Boulder, Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie became great boomtowns and the Western Australian police were often tested to the limit. Serious disputes between the mining companies and alluvial miners in 1898 nearly led to a mob attack on a Ministerial party. A year later, the passing of a restrictive new Mining Act that reduced alluvial miner's access to many leases brought matters to head. The miners started to arm themselves and on 20 November, 1899 thousands descended on the Kalgoorlie Police Station to free a few who had been arrested under the new legislation. With a combination of raw courage and tact, Charles Newland, senior officer on the Goldfields, and his men managed to persuade the miners to disperse and made a few arrests with minimal fuss. The miners previously gaoled were cleared by the courts and a near-revolt was averted. Newland went on to have a distinguished career as an officer in the Boer war, and later as a district police officer in other parts of Western Australia.