Paddy Hannan was born in Ireland, arriving in Victoria in 1862, where he worked underground at the Ballarat goldfield. He then spent six years from 1868 on the New Zealand goldfields. After this he began gold prospecting across various Australian goldfields, eventually arriving at Southern Cross then Coolgardie. With Thomas Flanagan and Daniel O’Shea they explored an area north-east of Coolgardie.
In June 1893, they came across rich alluvial gold, and within a few days obtained the equivalent value in gold to cover several years’ wages. Hannan travelled to Coolgardie to register the claim, and has been credited with discovering gold at Kalgoorlie.
Flanagan died far from wealthy at Bendigo in 1900. O’Shea lived to 1908, and also died poor. Hannan spent some more years exploring the goldfields, then in 1910 retired at age 67 to Brunswick Melbourne, where he lived with relatives. He died in 04 November 1925, and left an estate of 1400 pounds. A statue of Hannan, with drinking fountain, is along Kalgoorlie’s main street, also named Hannan Street.
A tremendous amount of alluvial gold was found in the area, by thousands of men who rushed the field. In time, the discoveries further south around the Golden Mile eclipsed Paddy Hannan’s find.
A group of claims, including Hannan’s reward claim, had been amalgamated and a company was formed called Hannan’s Reward Limited. A large open pit was developed, and underground shaft. A 20 head Battery was erected. The company went through a couple of reconstructions.
The deposit turned out to be large, low grade, with small auriferous quartz veins. There were three parallel lodes, separated by 10 feet of country rock.
In 1906, three masked men burst into the battery, tied up the employees, and stole 400 pounds worth of slimes. One, Charles Best had befriended a local businessman, who put up bail, however Best dis-appeared.
Tributer Joseph Dobrigh was killed in a fall of earth in 1907, and Frederick Walter Taylor, also in a fall of eath in 1909.
In 1902, the company amalgamated with neighbouring Mount Charlotte, forming Hannan’s Reward and Mount Charlotte Limited. Operations continued at Hannan’s Reward until around 1923, but mainly by tributers.
In 1897, a tree was planted in the vicinity of the original gold discovery. It died in 1935, and was replaced by a kurrajong, planted by Hannan’s granddaughter. This tree in turn was replaced on the 100th anniversary of the discovery June 1993. The map here marks this spot, although the Hannans Reward mine is across the road, bordering to the north of the Mount Charlotte mine.