Gold was first discovered in Cracow in 1875 by itinerant fossickers and a further discovery of a nugget was made by an Aboriginal man in 1916. In 1931, the Golden Plateau mine was established and it operated continuously until 1976.
At its gold mining peak, the town included five cafes, barber shop, billiard saloon, two butchers, a picture theatre and a soft drink factory. The closure of the mine led to Cracow becoming a ghost town with many deserted houses and shops. The local hotel is the only remaining retail business, owned by Fred Brophy, the famous bush boxing troupe manager; although off the beaten track, it attracts a lot of tourists due to its unusual array of strange artifacts adorning the ceilings & walls. In 2004, Newcrest Mining NL reestablished gold mining in the town, leading to hopes the town may recover.