The Scarlet Mile, by Elaine McKewon

From its beginnings as a dusty, water-deprived goldrush town, to its current place as a thriving city, Kalgoorlie has been the home to a similarly thriving prostitution industry. Prostitutes have come from around Australia and from overseas to work in brothels in the town, and its red-light precinct has become a famous tourist attraction.

The Scarlet Mile is an examination of this industry from its inception until the present, focussing on the social aspects of its history. Who were the women who came there, what part did they play in the town’s social and economic fabric, and what were the implications for them and for the rest of the population. There is discussion of the legal processes – the by-laws and police acts which impacted on the industry and the legal proceedings which arose from them – but the real focus is on the human aspect, with first person accounts peppering the book

This is an outstanding social history.

The Scarlet Mile: A Social History of Prostitution in Kalgoorlie, 1894-2004, by Elaine McKewon
UWA Press, 2005