Sandstone, Western Australia

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Western Australia
Empire Day celebrations in Hack Street, 1909
Sandstone is located in Western Australia
Coordinates 27°59′17″S 119°17′46″E / 27.98806°S 119.29611°E / -27.98806; 119.29611Coordinates: 27°59′17″S 119°17′46″E / 27.98806°S 119.29611°E / -27.98806; 119.29611
Population 105 (2011 census)[1]
Established 1890s
Postcode(s) 6639
Elevation 533 m (1,749 ft)
LGA(s) Shire of Sandstone
State electorate(s) Kalgoorlie
Federal Division(s) Durack
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
27.3 °C
81 °F
13.2 °C
56 °F
248.3 mm
9.8 in

Sandstone is a small town in the Mid West region of Western Australia 157 kilometres east of Mount Magnet and 661 kilometres north of the state capital, Perth. At the 2011 census, Sandstone and the surrounding Shire of Sandstone had a population of 105 people (including six aboriginals) in 28 families.[1]


The town was first settled in 1894 as part of a gold rush after a team of prospectors including Ernest Shillington first discovered gold about 20 km south of the present townsite. Following the influx of miners the local progress association requested that a townsite be declared in 1905. Correspondence of the time shows that the area was locally known as Hans Irvine's Find and that a large amount of money had been spent on building hotels, banks and other services required by the residents. The townsite was gazetted as Sandstone in 1906.[2]

By 1907 the population of the town had swelled to 6,000–8,000 and it boasted four hotels, four butchers, two banks, a staffed police station and many other stores. A brewery was also constructed in 1907 by an Irishman, I.V. Kearney, to satisfy the local demand. He built the brewery on a breakaway on top of a cliff about 35 feet high. Water was pumped to the top level for brewing and the beer was stored in the cellars below to keep it cool even in the hotter weather.[3]

In 1910 the railway was completed between Mount Magnet and Sandstone but the population had declined to about 200 people and many buildings had been pulled down, removed or left derelict.[4] The Jundoo Dam was completed in 1910 to provide water for the steam trains; the dam could hold three-and-a-half million gallons of water and cost £5,000 to build. Most of the original dam works still exist today.

By 1912 Sandstone had a population of 8,000 and nearby Youanmi had a population of 300. The first pastoral leases including Youanmi Station, Yuinmery and Lake Barlee Stations were being established at this time.[5]

A state-run battery operated in the town from 1904 to 1982. The remains of these are located along the Menzies Road.[6]

Today, Sandstone is the administrative centre of the Shire of Sandstone local government area. A local sight to see is London Bridge, a natural bridge that is part of the Sandstone Heritage Trail. Sandstone was the inspiration for the mining town in Randolph Stow's 1963 novel Tourmaline.[7] The smallest of the hotels built in town, the National, constructed in 1909 from locally made bricks, is the only one left remaining.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Sandstone". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of country town names – S". Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  3. ^ "Australian Explorer - Sandstone". 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  4. ^ "Shire of Sandstone". 2009. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  5. ^ "Technical bulletin - An inventory and condition survey of the Sandstone-Yalgoo-Paynes Find area, Western Australia" (PDF) (90). Government of Western Australia. 2 December 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  6. ^ John Taylor Architect; Heritage Council of Western Australia (2003), Conservation plan for Sandstone State Battery (fmr) (1908), Sandstone, Western Australia, Heritage Council of Western Australia], retrieved 9 April 2013 
  7. ^ "Sandstone". SMH Travel (Sydney Morning Herald). 2004-02-08. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 

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