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Herbert Clark Hoover was born on 10th August 1874, in a very humble, three room, one-story home, built of upright boards whitewashed inside and out, on the bank of the Wapsinonoc Creek, Iowa. It was located just across the alley from his father, Jesse Hoover's blacksmith shop. Both of his parents died when Herbert was a young child and he was sent to live with an Uncle where he went to work in his Real Estate Business. Here he met an Engineer who impressed upon him the importance of a college education. Leland Stanford Jr. University formally opened on 1st October 1891, and young Herbert, though lacking a high school diploma, passed entrance exams and entered the Department of Geology and Mining. He received his diploma in 1895, and met Lou Henry during his senior year at Stanford where she majored in Geology, and graduated in 1898.

In October 1897, a British company, Berwick Moreing, was looking for consultants to head to Western Australia where the Gold Rush was under way. They needed a young man, as the job would be extremely strenuous, but not too young, as it required thorough experience, say a man of thirty five. His tutor did not conceal Hoover's relative lack of experience, but indicated that he was not yet thirty five, he was well within the truth by twelve years. In fact, Hoover was just twenty three years old! Hoover bade farewell to Lou Henry, with whom he had an "understanding", he bought himself his first dress suit, crossed the Mississippi for the first time, and headed for Australia.

It was a long journey by way of France, Italy, Egypt, and India, before arriving in Albany, Western Australia where he had to spend two weeks in quarantine as small pox having been discovered on board the ship. Then after three hundred odd miles inland by a recently constructed single gauge railroad, he was at Coolgardie, one of the area's assigned to him. Kalgoorlie and Leonora was flat and desolate land, vast distances covered with low, bristly sage bush, where the mercury rarely dropped below 38 degrees, even at night. A land in which water was almost as valuable and more rare than gold for which thousands of men were hunting feverishly.

On 1st May 1898, Hoover was appointed Mining Superintendent of the Sons of Gwalia Mine. Hoover, who was only 23 years old, immediately initiated radical changes to cut costs. He increased working hours, introduced single-handed work, ordered shift changes to occur at the working face rather than above ground, and stopped double time on Sundays as well as bonuses for working wet grounds. He employed contract labour from the pool of European migrants willing to work for lower wages, bringing him into conflict with the Miner’s Union which had already organised a number of strikes on the WA Goldfields in a bid for better pay and conditions.

In his six months as mine manager, Hoover designed the mine manager’s house and oversaw the design of the staff and office buildings, all to be constructed on the hill overlooking the mine and the growing town site where the workers lived.

Herbert Hoover was also a regular guest at the Kalgoorlie Palace Hotel in its early days. It was during this time he reportedly fell in love with a barmaid at the hotel before leaving to marry his college sweetheart, Lou Henry. He also composed a poem to the barmaid, an excerpt of which is next to the famous mirror that still hangs in the Palace Hotel today. This mirror was gifted to the Hotel where he spent much of his time while in Kalgoorlie.

He was transferred to China in November 1898, before the majority of the mine manager’s buildings (including the mine manager's house) were completed. Here, he married Lou Henry and had two sons, Herbert Charles Hoover and Allan Henry Hoover.

Hoover later became President of the United States of America in 1929, just before the stock market crash. Unfortunately, the depression descended on America as on many other Countries. His Presidency ended in 1933 after serving four years. Lou Henry Hoover died suddenly from a heart attack on 7th January 1944, while Herbert Hoover died on 20th October 1964, just 10 months after the Sons of Gwalia Mine closed at Christmas 1963.

Today, the headframe of Oregon, designed by Hoover, still stands at the Gwalia Museum, along with the Mine Manager’s House.

Photo-courtesy-of-Jessica-WoodThe Mine Manager's house, known as Hoover House, as it stands today – Photo courtesy of Jessica Wood