Gold Stealing

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

Gold Detection Unit

The GSDU provides a dedicated specialist investigative service to the gold industry in Western Australia. The unit investigates offences related to the theft of gold and gold mining equipment throughout WA and other states, when necessary.

With frequent patrols, the GSDU also provides the only regular policing service to many isolated gold mining operations.

As a recognised authority on both gold theft and the security of gold, the GSDU provides advice and training to national and international law enforcement agencies and gold producers.

The functions of the GSDU are:

  • Security Services - providing clearances, mine site visitations, education, inspections, security advice, training and security reviews aimed at the prevention of gold theft; and
  • Investigations - response and investigation aimed at the detection, apprehension and prosecution of offenders involved in gold theft.

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 $12.06 billion 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) 9022 5770.