In 1895, this residence was built for Coolgardie's first Resident Magistrate and Mining Warden, Irishman John Michael Finnerty.
With the harsh climate in mind it was constructed of local stone and brick with tall windows with louvered shutters, large verandahs and a ventilated roof lantern. The builder was the late timber magnate Robert Bunning. The house is situated alongside the Aboriginal waterhole for which Warden Finnerty is said to have named Coolgardie.
Arthur Bayley and William Ford stopped at this rockhole in September 1892 and discovered the gold that was to spark Australia’s greatest gold rush. Much to Finnerty’s anger the gnamma was later blasted in a futile attempt to get more water.
Finnerty was transferred to Kalgoorlie in 1900, marking the decline of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie’s rising prominence as the centre of WA’s eastern goldfields, but his house remains on ‘Montana’ Hill overlooking the town.