (08) 9091 5222.