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Ravensthorpe Historical Society

About Places of Interest

Ravensthorpe War Memorial

The Ravensthorpe War Memorial was unveiled by Mrs Charles Chapman and Mrs Newton in 1924. Mrs. Chapman lost two sons, Claude and Les within a few weeks of each other just before the end of WW1.

There are 58 names engraved on the Memorial, 18 of them killed in action, 10 of them during WWII. Further plaques were added for the Korean War (1950-53), Malaya (1948-1960), Borneo (1962-66) and Vietnam (1962-72)

The Phillips River Road Board erected a further plaque for Geordie Bevan, an Aborigine who died in 1944, aged 80 and for John Dunn, who was speared in 1880.

Freestone Quarry, Moir Road

Spongolite 'rock' is formed from the silica remains of prehistoric sponge skeletons dating 45 Mio years or so ago when the sea covered the land, leaving the much older mountains as islands.

Spongolite, althoughsoft when first quarried, makes a beautiful building material, its colour gloving at dawn and sunset. In 1905 the stone was used from the Moir Rd quarry for corner stones around the windows and doors of the old Ravensthorpe Hospital. Moirs Shearing shed at Kybalup was built from it too, early in the 20th century. The stone was used experimentally for the No. 2 Government Smelter but was found to be too friable.

In 1957, Ian Ferrier from the Eastern States used tungsten saws to cut the stone and had it tested for strength. It was found that the stone could take the weight of a ten storey building.

During the 1960s the stone was used extensively to build, espeically in Esperance, but also in Ravensthorpe and on some local farms. The stone needs to be sealed for weather proofing until it hardens with time

The Anglican Church

The timber and iron building was built in 1906 and became known as St. Andrews. The first service was held in 1907 by WK Elphick of Albany. Initially the building was intended as a church hall with the idea that a proper church would be erected on the adjoining block.

The first baptism in the register of this church was Mrs M Coleman and the first marriage Charlie West. In 1960 the old bell of the Church was donated to the Newdegate church and replaced by bell which had been used in the Fire Sttion building (which burnt down!)

The stained glass windows are of particular interest and not to be missed.

St Andrews' pulpit was originally used in St Paul's Cathedral in Bunbury. Later a brass lectern was donated to the church, in memory of Rose and Faith chambers who were regular church members till 1962. The new lectern is now made of old Hopetoun jetty timber.


The first lighthouse was built in 1907 on a sandhill between the Port Hotel and the Hopetoun jetty. In 1908/09 a harbour light was erected on the steel angle iron tower, with a lamp room and a fence. Constructed like a windmill tower it was 13 m tall. The lighthouse keeper used a long ladder to access the turret and light the kerosene lamp, which he had to extinguish in the morning.

A second lighthouse on the end of the jetty was 5 m tall. Samuel Dan Hunt who later operated the Hopetoun Fish cannery used to light the Lighthouse at the end of the jetty

Old Ravensthorpe Hospital

Built in Martin Street, the old hospital operated from 1904 to 1974. It was built of local stone by Charles Chapman for $92 and consisted of the Big Ward, surgery, kitchen and laundry. An attractive verandah displayed ornate woodwork and cornerstones and window frames were made of spongolite. Extensions to the hospital were added later.

Dr Wilson was the first practioner in Ravensthorpe and worked from 1904-1912. Many midwives worked in the area, including Nurse Marion Martin and Mrs. Mildwater. A full history of the old hospital can be read in Blow Whistle in Case of Emergency available at the Ravensthorpe Museum. It makes for fascinating reading. However, one Dr Hanarahan of Albany is worth a mention: he flew his Tiger Moth plane for 3 weekly clinics in Ravenshtorpe, then fished for bream in the Jerdacuttup River before heading home!

The old hospital was replaced in1974 with a transportable building which was replaced in 2003 with a modern, state of the art building.

Phillips River Roads Board Offices

The first Road Board Office, which burnt to the ground in 1916, was sited opposite Dance Cottage. It is alleged that the Secretary couldn't balance his books and as the Auditor was coming the Secretary burnt the office. He can't have burnt all the books as it was found they were indeed correct, with only a minor written mistake being the problem!

The second Roads Board Office was on the block next to the present Shire building. It was a small one room corrugated ad wood building which served its purpose until the Board was able to secure the old Bank of WA building in the middle 1960s which was then coverted to the present day Shire building.

Johnny Horner's Camp

Johnny Horner was a prisoner of war in WWI and was allocated his block in Jerdacuttup on his rturn. Initially he cut a 20 km track by mattock from Kundip east to his camp, wide enough to drive his model A Ford along. This track is now named Horner Rd.

On his block, Johnny built a two room corrugated iron homestead, grew vegetables, planted fruit trees and also had honey for sale or barter. Johnny is long gone, but many of his fruit trees still remain.

The Butter Factory

Built in 1916 in Jamieson Street on the Esperance Road, the butter factory was a stone building. Its erection followed a series of lush pasture years, when, presumably, milk production was high. Unfortunately the butter factory was never used, as the local cattle herds were struck down with a mysterious disease, which was later diagnosed as cobalt deficiency. A run of dry years, a regular occurrence in the district, followed the disease, further decimating the herds. The butter making machinery was sent back to Perth and farmers sent their surplus cream in cans by road to the Narrogin Butter Factory.

The Ravensthorpe Co-op

The Ravensthorpe Co-op had a chequered history. Find about the details of its life.

The Aerated Water Factory

This venture was far more successful than the butter factory. The wooden framed and corrugated iron clad shed on 74 Mogans Street operated from 1904 to 1940s. Messrs Eddy, Merrifield and Brunwin reigned supreme. Mr. Brunwin, apparently, was a Swiss chemist and owned a horse called Nardoo who would stagger up the Ravensthorpe hill with cool drink bottles in panniers.

Its tribulations are worth reading

© Ravensthorpe Historical Society. Compiled by E. Tink.
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