History

The land now known as Halls Creek has been occupied for thousands of years. The land is crossed by songlines and trading paths stretching from the coasts to the deserts, some passing near the modern town.

The story of that long occupation remains alive today and it is revealed in the culture of the Jaru, Kija, Kukatja, Walmajarri, Gooniyandi and other indigenous people who live in the Shire of Halls Creek.

That ancient world changed late in the 1800's with the arrival of Europeans, searching for minerals for wealth and land for cattle. On Christmas Day 1885 prospector Charlie Hall found a huge 28-ounce (nearly 1 kilogram) gold nugget at a site that would eventually be named after him.

News of the discovery drew more than 15,000 people to what is now Old Halls Creek to try their luck. It proved an inhospitable land for these people and the graves of some can be found in Old Town's small cemetery.

The gold rush lasted less than three months and Halls Creek became a trading centre for cattle stations, aboriginal communities and miners who stayed in the area. The post office with its telegraph line that terminated here, the police station, government office, racecourse and stores gave the town a purpose.

In 1918 the Australian Inland Mission built a hospital and the old town struggled on, short of inhabitants and water. In 1948 an airfield was built near the site of the present town and over the next decade the old town moved nearer to this new site. Except for the police station, which finally relocated in 1961, the old town was abandoned by 1954.

The new town of Halls Creek is one of the largest predominantly indigenous communities in Australia. It is a friendly, welcoming place and offers travellers an ideal stop on their journeys. The old town is worth a visit, nestled in spectacular country.