• Helen Avaient

The Joe Lord core library in Kalgoorlie really rocks

A core library may not seem like a tourist attraction, yet the Joe Lord core library in Kalgoorlie is worth a visit, especially if you are like me and do not know anything about gemstones, minerals or ores.

Started in 2000 this library is a warehouse of mining and exploration samples and drill cores (some dating back 100 years) that the government and mining companies can analyse for certain minerals and ores. They also enable geologists to map what is underground is Western Australia.


People can bring in samples to the geologists and they'll identify anything of interest. Local ore was historically used to build fireplaces in old homes. These fireplaces may contain something of value. The roadbase in Kalgoorlie was originally built using local ore, until it was discovered that the road base contained gold, Kalgoorlie was literally paved with gold! Once this was identified, the roads were then ripped up and replaced.


A piece of sandstone with Crinoid fossils is on display. "Several complete cups with attached arms are evident." - sign in library. The sandstone came from the Cundlego Formation in the Carnavon Basin, Western Australia.

The library has many samples that make interesting viewing and a lot of them have really attractive patterns and colourings.

Geological maps and books are available here. The staff cannot tell you where to find certain minerals, but in coming here and seeing what the different rocks look like, you can make identification easier out in the field.


As a complete novice in this area, I wasn't aware that copper and nickel ores each had different types and colourings.


Of interest, who was Joe Lord? Joseph Henry Lord (1919-1999) was Director of the Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA) for twenty years, from 1961.


The library is located at the corner Broadwood & Hunter Streets, West Kalgoorlie and open 8.30am - 4.30pm Monday to Friday. In December 2020 the Government allocated $7 million dollars to expand the library.


Happy Travels!


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