Now & Beyond

Historic goldmining town which has recently experienced a remarkable makeover.

It is hard to imagine a more unusual town than Westonia. Although it did not come into existence until 1910 it actually looks like a 1920s town which was built last week ... which is basically what it is. As a result of the "Wolfram Street Facades" project the town's original bank, cafe, hotel, fire station, boarding house and green grocer's store have new facades and new buildings have been constructed in the style of the 1920s. It would be easy to see this as a kind of Historic Disneyland but the town is an operational modern entity with a 1920s pub, a 1920s Shire of Westonia office building and an exceptional museum. It represents the eastern limit of the wheatbelt before the traveller enters the Goldfields. Its origins are more connected to the fortunes of the Goldfields than they are to those of the wheatbelt. It is worth visiting because there is no other town in Australia which is fully functional and also looks like a remarkable movie set.


Westonia is located 311 km east of Perth via the Great Eastern Highway and 357 m above sea level.

Origin of Name

The town was originally named Weston after Alfred David Weston who discovered gold at Boodalin Soak in December, 1910. It was changed to Westonia in June, 1914.

Things to See and Do

St Lukes Anglican Church

This modest weatherboard church has an incredibly colourful history. It was originally built in 1916 as a church and meeting hall by the Reverend Joseph Budge at Naretha. Naretha was a railway siding near Cocklebiddy on the edge of the Nullarbor Plain. At the time it was a camp for the workers who were building what became known as the Indian Pacific railway line. When the railway moved on and the workers left, the church was dismantled and moved to Kalgoorlie. Shortly afterward the Bishop of Kalgoorlie, Dr Cyril Golding-Bird, discovering that Westonia had no church and that services were being held in the local school, decided the church should be moved and so, in October 1918, a church which had been built over 600 km away was consecrated at the end of Westonia's main street.

Wolfram Street Facades

The Shire of Westonia brochure explains: "The Wolfram Street Facades project involves the construction of all new buildings in Westonia's town's centre in a 1920's historic style as well as the restoration and maintenance of all existing historic buildings in the town. The facades of the town's original bank, cafe, hotel, fire station, boarding house and green grocer store have also been replicated and front new buildings constructed in Westonia." This, combined with the upgrading of Wolfram Street, and the excellent redesign of the median strip gardens (they now include both a new mine shaft, a number of palm trees, and a stamper battery), has given Westonia a remarkable, modern yet historic, feel. It is an impressive and unique project designed to preserve the heritage of the town.

The Hood-Penn Museum Project

This project (access is via the Shire of Westonia offices in Wolfram Street) was officially opened on 22 March, 2014. Apart from contributions from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government there was also assistance from architects, mine tunnel designers, builders, Evolution Mining and the Westonia Progress Association. The end result is a fine example of a 21st century museum where money has been spent intelligently and creatively. The two most obvious examples of money well spent are the models in the displays which actually look like real human beings rather than store bought dummies and the hugely entertaining mining experience where visitors enter a darkened mine, listen to the chatting of two miners and experience the sensation of a vibrating mine tunnel as a section of the wall is blown up. The room shakes dramatically. There are fine displays of historic bottles in a hotel bar; a 1920s-era bedroom with a woman brushing her hair; a rural business centre; a blacksmith's shop and a 1920s kitchen. The setting is a huge shed which adjoins the Shire of Westonia offices. It is open from 9.00 am - 4.30 pm Monday to Friday.

Woodlands and Wildflowers Heritage Walk Trail

This pleasant 4 km walking trail starts outside the entrance to the Caravan Park and passes through the woodlands around the town. It is well worth undertaking because the trees in this area of Western Australia are particularly beautiful and in the spring the area is covered with wildflowers. The Shire has a brochure - Woodlands and Wildflowers Heritage Walk Trail - with a map which includes such amusing names as "Lichen Lookout", "Melodious Melaleuca" and "Eyes for the Echidna" and a useful guide to the trees, birdlife and wildflowers which can be seen on the walk.

Other Attractions in the Area

Edna May Gold Mine Lookout

The Edna May Gold Mine is now a huge open cut operation run by Ramelius Resources PTY LTD. It is only two kilometre out of town and the lookout offers a fine view over the entire operation. There is a detailed history of the mining operation at Edna May Westonia . The mine currently employs 180 people and is expected to continue operations until at least 2019.

Reserves and Rocky Outcrops in the Area

There are a number of impressive granite outcrops around Westonia. They are all detailed on the town's detailed brochure or the information can be accessed at granite outcrops and nature reserves.

The features worth visiting include:

Yanneymooning Hill Reserve - Located 75 km north of Westonia it is known for its flora and birdlife with Patricia's Spider Orchid and the eucalyptus garden species 'Silver Princess' in evidence on the rock.

Chiddarcooping Reserve - Located 50 km north of Westonia it is known for its rocky outcrops, its rare native bottlebrush species and the Cowslip Orchid.

Boodalin Soak - Located 6 km west of the town it is historically significant because C.C. Hunt established one of his line of wells at this location and the well, built by convicts, can still be seen. For those who have read the entry on Toodyay - - it was here that Moondyne Joe was recaptured after his attempt to walk to the eastern states.

Elachbutting Rock - Located 100 km north of Westonia, this 466 ha reserve includes an unusual rock formation which looks like the famous Wave Rock. It is also home to a wide range of bird life and, in springtime, it is alive with wildflowers.
Baladjie Rock - Located 42 km north-east of Westonia, this dramatic rock offers fine views across the surrounding countryside. It is also the home of the Ornate Dragon Lizard.

Sandford Rocks Nature Reserve - Located 10 km north-east of Westonia, this reserve is 806 ha of granite outcrops, pools and bushland. There is a 1 km walking trail. The brochure is available from the Westonia Shire Offices.