Shire of Leonora
370km NNW of Kalgoorlie-Boulder
Leinster was established in 1976 by the Agnew Gold Mining Company as the town for workers at the nearby Agnew Gold Mine and the Perseverance and Rocky’s Reward nickel mines. The town takes its name from nearby Leinster Downs Station which was established in the early 1900s.
Mining in the region began almost a century earlier with the discovery of gold in 1892 by Julius Anderson. Two years later Paddy Lawler’s prospecting party discovered gold at Lamehorse Soak. The Great Eastern and Donegal leases were also pegged in 1894.
In 1897 the East Murchison United Company (EMU) began working the Emu Gold Mine operation. By 1899 the Waroonga, Glasgow Lass, New Holland and Cinderella leases were producing gold. The Leinster workings, from which Leinster Downs Station took its name, enjoyed its main gold production between 1900 and 1906.
Gold and nickel are still mined in the area, with the Leinster Nickel Operation now owned by BHP Billiton Nickel West and the Agnew Gold Mine by Gold Fields.
Today Leinster has a population of about 1,400.
In 1895 prospectors Tom Cue, David Ogilvie, and J. Hunter found gold at the site, initially known as Cue’s Find or Cue’s Patch. The township was later renamed Agnew after J.A. Agnew, the manager of the Sons of Gwalia Mine. Agnew’s population peaked at 500. The only remaining building is the Agnew Hotel, built in 1945 near the old East Murchison United (EMU) head frame and tailings dump.
Darlot, originally known as Woodarra, is close to Lake Darlot which was named after pastoralist Leonard Darlot of Berringarra Station. Gold was discovered in late 1894 and Woodarra, gazetted in 1898, was named after the Aboriginal term for a nearby granite rock formation. The signposted town site, Darlot cemetery and the ruins of the Darlot Battery remain.
Gazetted in 1896, Lawlers was named after prospector Paddy Lawler. By the early 1900s Lawlers was a significant town amid a host of smaller settlements, with five hotels, a variety of shops as well as banks, schools, a resident mining warden, brewery, blacksmiths, cordial factory and Cobb & Co coach service. By 1905 the district’s population peaked at almost 2,000, but five years later the mines began to close and by the 1920s Lawlers was a ghost town. The cemetery, old police station and the marked town site are all that remain.