A Lonely Prospector Waiting to Die:
One of Australia’s Loneliest Men
In constant pain from the stump of an amputated leg an 83 year old bachelor dollies stone at his lonely tin camp in the ghost town of Kanowna while waiting to die.
He is Irish-born Joe (Joseph Patrick) Palmer who has been prospecting for more than 50 years. ‘I have no friends and nowhere else to live,’ he said yesterday. ‘I don’t like hospitals, cities or beer. All I want is to die.’ Although he is regarded locally as an uncommunicative hermit he welcomes’ the occasional visitor with all the enthusiasm of a lonely man. When he interrupted . his stay on the Goldfields to try coal mining his leg was cut off
days after he arrived at Collie.
For 32 years his gold prospecting has been handicapped by an artificial leg and a partly crippled arm. He has never struck it rich, his best find being a 22oz. slug which he picked up at Lake Darlot many years ago.
Now when he uses his dolly pot and pestle on odd stones he picks up he does not expect to find many colours. He is just ‘keeping out of the way and waiting to die.’ . And while waiting he is avoiding all that is distasteful to him – the din of city life, raucous laughter and the tinkling of beer glasses.
Joe Palmer is one of Australia’s loneliest men. His dollypot is his only comfort.
Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950), Monday 17 January 1949, page 9
Note: Joe passed away not long after this article was written and was buried in the Kalgoorlie Cemetery on the 4th Oct 1950.