The discovery of gold in the 1890’s sparked a rush to this region – but the country the settlers came to was hot, harsh and horribly unforgiving. This trail tells many of the stories of what was often a struggle for survival as Europeans set out to make their way in a land that was both foreign and pitiless.
From coach roads and stock routes to wayside hotels and staging posts, and from vast pastoral stations to historic mines and the shooting-star settlements that they spawned – the social history of this struggle for survival is strung out along this Loop for your enjoyment. Drive the 300km in a clockwise direction – it is a comfortable day’s outing, but do check road conditions
first as half the route is on gravel surfaces.
The Agnew Loop
trail has 15 interpretive sites, spaced roughly 15 – 30kms apart. At each of these locations you will find an interpretive panel and, somewhere nearby, a figure, a ‘ghost’ from the past or a creature from the present, waiting to share a story with you… Let these rusty steel story tellers introduce you to the people and the places
and to the pests
and the perfectly natural – but you will need to go out and find them first! At each stopping place along both loops someone (or something!) is waiting to tell you their story – go and explore, see who and what you can discover, and learn about the lives and landscapes of this remarkable region.
How to Use this Trek Note
Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places
on each POI page.
If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
- Ideal solution - download the ExplorOz Traveller App from Google Play or the App Store. The app enables you to carry the ExplorOz Places, Treks, & Maps data offline in your mobile device ready for your adventures. It is a complete mapping, navigation and tracking app. For more details, read our ExplorOz Traveller page.
- You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
- If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
- If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.
There is possibly no more widespread tree species in the dry heart of Australia
than mulga. On these two trails, you are well and truly in Mulga country.
There are two broad types of mulga woodland – one has a shrub understory, while the other has grasses and spinifex. Both will be seen along the loop trails.
Of course, the landscape out here is not all mulga – far from it! In particular, the northern and eastern sectors of the Darlot Loop
showcase a delightful variety of landforms and vegetation species. Hard spinifex makes an appearance as you leave the Goldfields Highway, bringing with it another sand-loving species, the magnificent marble gum. Desert oak, white Cyprus pine, prickly wattle and the water bush can all be seen along the trail. Hard stony quartz flats and sharply-defined watercourses bring variety, and breakaways (especially the terraces) are always a visual treat.
Wildlife you can expect to see along the trails include; Kangaroos, Euros, emus, wedge tail eagles, a vast array of birdlife (particularly around the watercourses), and all manner of reptiles, particularly goannas.
The Goldfields region has a strong and proud Aboriginal population
, who inhabited the area for thousands of years before European settlement
The first contact the area had with Europeans dates back to 1869 when explorer John Forrest and his party, in search of the lost Leichhardt Expedition, made camp near a hill and named it Mount Leonora. It was then some twenty five years before more Europeans came to the area – but this time it was prospectors, not explorers
, who came prowling around the area covered by the trails.
In 1894 Paddy Lawler stumbled on a scattering of alluvial gold 125km north-west of Leonora, sparking a rush to the area from both Cue and Coolgardie. In the same year gold was found near Lake Darlot, which quickly emptied the fledging camp of Lawlers of most of its men! When the rich Sons of Gwalia reef was discovered soon afterwards in Leonora, Leonora was well on its way to becoming the centre for a major mining area – just as it remains today.