Sandstone

Sandstone lies in the heart of the spectacular East Murchison Goldfields 650 kilometres from Perth via the Great Northern Highway. Sandstone is ideally located as a stopover for travellers on their way to many of Western Australia's destinations, be they east, west, north or south. It is a comfortable day's drive from Perth for those heading out onto the Gunbarrel Highway or the Canning Stock Route.

During the wildflower season, usually from about late July to the middle of September (subject to seasonal rains), the area around Sandstone is transformed from red earth to a carpet of colour. Many unique and picturesque features surround the area. Countless natural rock formations, or 'breakaways', contrast dramatically with the rust stained sandstone landscape which gives the town its name.

The discovery of gold in the area at the turn of the very early 1900s led to the establishment of several towns in the locality and Sandstone was gazetted in 1906. There are many places to see in the area: The Jundoo Dam was completed in 1910, Jundoo supplied water to the steam trains which serviced Sandstone in the early 1900s. (Sandstone was the last stop on the line). The dam held three and a half million gallons of water and cost 5,038 pounds to build. Today almost all of the original works remain intact. Jundoo is half an hours' drive from Sandstone off the SandstoneMount Magnet Road.

A half an hours' drive west of Sandstone (on the Sandstone-Leinster Road) is the Peter Denny Lookout. Of the many picturesque and interesting breakaways in the sandstone area 'London Bridge' is the most spectacular. It was once wide enough to allow a horse and sulky to cross but over the years it has been eroded to its present one metre width and visitors are requested not to walk over it. It is formed of weathered basalt and the rock is believed to be about 350 million years old. Many wild drinking parties were held here after the establishment of the brewery nearby and consequently, the bridge was commonly known as 'the Devil's Arch'.

The brewery was established in 1907 by an Irishman, J.V. Kearney, to provide for the demands of the many miners when working in the area. It is built on top of a breakaway, close to where the cliff drops some 30 to 40 feet. Water was pumped to equipment on the upper level for brewing and then stored in cellars below which, carved in solid rock, ensured that the beer was kept cool even in the hottest weather.

The smallest of the four hotels built in Sandstone during the gold rush years, the National Hotel is also the only one still remaining. It was built by Mr W.A. Richardson in 1909 using bricks fired in a local kiln near the 'Hacks'. Food is available at the local hotel. Hotel/motel, caravan park and self contained unit style accommodation is available in Sandstone.

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