Are you visiting or passing through the Northern Goldfields? Don’t forget to stop by the Leonora Information Centre! Experience the real outback and find all you need to know about the historical mining, exploration, and the town’s well-established industry.
The centre will also let you wander down memory lane and learn about the Gwalia Museum and Village. We have maps and details of places in the region. It’s where you can find all details regarding the historic Gwalia Museum and Village, along with maps and details of places in the region from Kalgoorlie in the south to Wiluna in the north, Mt Magnet in the west and Laverton and the Ngaanyatjarraku lands in the east.
Tourists can get all details of the attractions and things to do in Leonora at the centre. You can also find all sorts of souvenirs, memorabilia, and other retail items available for purchase and brochures in all the regions in Western Australia. You can also ask for information about accommodations in the area and dining places in the centre.
History of The Old Gold Mining Town in the Northern Goldfields
In search of the lost Leichardt Expedition, John Forrest and his explorer party made camp near a hill and named it Mount Leonora in 1869. Twenty-five years later, prospectors moved through the area. By 1896, mining claims were pegged and gold discovered, leading to the establishment of the twin towns of Leonora and Gwalia, along with the smaller town of Malcolm.
The place was declared a townsite on 15 April 1898 after being selected because of its central position between the Gwalia Mines and the four-mile leases. Soon after settlement commenced, a progress committee was elected and was given control of the direction of public matters. However, the increase in population required the constitution of a body endowed with wider powers. After some delay, the town gazetted a municipality on 21 August 1900.
Visiting The Community Resource Centre and Historical Places That’ll Surely Peak Your Interest
The township lies 230 km north of Kalgoorlie and supports a population of 1500 people. It experiences daytime temperatures averaging around 15°C in winter to 38°C in summer. Rainfall is scarce, with the average being around 250 mm per year.
The town consists of 350 houses, 100 industrial sites, three mining-type accommodation camps, a shady caravan park, two hotels (including restaurants), a-la-carte dining, and one motel. Shopping facilities include a supermarket, pharmacy, liquor, hardware and general store, post office, two roadhouses or service stations, cafe, accountant and TAB. Mining has continued until the present day with gold, and now nickel, being produced in large quantities.
Leonora is serviced by a bitumen road from Perth via Kalgoorlie. You can travel via the Great Eastern Highway to Kalgoorlie and then on the Goldfields Highway to Leonora. A public airline also services the Leonora and Leinster townsites.
The Hoover House, initially occupied by Herbert Hoover (who went on to become the American president), was the mine manager’s house in Gwalia and has now been converted into a luxury bed and breakfast and cafe.
The surrounding countryside is home to abundant wildlife, with kangaroos and emus being the most prolific. Wedge-tailed eagles are also in large numbers throughout the area. Wildflowers are best seen in the months between July and September.
The ‘Tirtarti Birds of the Leonora Area’ brochure can be picked up from the information centre. Each brochure contains nearly 120 illustrations and names of birds found in the area. Bird names and information were provided by the NHRC, which has been documenting, recording and preserving Ngalia traditional knowledge since 1989.
There’s also a well-equipped purpose-built modern recreation centre in the CBD that caters to health and fitness requirements and all sporting pursuits. It includes two air-conditioned squash courts, a gymnasium and an indoor basketball court that doubles for indoor cricket, volleyball and badminton sports, and a purpose-built modern Aquatic Centre including a 25m lap pool associated with “fun” pools.
A 9-hole golf course and clubhouse provide a challenge to all golfers. There’s also a clay target shooting club that holds an annual ‘Golden Nugget’ shoot. The Race Club attracts large crowds to the dirt track 4 km from the town. Each year, the club conducts three race meetings, culminating in the Leonora Cup meeting conducted in September of each year.
The town has a resident doctor and a modern hospital serviced by a volunteer St. Johns Ambulance service. Modern schooling is available from preschool to junior high school.
Moreover, Leonora’s history as a gold mining town is well presented in its main tourist attraction – the Gwalia Ghost Town. The town is an award-winning must-see for visitors. The ghost town is the doorway to a unique experience of Western Australia’s rich mining history. The little settlement that grew around the Sons of Gwalia Mine in the late 1890s thrived until 28 December 1963, closing the mine and putting 250 men out of work.
Since its final whistle blew and the closing of the mine, a large amount of restoration has already been carried out to retain the mining town’s character.
Want to read more about the old mining town’s history? Visit the information centre in Leonora, or visit their business page here!