The Kimberley, Western
The Kimberley, situated in the north of Western Australia, is often
referred to as 'The Last Frontier'. There are two main routes through
the Kimberley The Great Northern Road, suitable for all vehicles and
The Gibb River Road, more suitable to four wheel drives.
The Great Northern Road is the main access route from the Northern
Territory to Western Australia.
The Kimberley covers an area almost twice the size of Victoria and
stretcehes from the north of the state down to the Sandire Roadhouse
and Caravan Park, south of Broome.
Whilst the area is enormous the majority of the population are based in
one of the six main towns that are in The Kimberley, the majority being
in Broome to the south west.
The very diverse lansdsapes found within the Kimberley range from lush
tropically vegetated river gorges, vast savannah woodlands, rainforests
to open plains, which has stood the test of time and prospered
despite human intervention.
The Kimberley is steeped in Aboriginal culture as it has been home to
the Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years, it has even been
credited as possibly their first base on the Australian mainland. Much
of the region has been declared Aboriginal lands and entry is either
prohibited to travelers or permits are required.
The first sighting of the area by europeans was in 1644 when a ship
passed captained by Tasman. The first overland explorers reached the
area in 1837 by an expedition led by George Grey.
Whilst pastoralists established themselves in the eastern regions of
the Kimberley in the early 1900's much of the travel to and from the
region was by camel or horse. It wasn't until the early 60's that road
access started to happen, mainly when the Gibb River Road was
constructed to help move cattle to and from the isolated cattle
stations that had been built up.
Whilst The Kimberle's fortunes have been made with various commodities
over the years including cattle, sheep, pearls and gold it has today
become mainly cattle farming country.
These days limited mining is flourishing and the Ord River Scheme has
turned the areas around Kununurra into thriving agricultural lands.
These days the area is a paradise for 4wd travellers, the numbers of
which is ever increasing, who come here to enjoy the rich diversity
that is to be found both with nature, culture and history. Whilst the
population of The Kimberley is around 35,000 accross the whole area,
this number regulary increases to over a quarter of a million in the
dry period between April and October with the visiting travellers.