Leonora is a townsite in the eastern goldfields 833 kilometres northeast of Perth and 237 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie. The townsite takes its name from nearby Mount Leonora which was named by the explorer/surveyor John Forrest in 1869. Forrest named the hill after a lady friend of his, Miss Phylis Leonora Hardey of Grove Farm on the Swan River near Perth.
Gold was discovered in the Leonora district in 1894 by a prospector named Morrissey, but further rich finds in 1895/96 resulted in rapid development and drew attention to the area. The Gwalia and Sons of Gwalia mines brought Leonora to the attention of the world. The Government sought to establish a townsite here in 1897, and following survey the townsite was gazetted in 1898, although by the time of survey and gazettal there were already many residences and businesses established. By 1902 Leonora and Gwalia were connected by a steam tramway.