Sandstone is in the heart of the east Murchison District, 742 kms northeast of Perth.
Prospectors Ernest Shillington and colleagues found gold about 20 kms southwest of the Sandstone in 1894. From 1907 Sandstone prospered, as more people arrived when the railway was connected in July 1910. At its peak the population was over 8,000! But by 1919 only 200 people remained, however Sandstone has survived as a centre for the region’s pastoral industry, and recent gold mining exploration.
Sandstone is named after the natural 'breakaway' rock formations. The Sandstone Belt is about 2.6 billion years old which makes the landscape truly ancient. From July to September the red earth is covered with wildflowers. Wildlife such as emus, bungarras and kangaroos are very at home here, and its normal to see a kangaroo on the main street of town during the evening.
The Sandstone Heritage Trail takes in the town and surrounding area featuring sites of historical and natural significance. Taking the 17.9 kms drive at a leisurely pace it is a pleasant way to spend half a day. Some of the sites along the way are:
London Bridge is part of a larger 800 metre formation which varies in height from 3 to 10 metres. The weathered basalt is believed to be about 350 million years old.
The Brewery was constructed by Irishman JV Kearney in 1907, to supply the many thirsty miners working in the area, built on a breakaway close to the edge of a 40 foot drop. Water was pumped from a well at the top storey, gravity sent the brew to coolers, then to large vats on the main floor, from there it went to the cellar which was a man-made tunnel in the face of the cliff. But after the railway line came to town there was a more regular supply of liquor and the Sandstone brewery closed.
Black Range Chapel was a Catholic church called St Athanasius, constructed in 1908. In October 1995 the church was vested to the Shire of Sandstone by the Catholic Bishop of Geraldton, and became a non-denominational church. There was major restoration including a feature stained-glass window depicting the local landscape, flora and fauna.
The National Hotel was built in 1907 by WA Richardson, it was the smallest of four hotels erected during the gold rush years, and made from bricks fired in a kiln near Hacks Mine. The hotel has remained open since its construction, and is popular with locals and visitors.
Distance from Perth (km): 661