South of Onslow you will find the remains of the original townsite at the mouth of the Ashburton River.
The most prominent ruins here are the stone remains of the gaol, the courthouse, the police station and police quarters.
Some of the old town’s buildings and artefacts can also be seen at the Onslow Visitor Centre and Goods Shed Museum, where they were moved upon the establishment of the current townsite.
Heritage trail maps for a self-guided walk around the old townsite are available from the Onslow Visitor Centre.
Onslow was gazetted on 26th October 1885 to serve the port which exported wool from the sheep stations of the Pilbara. It was named after the then Chief Justice of Western Australia, Sir Alexander Onslow. In the early days of settlement, good pearls were found in Exmouth Gulf and the town became home port to a fleet of pearling luggers.
From the outset, the situation of the port created difficulties - during Wet season, the Ashburton River carried such a volume of water that safe mooring for ships was not always possible, and claypans near the townsite often flooded. Three jetties were constructed to try to alleviate these problems. The first was destroyed in a cyclone in 1897, and the second and third jetties were affected by silting. This led to the construction of a new jetty 18 kilometres away at Beadon Point and ultimately, to the relocation of the town in 1925.