Leonora, Western Australia

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Western Australia
Tower Street, Leonora, 2018 (11).jpg
Tower Street, Leonora
Australia Western Australia location map.svg
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Coordinates 28°53′00″S121°19′51″E / 28.883343°S 121.330744°E / -28.883343; 121.330744 Coordinates: 28°53′00″S121°19′51″E / 28.883343°S 121.330744°E / -28.883343; 121.330744
Population556 (2016 census) [1]
Postcode(s) 6438
Elevation376 m (1,234 ft)
LGA(s) Shire of Leonora
State electorate(s) Kalgoorlie
Federal Division(s) O'Connor
Mean max tempMean min tempAnnual rainfall
27.9 °C
82 °F
13.9 °C
57 °F
234.5 mm
9.2 in

Leonora is a town in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia, located 833 kilometres (518 mi) northeast of the state capital, Perth, and 237 kilometres (147 mi) north of the city of Kalgoorlie.



Leonora in 1899 Leonora 1899.jpg
Leonora in 1899

The first European explorer was John Forrest, who visited the area in 1869. [2] On 21 June 1869 Forrest's party made camp near a conspicuous hill, which Forrest named Mount Leonora, after his six-year-old niece Frances (Fanny) Leonora Hardey. [3] In 1895, gold was discovered in the area by prospector Edward "Doodah" Sullivan at the Johannesburg lease just north of the current townsite. In the following two years a number of rich finds resulted in rapid development of the area. The Sons of Gwalia gold mine brought Leonora to the attention of the world. By 1897 a residential and business area had been established, and the town was gazetted as Leonora. [4]

Leonora had a single track passenger tramway linking the town and nearby Gwalia, from 1901 to 1921. Initially steam driven, the service was electric from November 1908, and petrol powered from 1915.

A reverse osmosis desalination treatment plant was opened in October 2005 to improve the quality of the town's water supply from the Station Creek wellfield by reducing the naturally occurring high levels of salinity, nitrate and hardness. It was designed to supply 2.5 million litres of treated water per day. [5] [6]

In 2010, the Rudd Government relocated asylum seekers from Christmas Island to the "Leonora Alternative Place of Detention", an immigration detention centre, previously used as a mine workers hostel, in Leonora. The Abbott Government closed the facility in February 2014. [7] [8]


Leonora is primarily a mining town. There are a number of major gold mines in the Shire, as well as the Murrin Murin laterite nickel project. The area supports a significant pastoral industry.


At the 2016 census, Leonora had a population of 556, 27.6% of whom were of Aboriginal descent. [1]


The area has an arid climate (BWh), with very hot summers and cool winters. Frost may occur occasionally on some winter mornings. Rainfall is very sparse.

Climate data for Leonora
Record high °C (°F)49.0
Average high °C (°F)37.0
Average low °C (°F)21.8
Record low °C (°F)12.6
Average precipitation mm (inches)26.3
Average precipitation days3.
Average relative humidity (%)21272834394543362822212030
Source: [9]

See also

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  1. 1 2 Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Leonora (L) (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 17 March 2018. OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
  2. Forrest, John (1875). Explorations in Australia. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Low, & Searle. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  3. "Woman Pioneer". Daily News. Perth, WA. 17 August 1927. p. 4. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  4. "1829-1896". Shire of Leonora. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  5. "Work to start on Leonora desalination plant". ABC. 2 June 2003. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  6. "Leonora Water Reserve drinking water source protection plan: Leonora-Gwalia town water supply" (pdf). Water resource protection series. Perth, WA: Government of Western Australia Department of Water. 113. June 2010. ISSN   1835-3924 . Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  7. "Asylum seekers to be sent to WA mining camp". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 June 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  8. "Shire of Leonora disappointed over Government decision to close immigration detention centre". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  9. "Climate statistics for Leonora". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 27 July 2018.

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