Laverton is a town in the
Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia, and the centre of administration for the Shire of Laverton. The town of Laverton
is located at the western edge of the Great Victoria
Desert, north-northeast of the state capital, Perth, and east-northeast of the town of Leonora with an elevation of 461 m.
About a third of
the population are of Aboriginal
descent. The area is
extremely arid, with a mean annual rainfall of just 230 millimetres
(9 inches). It is also quite warm, with mean daily maximum
temperatures ranging from 17 °C (62 °F) in July to 36 °C (97 °F) in
Laverton is primarily a mining
two major gold mines in the shire: Granny
Smith, owned and operated by Barrick
Gold, and the Sunrise Dam Gold Mine, owned and operated by AngloGold Ashanti.
Both open pit
and underground mining is conducted
at these mines. The Murrin Murrin
project is also located nearby, just over the shire border in
Leonora. The area is too arid to support agriculture
, but very low density grazing of
sheep and cattle is feasible, and a substantial area of land is
used in this way.
A number of early explorers travelled over the Laverton area,
including John Forrest
, David Carnegie
and Frank Hann
. Gold was discovered in the area in
1896 and many prospectors and miners moved into the area. Among
them was Dr Charles W. Laver, who became an enthusiastic supporter
and promoter of the region. One of the most successful mines was
, and by 1897 a residential and business area
had sprung up on the west side of the mine. This area came to be
known as Laverton, in honour of Laver. In 1899, the residents
sought to have a townsite surveyed, but by then the original
location had become unsuitable, so a new site was chosen about
three kilometres from the original lots. The site was surveyed in
July 1899 and the town of Laverton gazetted in July 1900.
By the late 1960s, Laverton was in decline, mainly because of the
very low price of gold. But in 1969 a prospector
named Ken Shirley discovered a huge
nickel deposit in the area, prompting the famous Poseidon bubble
. This deposit was developed
into the huge Windarra Nickel Project, which mined and processed
nickel for over 20 years.
According to census results from the Australian Bureau of
, the population of the Laverton statistical local area
2,078 to 730 in the five years from 2001 to 2006. Over this same
period, the proportion of indigenous people in the area increased
from 19% to 40%.
Recent mining activity in the area has seen the re-opening of the
old Windarra Mine by Poseidon Nickel
and the re-opening of the old Sons of
Barnicoat Mine by Crescent
is the westernmost town on the Outback
Way - a proposed highway which goes through the Northern
Territory to Winton in outback Queensland.