Leonora is a town in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia, located 833 kilometres (518 mi) northeast of the state capital, Perth, and 237 kilometres (147 mi) north of the city of Kalgoorlie. About 1,500 people live in the town of Leonora, about a third of whom are of Aboriginal descent. The area is extremely arid, with a mean annual rainfall of just 230 millimetres (9 in). It is also quite warm, with mean daily maximum temperatures ranging from 18°C (64°F) in July to 37°C (99°F) in January.
Leonora is primarily a mining town. There are a number of major gold mines in the Shire, and the Murrin Murin laterite nickel project is located in the shire. The area is too arid to support agriculture, but there is a substantial pastoral industry.
The Leonora area was first explored by John Forrest, who visited the area in 1869. Forrest’s party made camp near a hill, which Forrest named Mount Leonora, after a lady friend of his, Miss Phylis Leonora Hardey. In 1894, gold was discovered in the area by a prospector named Morrisey, and in the following two years a number of rich finds resulted in rapid development of the area. The Gwalia and Sons of Gwalia gold mines brought Leonora to the attention of the world. By 1897 a residential and business area had been established, and the town was gazetted as Leonora in 1898.