Ravensthorpe, Western Australia

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Western Australia
Ravensthorpe comm centre.jpg
Ravensthorpe Community Centre, formerly the Freemasons Hotel, built 1906
Ravensthorpe is located in Western Australia
Coordinates 33°34′54″S 120°2′49″E / 33.58167°S 120.04694°E / -33.58167; 120.04694Coordinates: 33°34′54″S 120°2′49″E / 33.58167°S 120.04694°E / -33.58167; 120.04694
Population 438 (2006 census)[1]
Postcode(s) 6346
Elevation 232 m (761 ft)
LGA(s) Shire of Ravensthorpe
State electorate(s) Eyre
Federal Division(s) O'Connor
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
22.7 °C
73 °F
10.4 °C
51 °F
425.3 mm
16.7 in

Ravensthorpe is a town 541 km south-east of Perth, 40 km inland from the south coast of Western Australia. It is the seat of government of the Shire of Ravensthorpe. At the 2006 census, Ravensthorpe had a population of 438.[1]

Ravensthorpe grain receival facility


In 1848, the area was surveyed by Surveyor General John Septimus Roe who named many of the geographical features nearby, including the nearby Ravensthorpe Range that the town is named after. The area was first settled by the Dunn brothers during 1868.[2]

The Dunn brothers brought sheep farming to the area in 1871 when George and John Dunn drove a herd from Albany to the area they had established earlier. They were awarded a land grant in 1873 of 4,049 hectares (10,010 acres).[3]

Another of the Dunn brothers, James Dunn discovered gold at Annabel Creek and was awarded a claim by the government. More profitable discoveries followed in 1900 that resulted in a boom. The population climbed to over 1000 and by 1901 the government gazetted the town of Ravensthorpe.[4][5]

The government completed construction of a copper and gold smelter about 2 km south east of the town in 1906, used to cast copper and gold ingots. At its peak of production the smelter employed over 120 men, the now disused smelter is still there and is surrounded by massive piles of tailings waste.

The area continued to prosper and the population grew accordingly, by 1909 the population was over 3000. The prosperity was short-lived; World War I took its toll on the town and by 1918 the local copper smelter had closed and many of the copper and gold mines had closed.

There was also one of the Western Australian Government Railways isolated branch lines between Hopetoun and Ravensthorpe, the line opened in 1909.[6] After the war Ravensthorpe survived servicing the farming in the district. Agriculture in the area began to grow following the great depression and pastoral land releases occurred in the 1960s and 1970s.

The surrounding areas produce wheat and other cereal crops. The town is a receival site for Cooperative Bulk Handling.[7] A bulk wheat bin was constructed in the town in 1947 capable of holding over 30,000 bushels.[8]



Ravensthorpe Nickel mine

BHP Billiton commenced a feasibility study in 2002 into opening a nickel and cobalt mine and processing plant[9] 35 km East of the town[10] The project was approved in 2004 and construction commenced shortly afterward. The plant known as the Ravensthorpe Nickel Project was commissioned in late 2007 with first production occurring in October and the first 5000 tonnes being produced by December 2007.[11] The plant was officially opened in 2008.[12]

In January 2009, BHP Billiton announced that it was suspending production at the Ravensthorpe nickel mine indefinitely, due the reduction in world nickel prices caused by the global economic crisis. The decision cut 1,800 jobs and is expected to have a major impact on the local economy.[13]

On 9 December 2009, BHP sold its Raventhorpe mine, on which it had spent A$2.4 billion to build, to Toronto-based First Quantum for US $340 million. First Quantum was one of three bidders for the mine and actually produced the lowest offer. The Canadian company planned to have the mine back in production in mid-2011.[14]

As of July 2016 the mine is still operating under First Quantum.


The Mt Cattlin mine, located 2 km (1.2 mi) north of the town was operated by Galaxy Resources between 2009[15] and 2012 before being officially closed in 2013.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Ravensthorpe". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Welcome to the Shire of Ravensthorpe". 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  3. ^ "The Age – Ravensthorpe". Melbourne. 8 February 2004. Retrieved 15 September 2008. 
  4. ^ Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of country town names – R". Retrieved 15 September 2008. 
  5. ^ Western Australian Government Gazette, file 6158/00, 9 January 1901, p.195.
  6. ^ Alex Gibson and D. H. S. du Plessis (December 1947). "Report to the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the management, workings and control of the Western Australian Government Railways" (PDF). Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  7. ^ "CBH receival sites" (PDF). 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "Ravensthorpe bulk wheat bin.". The West Australian (Perth: National Library of Australia). 22 August 1947. p. 14. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "BHP Sustainability Report – Relationship building". 2005. Retrieved 15 September 2008. 
  10. ^ "Project Sheet Ravensthorpe Nickel Project, WA" (PDF). 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2008. [dead link]
  11. ^ "BHP Billiton – Nickel West". 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2008. 
  12. ^ "Sydney Morning Herald – BHP ready for laterite challenge". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 May 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2008. 
  13. ^ Tasker, Sarah-Jane (21 January 2009). "Mining job losses escalate as BHP Billiton cuts 6000". The Australian. Retrieved 31 January 2009. [dead link]
  14. ^ Canada's First Quantum wins bid to revive Ravensthorpe nickel mine The Australian, published: 10 December 2009, accessed: 10 December 2009
  15. ^ "Barnett opens Galaxy's Mt Cattlin spodumene project". 6 November 2009. 
  16. ^ Kagi, Jacob (20 March 2013). "Lithium mine shut down in blow to Ravensthorpe". 

External links[edit]