Ben Prior Park is a quirky, open-air museum that gives a fascinating insight into the history of Coolgardie, a small town in Western Australia, once the third largest town in the state.
The park is named after Ben Prior, a prospector that arrived in the area in 1932 before setting up a fuel and mechanical workshop. Originally constructed in the 1960s, Prior decided to show off his collection of machinery and relics, many of which were pieces from the original gold rush in the late 1800s. Some of these mining items were rare and exposure to the elements without cover meant that over time, they were damaged and in need of renovation.
The town of Coolgardie was established in 1892 when gold was first discovered in the area. This caused a mass migration of people looking to cash in on this finding. This rush soon slowed in the early 1900s as the quantities of gold decreased, leading to unemployment and a general decline in the town. This story is told in Ben Prior Park through the many sculptures and original pieces of equipment from the era.
In 2019, the park received a much-needed boost of funding, and with this came a redesign with new signs, paint, and more shelter for the interesting artifacts. The park is said to be one of the largest open-air museums in the state of Western Australia.
Know Before You Go
There is plenty space for street parking beside Ben Prior Park.