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Snapshot - The Legend of Gardiner Mahomet's Buried Treasure

Published: Tuesday, 5 May 2020 at 11:00:01 AM

The Legend of Mahomet’s Gold by Trudi Cornish 

The origins of the naming of Mahomet’s Flats have caused confusion over the years.  Some have thought the Flats were named after the brothers Faiz and Tagh Mahomet, Camel Importers and Goods Carriers, who first arrived in Geraldton in 1892. 

However, nearly twenty years prior, a Turkish gardener named Abdallah Mahomet was actually the first Mahomet to live in the area we now call Mahomet’s Flats. 

Jesse Hammond in his book “Western Pioneers” (1936), listed the residents of Geraldton in 1877-78, “Last, but not least, Mahomet, a Turkish gardener.  His garden was in the sand hills between Champion Bay and Grey’s Bay, and he was the first to grow tomatoes, water melons, flowers and vegetables for sale in Geraldton.  He lived to a great age, and was supposed to have left a large sum of money hidden in the sand hills near his home”. 

The earliest recording of Abdallah Mahomet in the Colony was in 1845 when he was living in Northam.  By 1868, Mahomet had settled in Geraldton and was often spotted carrying two baskets of vegetables for sale on the end of a long pole.  Unfortunately, Mahomet became known as a local drunkard and in 1880 was found dead in the sand dunes between his humble home and Geraldton, some two miles south of the township.   

The legend of his hidden treasure sparked the imagination of many over the years.  In 1899, T. Whitefoot Broadway wrote a fantastical article in the West Australian about a treasure cave at Mahomet’s Flat’s, in which the author supposedly discovered an underground cavern at Mahomet’s, full of riches and haunted by the old Afghan Mahomet himself!   

In 1939, Mahomet’s land was still visible on the old town plans (between Eliot and Moore Streets).

Snapshots is an initiative of the Geraldton Regional Library. For more information, or to donate a historical photo or slide to the Library, contact Heritage Services at the Geraldton Regional Library on 9956 6659 or library@cgg.wa.gov.au 

Mahomets map SRO

Image: Town site of Geraldton circa 1939 (Ref: AU WA S2168- cons5698 0672) Courtesy of State Records Office of WA

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