Tag Archives: wyndham

Wyndham – Part 2

Down at sea-level, we perused the one-street town that was Wyndham.

Wyndham

The salt pan attracted a few people.

Wyndham

And there were plenty of rusty remnants from bygone days. Since the closure of the meat works and the mine, there’s really not much work at the port, or anywhere in town.

Wyndham

Aside from these attractions, it had a jetty, a big (fiberglass) crocodile, a museum, a grocery shop, a gift shop, and a surprisingly good cafe. We tried looking for saltwater crocodiles at the jetty, but all we saw was endless mangroves.

Wyndham

Hugh, Nic and Baz were in the area to shoot Australia, but that’s 10 years ago now. Let’s hope that Wyndham gets back on its feet someday.

Wyndham – Part 1

We followed the Ord River north-west until it flowed out into the Cambridge Gulf, near the town of Wyndham, 100km of Kununurra. It’s not the only river that flows out here – it’s also the mouth of four other rivers. We had a good look from the (aptly named) Five Rivers Lookout, high above Wyndham.

Wyndham

The landscape here was enormous. The rivers, the gulf, the ranges, and the salt/sand/mud flats seemed to go on forever.

Wyndham

Wyndham used to be a busy port, but the demise of the live cattle industry and mining ended that. On the day we visited, it was receiving its last nickel-ore-carrying ship.

Wyndham

Pioneers of the Kimberley

During our tour, we were introduced to the stories of a few pioneers of the Kimberley. First were the miners of Halls Creek’s very brief gold rush in the 1880’s. They had to walk at least 400km to the nearest port down rough and dusty tracks. A character called ‘Russian Jack’ walked this distance with a very sick mate in his wheelbarrow!

Pioneers of the Kimberley

One of the most well-known families of the region are the Duracks, whom I read about in Kings in Grass Castles. They were were cattle owners who drove their mob overland from Goulburn in New South Wales, to the Channel Country in Queensland, and finally to the East Kimberley. Their homestead has been preserved beside Lake Argyle, and it was touching to visit the (surprisingly modest) home where so many legends had lived.

Pioneers of the Kimberley

It was touching also to see the grave of the Durack’s indigenous companion, Pumpkin, beside those of the family. Pumpkin was from the Boontamurra tribe of the Cooper Creek district, helped them establish their station, build their homestead, and train the local indigenous lads as stockmen.

Pioneers of the Kimberley

And lastly, there were the Chinese. The first came to the district during the gold rush, but soon found jobs as cooks for droving teams, gardeners at cattle stations, and of course, merchants. This is a well-known shop in the port of Wyndham, first traded at the turn of the 20th century (perhaps earlier), and did a good trade when the town was a vital hub in the region.

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