Gold Rush Town Of Coolgardie Divided Over Plans To Explore Beneath Their Streets

Residents of one of Australia's most famous gold rush towns are divided over plans to explore for the precious metal beneath their streets, amid record prices for gold which have injected new life into Coolgardie.

Described as the 'Mother of the Goldfields' on signs posted at the town's entrance, Coolgardie, 550 kilometres east of Perth, had a population of just 865 at the last Census.

But the Shire of Coolgardie continues to punch above its weight as an economic powerhouse, generating $3.4 billion in mineral production last financial year — the equivalent of Micronesia's gross domestic product.

Most of the wealth today still comes from gold, discovered at Coolgardie in 1892 and sparking one of the biggest gold rushes the world has ever seen.

Despite its golden history, not everyone in town is convinced mineral exploration should be allowed beneath its streets.