Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Westonia, Western Australia
Westonia is a town and shire in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia. The town of Westonia is located at , 310 kilometres east of Perth and 52 kilometres northeast of the town of Merredin . The Shire of Westonia has an area of 3,304 square kilometres, and a population of approximately 240 people, about 100 of whom live in the town. The area is fairly arid, with a mean annual rainfall of just 300 millimetres (12 inches). It is also quite warm, with mean daily maximum temperatures ranging from 16°C (60°F) in July to 33°C (92°F) in January.
Although the Shire of Westonia is located in the Wheatbelt region, it is at the eastern limit of land suitable for wheat growing. The most important industries of Westonia today are wheat and sheep, but historically it is a gold mining area.
Westonia came into existence with the discovery in 1910 of gold in the area, by a sandalwood cutter named Alfred Westons. Initially the area was known as Weston's Reward and later as Westons. By 1915 there were two major mines in the area, and the population was in excess of 500. By 1917 the area, by then known as Westonia, had a population of more than 2,000. In 1919, low gold prices forced the closure of the mines, and the many people left the area. Westonia was gazetted as a town in February 1926. In 1935 one of the mines reopened, but closed again in 1948, only to be reopened in 1985.
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