An old goldmining town of the Murchison Goldfields that now serves a
scattered pastoral district. Increased gold prices has seen a number of
huge open cut mines established in the area.
The area once had three separate townsites - Mount Magnet,
Boogardie, and Lennonville. Boogardie has since been swallowed up into
the open cut mining operations at Hill 50.
Unusual for such a large mining community, Mount Magnet has never
had a public battery. The nearest battery was built 5 km west, in
Boogardie. However its gold-rush heyday can be seen in its very wide
main street with three hotels, a race course and a golf course complete
with oiled greens.
Surrounding the town are remnants of old mining operations, and to
the north east are significant Aboriginal sites being preserved jointly
by the local community and the West Australian Museum.
Today, it is both mining and pastoral industries which form the
economic base of the Shire of Mount Magnet, however the beautiful
wildflower blooms that can be seen between July and September each year
also draw many tourists to the town.
The Heritage Walk is a leisurely stroll through town offering
visitors a small part of the history of Mount Magnet. The walk down the
main street still gives a feeling of days gone by, with its wide road
and old shop fronts. Just around the corner see the Old School Masters
House and Old School, now renovated and housing the Rural Transaction
Centre. The first Police Station has been destroyed by fire but the
Station Masters House, Original Bank of Western Australia and Old Post
Office and Residence, plus other sights are included on the Heritage
On the Boogardie-Lennonville road there is a very interesting rock
formation known locally as the Amphitheatre. For over eighty years it
has been used as a local picnic spot. It is one of those magic places
which sensitive people say brings them close to nature. It appears to
be an ancient waterfall from an older land level, a laterite capped
island in space. It was always a great lovers’ trysting place and
it has been whispered that a large percentage of Mount Magnet's
population originated from there.
7 km north of the town, The Granites are an escarpment about 15
metres high, formed by the erosion of the soft white granite from
beneath a hard red brown iron cemented capping. The caves formed in the
soft granite have fantastically sculptured surfaces formed by the small
curved quartz veins in the granite. The Granites are a popular picnic
spot and are situated approximately 9km north of Mount Magnet, along
the Great Northen Highway.
For at least 20,000 years prior to settlement the Aborigines
considered the Mount Magnet region their home. The Granites is a place
of strong cultural significance to the Badimia tribe. Their old
carvings and paintings can be seen at several sites at The Granites.
Paintings on the rocks at Walganna Rocks have been dated at 9,000 years
old, making them of a similar age to cave paintings in Europe. There is
also a “Gnamma” hole in this area known to a few local
people, this being a traditional native well covered by a stone.
Ceremonial and burial sites are also located within The Granites area.
Visitors and residents are asked to respect the cultural significance
of the land and sites. A beautiful place to explore and picnic,
especially at sunset.
The remains of the mining town of Lennonville lie just north of the
Mount Magnet townsite. At the peak of the gold rush in the region, in
the early 1900’s it is believed that the population of
Lennonville reached 3000, making it the most important of the three
townsites of Mount Magnet, Boogardie and Lennonville. During this peak
time there were five hotels in the townsite. In 1909 after several
years of slow decline, a huge fire swept through the main street of the
town, provoking a general exodus. Lennonville was abandoned at the
start of World War I.
Today you can visit the vacant townsite, explore through what was a
thriving township less than 100 years ago. The old railway platform
remains in Lennonville and has a great collection of relics from the
old town left by fossickers. A plaque in the Lennonville Cemetery names
those interred in this cemetery and the “old” Lennonville
Cemetery a few km away. The plaque gave the details of a couple who had
5 of their children die aged between 12 years and just days old, all in
one 7 year period.