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 541
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.
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).
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.
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. 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. A bulk wheat bin was constructed in the town in 1947 capable of holding over 30,000 bushels
PICTURES OF RAVENSTHORPE