Ravensthorpe is a small town about 541km south east of Perth. The area was first surveyed by Surveyor General
John Septimus Roe in 1848 and was named after the Ravensthorpe Range which Roe had also named on the suggestion of
surveyor A W Canning. The range had been named in honour of Bishop Augustus Short who had been the Vicar of
Ravensthorpe in Northamptonshire in England before journeying to Australia. The area was first settled by the Dunn
brothers in 1868 who promptly began farming sheep. James Dunn discovered gold at Annabel Creek in 1899 starting a
gold boom. By 1901 there were about a 1000 people living in the area which prompted the government to gazette the
The government constructed a gold and copper smelter, which cast copper and gold ingots, in 1906 but when
World War I was declared the town fell into decline. By 1918 many of the copper and gold mines were closed and so
too the copper smelter.
Following the war and the Great depression agriculture became the main source of income for the community.
In 2004 BHP Billiton began construction of a a nickel and cobalt mine and processing plant.