Km from Perth
08 9963 5859
London Bridge, Peter Denny
lookout, Black Range chapel, Wildflowers, Museum.
Buildings of note
Black Range chapel
Calendar Of Events
This is an old gold mining town which started its
development in the 1890s. The town site was gazetted in 1906 and by 1913 it
had reached a population of 6000. By the end of World War I it was virtually
a ghost town and remains as such today.
Ernest Shillington was the first to discover gold here in 1894 and in 1903
gold was discovered right next to the town site. The area was responsible for
the production of over 700 tons of ore between 1903-1916.
A state run battery operated in the town from 1904 to 1982. The remains of
the operation are still off Menzies Road. It was named by Warden Lawlers who
wrote in a submission:
“I have since been to Black Range, but could not get the native name of the
locality, and cannot suggest a suitable native name. I would recommend the
town be called 'Sandstone' or 'Sandhurst'. The place is now well known as
Sandstone but a small change such as to Sandhurst would not take the public
long to get into the way of calling the town by the correct name, but I
would prefer the name 'Sandstone'."
The name appears to have originated with the rock formations in the area.
In 1907 J.V. Kearney built a brewery up on a breakaway
where the cellar was a large tunnel bored into the side of the breakaway.
The brewery operated until 1910 when the railway allowed easy access for
other beers from other areas.
Tall tales & true: Hoodwinked!
1. At one time foot races were popular in Sandstone and punters made bets on
the outcome with prize money being awarded to the winner.
One day a stranger arrived in town and got wind of the races. He wanted to
join in but was seen to be quite a poor runner. The locals, who were fond of
a practical joke persuaded him to wear a pair of blinkers (like those worn
by horses) to keep him pointed in the right direction. The local runners
were persuaded to let him win a couple of practise sessions while wearing
the blinkers in the hope that they could get him to wear them during the
real race meeting. After ‘winning’ the practise rounds the new chum duly
entered the races and the locals gathered in great numbers to see the show.
On race day fantastic odds were offered for the ‘blinkered’ runner but none
of the locals were keen on laying a bet. An old bushy put on a pound (a
large sum for the day) and when the competitors walked out, sure enough, the
new chum had his blinkers on.
The crowd applauded and cheered to see such a sight but when it was time for
the race to start off came the blinkers and the new chum said ‘Now I will
show you how to run’. He won every race that day and along with his ‘bushy’
friend cleaned out the bookmakers before departing quickly on the next stage
out of town.
2. Some time later a couple of odd characters arrived in town. One small and
spindly wearing a suit some sizes too big, another tall man wearing a suit
some sizes too small.
The large man was very fond of a drink but became aggressive and picked
fights with the locals every time he got drunk. Trouble was he lost every
fight getting a complete thrashing into the bargain. It was said that even a
60 year old gave him a hiding on one occasion.
Each time he sobered up he was very apologetic and meek. Without the booze
inside him he was a complete gentleman but each time he got drunk he would
pick another fight and take another beating.
This went on for some days before he singled out the largest of the locals
and tried to goad him into yet another brawl. The local man would have none
of it until the stranger wagered five pounds that he could take him. The
fight took place with the usual results and the next day the stranger went
round to apologise asking for the return of his money as he had been drunk
and was not responsible for his actions the night before.
Surprisingly the local man agreed but warned him that should it happen again
he would not return any money.
Of course as soon as he was ‘in his cups’ the stranger sought out the local
again and challenged him to yet another fight. This time he was waving a
fist full of notes and so it was agreed to arrange a fight for the next day.
The locals gathered and bets were placed on the outcome. The small stranger,
who had kept a low profile, placed a number of bets on his large companion
and soon it was time for the fight to begin.
It was all over almost as soon as it started but this time it was the big
stranger who was the victor. After collecting his winnings he sought out
each man who had given him a hiding and returned the favour two fold – all
except the 60 year old who he congratulated on his ‘pluck’.
The two left town with bulging wallets and some time later it was found that
the big man was a professional boxer from the east and his small mate was
Spirit of the goldfields.
A woman and her 3 children arrived in Sandstone on an old
rickety cart being pulled by a worn out old horse. There was a wrapped
bundle in the back of the cart that turned out to be the woman's dead
The family had fallen on hard times and the husband had
been so ill he could not work. The woman found what work she could but there
was never enough money. They had decided to head for the coast hoping that
with better conditions the man's health would improve.
As they made their way west they were helped by other
travellers who gave them what food and water they had to spare but the man
died before the family reached the coast and now the woman and her three
children were destitute.
Arrangements were made in Sandstone for the man's burial
and the 'hat' was passed around, as it usually was on such occasions, to
raise money to pay for the burial. There was a small amount left over which
was given to the woman.
As the family was now to be sent to the coast they had no
further need for the old horse and cart so an auction was held. It was sold
for 12 pounds, but then its new owner decided he had no use for it and it
was put up for sale again. The next 'owner' paid 10 pounds
but he too decided the rig was not for him and again the horse and cart were
put up for sale. This happened until over 100 pounds had been paid and the
rig was eventually given to an old prospector who thought he could use the
horse but not the old cart.
In the true spirit of the goldfields, all the money from
these various 'sales' was handed over to the widow and her children.
London Bridge (C)