Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Laverton WA


Postcode: 6440

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, 957 kilometres (595 mi) north-northeast of the state capital, Perth, and 124 kilometres (77 mi) east-northeast of the town of Leonora. 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 January.

Laverton is primarily a mining area. There are two major gold mines in the Shire: Granny Smith owned and operated by Placer Dome and Sunrise Dam owned and operated by AngloGold Ashanti. Both are now enormous open pits. The Murrin Murrin laterite nickel 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.

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.