Gold squad was worth its weight
requiring bullion deposited, to be preserved unaltered for seven days;
5) All battery and treatment plants whether situated on mining tenements or not, and whether crushing or treating ore or other gold-bearing material for the public or not, should be licensed and open to inspection at any moment by police and the Mines Department;
6) Owners and managers should, under penalties, be compelled to keep books and records showing;
i) the origin of each parcel of material crushed or treated;
ii) the consideration given for each parcel;
iii) names and addresses of persons who bought the stuff and of all interested in its treatment;
iv) the result of crushing and treatment;
v) how the bullion was maintained and disposed of;
vi) what quantity and description of residues, results, and how the same is disposed of with precise dates in each case.
Mr Barker said the law prohibiting dealing in gold by unlicensed persons should be tightened up and penalties increased for dealing with illicit gold.
“I am satisfied considerable numbers of professional receivers of stolen gold carry on business in Kalgoorlie and Boulder in an open and systematic manner, handling in the aggregate such quantity of illicitly acquired bullion and concentrates as to justify the use of the word enormous,” he wrote.
“The East Coolgardie field alone produces 50 per cent of the total gold yield from the State.
“This being so, the following questions at once suggest themselves: “Who are the thieves? “From whom and from what places do they steal?
“How do they manage to get away with their booty?
“These questions are second only in importance to the fundamental one, is stealing of gold and goldbearing material prevalent?
“I regret to have to report that in regard to them the evidence is inconclusive and insufficient to support a definite finding.”
As a direct result of Det. Sgt Kavanagh’s report and the royal commission, the police department formed a gold stealing squad of detectives.
Set up in late 1907 and funded by the Chamber of Mines, its purpose was to investigate criminal activity at all stages of gold production process in WA.
Sadly, Det. Sgt Kavanagh died soon after in Melbourne, in March 1908.
Members of the Gold stealing detective unit in the 1920s.
Pistol of slain GSDU Detective John Walsh.
Barrick Gold director of operations Nick Cernotta and Detective Senior Sergeant Dom Blackshaw with a stolen nugget recovered by the gold squad in 2009.