Division of Kalgoorlie

The Division of Kalgoorlie was an Australian Electoral Division in the state of Western Australia, named after the city of Kalgoorlie. The Division was proclaimed in 1900 as one of the original 75 divisions to be contested at the first Federal election. In its final form, it covered most of the land area of Western Australia, with a size of 2,295,354 square kilometres (886,241 sq mi)—over 90 percent of the state's landmass (an area the size of France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Poland and Great Britain combined).[1] It included the Goldfields-Esperance, Gascoyne, Pilbara and Kimberley regions of Western Australia, in addition to the eastern and far northern parts of the Mid West region, and the town of Merredin. It was the largest single-member electorate by area in the world—almost a third of the continent.

Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of Kalgoorlie 2007.png
Division of Kalgoorlie (green) in Western Australia as at the 2007 election
Area2,295,354 km2 (886,241.1 sq mi)


For most of its history, Kalgoorlie was split between strongly pro-Labor territory in the mining regions and more conservative-leaning farming areas, and from 1980s Labor also benefited from the support of indigenous voters in the northern parts of the electorate. Unlike seats in the eastern states with similar demographics, it was not usually reckoned as a bellwether for winning government—primarily because most elections have already been decided by the time the first returns come in from the state. The Liberals (and their predecessors) and Labor alternated for long spells in the seat. As evidence of how little it was affected by trends in the rest of the country, all but one of its members from 1922 onward spent at least one term in opposition.

For most of the time from 1922 to 1995, the conservative farming areas were usually swamped by Labor support in mining towns. Labor lost the electorate only when its support in Western Australia collapsed, such as in the late 1970s due to the regional backlash against the Whitlam government. In 1995, however, sitting Labor MP Graeme Campbell was expelled from the party. He retained the electorate at the 1996 election but in 1998 was defeated by Liberal Barry Haase, who held the seat until its abolition despite vigorous challenges from Labor. Haase benefited from the popularity of the Liberal Party in Western Australia during this period, as well as a sharp decline in Labor support in the city of Kalgoorlie, previously a Labor stronghold for the better part of a century. When Haase was reelected in 2007, it was the only time that Labor had won government at an election without winning Kalgoorlie.

The division was abolished at the 2008 redistribution, effective from the 2010 federal election. Due to a drop in population, Kalgoorlie needed to increase in size. However, all of the proposed maps would have made it all but impossible to draw O'Connor, the other large country seat in Western Australia, in a way that it would have any rational basis.[2] Ultimately, the Australian Electoral Commission decided to abolish Kalgoorlie. Most of the northern portion of its territory was transferred to the new Division of Durack, while the southern portion (including the city of Kalgoorlie) was absorbed into O'Connor. Haase transferred to Durack.[3] Upon the abolition of Kalgoorlie, the title of largest single member electoral constituency in the world passed to Nunavut in Canada.[4]

None of its members got to retire at the time of their choosing as they lost the seat in an election, lost party preselection, died in office, expelled (Hugh Mahon) and when the seat was abolished it necessitated its last member Barry Haase to move to the seat of Durack.


Image Member Party Term Notes
    John Kirwan
Free Trade 29 March 1901
16 December 1903
Lost seat. Later elected to the Western Australian Legislative Council in 1908
    Charlie Frazer
Labor 16 December 1903
25 November 1913
Served as minister under Fisher. Died in office
    Hugh Mahon
Labor 22 December 1913
5 May 1917
Previously held the Division of Coolgardie. Served as minister under Fisher and Hughes. Lost seat
    Edward Heitmann
Nationalist 5 May 1917
13 December 1919
Previously held the Western Australian Legislative Assembly seat of Geraldton. Lost seat
    Hugh Mahon
Labor 13 December 1919
12 November 1920
Expelled from Parliament over opposition towards British policy in Ireland. Lost seat in subsequent by-election
    George Foley
Nationalist 18 December 1920
16 December 1922
Previously held the Western Australian Legislative Assembly seat of Mount Leonora. Lost seat
    Albert Green
Labor 16 December 1922
2 October 1940
Previously held the Western Australian Legislative Assembly seat of Kalgoorlie. Served as minister under Scullin. Died in office
    Herbert Johnson
Labor 16 November 1940
14 October 1958
Served as minister under Chifley. Lost preselection and retired
    Peter Browne
Liberal 22 November 1958
9 December 1961
Lost seat
    Fred Collard
Labor 9 December 1961
13 December 1975
Lost seat
    Mick Cotter
Liberal 13 December 1975
18 October 1980
Lost seat
    Graeme Campbell
Labor 18 October 1980
30 November 1995
Lost seat
  Independent 30 November 1995 –
June 1996
  Australia First June 1996 –
3 October 1998
    Barry Haase
Liberal 3 October 1998
21 August 2010
Transferred to the Division of Durack after Kalgoorlie was abolished in 2010

Election resultsEdit


  1. ^ Al Jazeera English - News - Australian Elections Explained Archived 14 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/federal-election-2013/guide/dura/
  3. ^ "Augmented Electoral Commission decides boundaries and names for Federal Electoral Divisions in WA". Australian Electoral Commission. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
  4. ^ Durack: the electorate bigger than many countries still finds it hard to get noticed, The Guardian, 14 May 2016

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 26°10′S 122°30′E / 26.167°S 122.500°E / -26.167; 122.500