Ravensthorpe is an attractive town located in the Esperance - Goldfields area of Western Australia.
The main industry in the area is agriculture with mining projects intermittently promising to reinvigorate the economy.
Tourism is becoming increasingly important and with the opening up of the eastern side of
Fitzgerald River National Park
it has seen steady growth in recent years.
Hopetoun is the closest town and sits on the coast about 50km south of Ravensthorpe.
A wildflower show is held in September and attracts many
visitors as the area has many unique floral species. 20%
of Western Australian wildflower species are located in this area and it is a declared UNESCO biosphere.
The Cattlin Creek Heritage Trail lets you explore many of the significant historical sites in town.
The trail starts at the Dance Cottage Museum and takes you to the Railway Station and turnaround,
crosses Cattlin Creek where a railway bridge once stood, continues to Mount Cattlin Mine then passes the Big House
that was built in 1906-7 for the smelter mine manager. The trail reaches the current shire offices
that were originally built for the Western Australian Bank in 1906 and finishes at the Palace Hotel.
The trail takes about two hours to complete.
The Palace Hotel was built in 1907 and was made with locally created bricks. The hotel features a large upper veranda, Jarrah
furniture, an Edwardian stained glass window located in the stairwell, an impressive ornamental staircase
and some interesting stamped metal ceilings.
Another place worth checking out in town is the Ravensthorpe Historical Society Museum.
It is located on the corner of Morgan Street and Andre Street and incorporates the old Dance Cottage that dates from 1901.
There is an old strem engine and guard's carriage that was part of the Hopetoun-Ravensthorpe railway.
The museum features exhibits from early 19th century whaling, local Aboriginal history, and early farming and agriculture.
There are a number of farming and mining implements as well as a CBH elevator, numerous household items and furniture,
linen and writing equipment plus an impressive display of shoes. The museum opens between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm each day.
On Morgans Street is the Ravensthorpe Community Centre. The building dates from 1906 and was originally the Commercial Hotel.
It was the first two storey brick building in the town. The building was renovated and restored in 1933.
St Andrews Anglican Church is located on Dunn Street and was constructed in 1906.
The altar and lecturn were hand crafted by Ivor Rowe using jarrah timber taken from Hopetoun jetty.
The church is constructed from corrugated iron and is the only church of its kind still in regular use in WA.
The church has been in continuous use since 1906.
Two kilometres south on the Ravensthorpe-Hopetoun Road is the old smelter Look to the east side of the road
and you will spot the disused Government Smelter where tailings dumps and old equipment stands as a reminder
of the town's early mining success.
The smetler was used between 1906 and 1918. It was primrily for creating smelted gold and copper ingots and
employed around 120 men.
At the western end of town is the grain silo that is adorned with art work created by Dutch-born artist, Amok Island in 31 days.
There are also a number of scenic drives in the area including:
Archer Drive - 20 Km. to a lookout.
Ethel Daw Drive - 30Km. Excellent views.
Hamersley Drive - 170 Km. Through Fitzgerald River National Park.
Mount Madden Drive - 160Km. To Pallarup Rocks picnic site.
Mount Short Drive - 40Km. The highest point in the Ravensthorpe Range.
Wave Rock - 193Km. day trip to Hyden and Wave Rock.
John Dunn was one of the early European settlers in the area and he was killed by local Aborigines in 1880.
He was buried 17km west of the town and his grave is located off Cocanarup Road.
John S. Roe surveyed and named the
area in 1848. The region was first settled in 1868 (1)
by John Dunn. Gold was discovered by another Dunn brother in 1896 (some sources quote 1899) and as a result the population increased to about
3000 by 1909. 1909 was also
the year a railway line to Hopetoun was opened.
A government gold smelter was constructed by 1906 but by 1918 the gold began to run out and so did the miners.
The town site was declared in 1901 and is named after a town in Northamptonshire, England.
Copper was also mined near the town and reached it's peak in the 1960s. Today it is wheat and sheep country but the recent development of nickel
mining has added another
facet to the region's economy. Mining can be a fickle industry and is very dependant on world prices. BHP Billiton opened a new nickel mine in
2007 but only two years later
production was suspended and in December that year the mine was sold to other interests that re-started production in 2011. A lithium mine
also operated near Ravensthorpe
between 2009 - 2012.
Evidence of the town's former glory is the disused Government Smelter where dumps and old equipment stand as a reminder of the importance the
town enjoyed during the copper
and gold rush period.
(1) - Some sources quote the settlement year as 1871 but that was when the Dunn brothers first brought sheep to the area.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
The Dallison brothers were out hunting kangaroo one day when they came upon a mallee fowl nest and spotted some specks of gold where the fowl
had been scratching away at the earth.
This eventually led to the development of the Harbour View mine (now ACH).
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Fitzgerald River National Park,
The Palace Hotel,
Railway heritage walk,
World time meridian,
Mt. Desmond lookout,
Archer Drive and Lookout,
Frank Hann National Park,
John Dunn's grave,
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
Palace Hotel, Morgan St. 1907.
State : Eyre
Federal : O'Connor
Postcode : 6346
Local Government : Shire of Ravensthorpe
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