Leinster is a town in the northern goldfields area of Western Australia. The town is located 4 km east of the Goldfields Highway, in the Shire of Leonora Local Government Area, 968 kilometres northeast of the state capital, Perth.
At the 2006 census, Leinster had a population of 732.
Leinster was first established in 1976 as a company town supporting the nickel mine of the Agnew Gold Mining Company. It takes the name from nearby Leinster Downs Station. Prior to mining activities, the land was pastoral. Large stations in the area include Leinster Downs, Pinnacles, Yakabindie, Yeelirrie and Weebo to name a few. Today sheep is the primary stock.
Large scale mining in the area began in 1897 when the East Murchison United Company (EMU) began working on alluvial gold deposit in the vicinity of what is now the Emu gold operations. WMC Resources Ltd purchased the operation in 1989, renamed it ‘Leinster Nickel Operations’ and began recommissioning the operation.
When Leinster was built, special consideration was given to the natural environment. Built on a sand dune, local and native plants flourish with big stands of shady gum trees giving the town an oasis impression.
The town consists of 283 houses, a caravan park, some 800 single persons quarters and motel services supporting a population of 700 residents and 700 ‘fly-in-fly-out’ personnel. All accommodation has been designed to ensure that comfort is maintained. Air conditioning is a standard feature.
Shopping facilities at Leinster include a comprehensive supermarket, beautician, post office, service station, newsagency, coffee shop, hairdressing salon and nursery.
The active sporting population is well catered for with an olympic-size swimming pool, health and fitness centre, two air conditioned squash courts, basketball, netball and tennis courts, a grassed oval and a magnificent air conditioned indoor sporting stadium. An 18-hole golf course and race course complete the picture.
The Leinster Primary School caters for approximately 130 children up to year 8 with older children having the Distance Education Centre Programme available. For the younger children, there is a pre-primary centre, day-care centre and playgroup.
A tavern and ‘wet mess’ are located in Leinster with the tavern offering ‘A-la-carte’ and speciality menus on a weekly basis. Live entertainment is regularly brought to Leinster by sporting and community groups.
In addition to a resident doctor, the town has a Silver Chain Nursing Post which is staffed by two nurses and is open five days a week. Should emergencies arise, they can be dealt with immediately by the St John’s Ambulance sub-centre, operated by volunteers on call 24 hours a day.
Often referred to as ‘the home of the wedge-tailed eagle’, the countryside around Leinster is also inhabited by kangaroos and emus and dotted with many interesting rock formations to the east. The town itself provides community services for the nearby mine site, and while the mine is not open to visitors, the shops and service station welcome travellers.
Facilities at Leinster include a supermarket, post office, service station, primary school and tavern. Sporting facilities include an indoor sports centre and 18 hole golf course.
The Leinster Nickel Operation is now part of the BHP Billiton Nickel West business group. The operation employs 992 workers and produces 40,000 – 45,000 tons of nickel in concentrate per year.
Apart from the Nickel operations, gold was also mined 41 km south east of Leinster, at the Thunderbox Gold Mine, from 2002 to 2007.