The Big Bell town is located about 27kms west of Cue on the Big Bell mine road. The town was established in 1936 as a result of the opening of the Big Bell Mine.
Today, all that is left of the Big Town are virtual ruins. The area has an eerie silence. Occasionally you see a rabbit hopping through a doorway of a ruin , a hawk circling from above or a big mining truck roaring past, but that is all. Any reminder of the town’s existence will soon be gone. The Big Bell Hotel is the only reminder (if not disappearing reminder ) of the town’s once opulent past. Wandering through the shell of the Hotel you can still see evidence of its majestic past.
Big Bell or should I say the gold of Big Bell was discovered in 1904, but it took another 32 years before a mine was finally established in the area by Big Bell Ltd. The town flourished with over 400 employees. Unfortunately , like many businesses, the outbreak of World War II lead to the mine’s closure for “war purposes”. Men joined the armed forces, machinery was removed for war purposes and as a result the town’s population plummeted to 15.
In Australia, all focus was on the war effort, as men were needed for production of munitions and food. Like many small towns throughout Australia the effect of the war was devastating. In 1945, following the end of the war, the mine was back in business. By 1951 there was over a 1000 people living in town, ‘business as usual’.
Unfortunately decline in profitability saw the mine finally close its doors in 1955. The town virtually died overnight, following the closure and people owning property couldn’t give it away. Many of the buildings were removed to Cue, Mt Magnet and Meekathara.