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Posted July 09, The closure of an historic brothel has provided another nail in the coffin for one of Australia's most famous red-light districts, which has operated illegally for more than a century. Kalgoorlie's Hay Street grew out of the s gold rush, which sent prospectors and prostitutes to Western Australia's Goldfields in search of fortune.
ABC reports from estimated there were about 20 prostitutes at any given time working in eight houses on Hay Street, which became famous for its corrugated iron "starting stalls". In , the number of working brothels fell from three to two when Langtrees was converted into a boutique hotel, and later a tapas restaurant and bar.
It had been on the market for an extended period and the ABC understands the owners are considering converting the brothel into workers' accommodation. But the so-called containment policy — an unofficial law enforced by the government and police — was lifted in Langtrees owner Mary-Anne Kenworthy, who has worked in the sex industry as a madam for 35 years, said the abolition of the containment policy and the rise of mobile phone technology led to unregistered brothels being able to operate in residential areas.
Ms Kenworthy, who operates brothels in Perth, Canberra and Darwin, said she was considering selling her Kalgoorlie property, which was once her pride and joy. She converted the old "starting stalls" in into a working bordello museum with themed rooms, including a boxing ring, mine shaft and Roman orgy room. Madam Carmel, who does not want her surname published, is a widow who bought the brothel 27 years ago.
Madam Carmel said only one prostitute had worked at the brothel in the past month, and she now gave daily tours to keep the business afloat. She tells tourists stories of Hay Street's glory days, including the time a narcoleptic client fell asleep during his appointment and was believed dead until he awoke while being treated by paramedics. There is also the tale of a Dutch prostitute who reportedly holds the Hay Street record for seeing 72 clients in a hour shift, making enough money to buy a house from one night's work.