The discovery of gold in Western Australia during the 1890s brought prosperity to what had been, up until then, a remote and struggling colonial backwater. The rush of
prospectors to Coolgardie (1892) and Kalgoorlie (1893), chiefly from the eastern colonies of Australia, helped tip the balance of public opinion in favour of Federation in the referendum of 1900.
The thousands of prospectors who flocked west, seeking their individual fortunes,
helped establish a significant gold mining industry by the start of the twentieth century. More than a hundred years later the goldfields of Western Australia still produce a huge proportion of the nation's gold.