SANDSTONE is a small town in the Mid West region of Western Australia, 661km north of Perth.
The town was first settled in 1894 as part of a gold rush. By 1907 the population of the town had swelled to over 6,000 and it boasted four hotels, four butchers, two banks, a staffed police station and many other stores.
A brewery was also constructed in 1907 by an Irishman, I.V. Kearney, to satisfy the local demand. He built the brewery on a breakaway on top of a cliff about 35 feet high. Water was pumped to the top level for brewing and the beer was stored in the cellars below to keep it cool even in the hotter weather.
By 1919-1920, the town was in decline with the population decreasing at
an alarming rate. There were still two hotels running, the national and the Oroya Palace, however the Oroya Palace Hotel closed its doors on 31 December 1920.
The Oroya Palace Hotel’s name is derived from a prickly desert plant. Oroya is a genus of Cacti, originating from Peru. The name comes from the Peruvian town, la Oroya, where the first plants were discovered.
Today, Sandstone has less than 100 residents, and is the administrative centre of the Shire of Sandstone local government area. The smallest of the hotels built in town, the National, constructed in 1909 from locally made bricks, is the only pub to survive.