Westonia was named one of the tidiest towns in Western Australia in 2010 – and it’s not hard to see why.
This gorgeous little community, 316km east of Perth in WA’s Central Wheatbelt region, has been transformed in recent years with pretty facades from the booming gold mining days of yesteryear. The town’s 1900s bank, cafe and grocery store have all been recreated, other streetscapes have been carefully preserved and all streets are named after minerals.
It’s not a huge place by any means – the total population in the surrounding shire is just 250 people. But there’s a nice cafe, motel, tavern and caravan park. There are good district hospitals within half an hour’s drive and the town has a small primary school catering for pre-primary students to Year 7. (High school students travel half an hour to Merredin Senior High School.)
We're told the surrounding countryside is lovely too. The 4km Woodlands and Wildflowers Heritage Trail starts near the caravan park and weaves through the Westonia Common woodland and back to town’s key historic sites. Spectacular granite rock formations also dot the area, including Elachbutting Rock which is about 100km north of Westonia and worth the trip.
The town takes its name from Alfred Weston, a sandalwood cutter and part-time prospector who discovered gold in the area in 1910. He sparked the region’s first gold rush and intermittent mining for the shiny stuff that has spanned 100 years.
Westonia’s Edna May gold mine, located just two kilometres from Westonia, has been an active mine four times since the lease was originally pegged by a contemporary of Alfred Weston’s back in 1910.
Today the Edna May Gold Project is owned and operated by Catalpa Resources, yielding an average 100,000 ounces per annum. The mine’s anticipated life span is at least nine years, to 2019. More than 120 employees work at the Edna May mine, of which 30 per cent live in Westonia and Merredin and the rest work on drive-in, drive-out rosters from Perth and stay at the camp village near Westonia's camping ground.
"Westonia is a really clean, friendly and safe town, with excellent sporting facilities and a community gym.”
- Annemaree, WA
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