Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kimberley Region WA 3 - Shire of Wyndham

Photo: Gorge scene, Wyndham Shire

The Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley covers a vast area of 121,000 sq kms and is one of the four local governments in the Kimberley Region.

The Shire has one of the oldest (Wyndham) and one of the newest (Kununurra) towns in Western Australia. Add to that the largest producing diamond mine in the world together with some of the most spectacular as well as culturally rich landscapes on earth.

Kununurra was gazetted in 1960 and is both the youngest and largest town in the East Kimberley. From its humble beginnings as a small settlement that catered for the workers employed for the construction of the first part of the Ord River Scheme, Kununurra is now a vibrant centre that offers modern services, shopping facilities, an intensive agriculture, mining and tourism sector, a host of community activities and a lifestyle that suits the 6000 people that call Kununurra home.

In the local Aboriginal dialect the name Kununurra means "The Meeting Of The Big Waters" and water (and fishing) is a feature. Gorges and waterfalls, several big tidal rivers, dozens of smaller streams and creeks, Lake Kununurra, and the huge expanse of Lake Argyle.

The community of Warmun (Turkey Creek) Warmun is located about 200 kilometres south west of Kununurra on the Great Northern Highway.

Servicing the small community and the surrounding cattle stations, Warmun is also ideally located to those visitors that are travelling into the Purnululu National Park. The Warmun Art Centre exhibits many of the local indigenous artists and is a popular gallery that many choose to visit while in the community.

Photo: View from Five Rivers Lookout, Wyndham

The town of Wyndham is located on the far northern coast of Australia and was originally established in 1886 as a result of the gold rush to Halls Creek further to the south. In its heyday it boasted of six thriving pubs and its location in Cambridge Gulf provided an excellent port facility for the region.

Today Wyndham provides a vital link in the export of live cattle, sugar from the Kununurra sugar mill and serves as a shipping facility to the numerous mining ventures in the region. The port today also caters for the numerous tourism vessels that ply the Kimberley coast or offer fishing charters to remote parts of the region.

The boom days for Wyndham were during the operating years of the Wyndham Meatworks which employed around 500 workers. Today with a population of about 850 Wyndham remains a small frontier style centre typical of the character of the Kimberley - unpretentious and friendly, but proud of its heritage.

Further Information

Further information about about the area including living and tourism possibilities can be obtained from the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley and from Kununurra Tourism. For a somewhat idiosyncratic but useful personal view see Kimberley Australia Travel Guide.

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