HEMA Map reference 76/A2


24 52' 44" S 113 39' 42" E



Where is this?

Climate data for Carnarvon
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average Temp high C 31.2 32.4 31.5 29 26.2 23.3 24.2 22.9 24.3 25.9 27.5 29.3 27.2
Average Temp low C 22.5 23.3 22.1 19.1 14.9 12.3 11 11.5 13.8 16.3 18.6 20. 17.2
Rainfall mm 12 20.9 15.9 14.3 35.7 47.8 45.9 18.2 5.7 5.4 4.1 5.7 232.2
Source: Bureau of Meteorology





Km from Perth











Caravan Park



Visit website

08 9941 8101

Outback Oasis (Marloo)

Visit website

08 9941 1439

Norwesta (R)


1800 851 964


Visit website

1800 261 166


Visit website

08 9941 8153

Coral Coast (R)

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08 9941 1438

Quobba Station Visit website

08 9948 5098


Visit website

08 9941 8150




Gateway Motel

Visit website

08 9941 6900

Fascine Lodge

Visit website

08 9941 0600

Fish and Whistle Visit website

08 9941 1704

Sea Change Appts. Visit website

0408 785 697

Best Western

Visit website

08 9941 1600





08 9941 0555


08 9941 7900


08 9941 1013


08 9941 2121


08 9941 1488

Road reports

138 138

Visitor Centre

08 9941 1146




Blowholes , Rocky Pool , Boat Harbour, Miaboolya Beach, One Mile Jetty, Pelican Point, Bush Bay , Bibawarra Bore, the plantations, Chinaman's Pool, Dwyer's Leap, Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage Museum, Prawning factory, Tracking Station, HMAS Sydney Memorial.


Buildings of note


Hotels, Churches, Old post office, OTC station, Lighthouse keeper's house 1896, St. George's Church 1907, St. Mary Star of the Sea 1935.


Calendar Of Events


January: Australia Day breakfast. May: Business expo. (biannual May) Fremantle to Carnarvon Yachting classic. June: Carnafin. August: Skywest Festival, Children's Festival. September: Carnarvon Cup. December: Street party. Weekly: Markets on Saturdays from May to October.


Carnarvon - Heritage precinct

Heritage precinct




The marina

Carnarvon - Gascoyne Hotel

Gascoyne Hotel

Carnarvon - Gascoyne River Bridge

Gascoyne River Bridge



Carnarvon - Plantations


Carnarvon - Miaboolya Beach

Miaboolya Beach

Carnarvon - Old Post Office

Old Post Office

Carnarvon- Bibawarra Crossing

Bibawarra Crossing


The jetty

Carnarvon - Little Dirk

Little Dirk


Boat moorings



Carnarvon - Robinson Street

Robinson Street

Carnarvon - Oyster Creek

Oyster Creek

Carnarvon - Museum



The earliest Europeans to glimpse the coastline in this part of the world were almost certainly Dutch. The first confirmed landing was on Dirk Hartog Island (by Dirk Hartog no less!). This was way back in 1616. Hartog named the area Eendrachsland after his ship Eendracht.

The coast in this area was explored by
Tasman, de Vlamingh, Dampier, Pelsaert, Phillip Parker King, De Freycinet, Hamelin, Grey and Baudin to name just a few.

Sir George Grey discovered the Gascoyne River in 1839 and the island at the river's mouth he named Babbage Island. Grey's exploration was met with one disaster after another and after losing all his boats he and his party had to walk all the way back to Perth. The town takes it's name from Lord Carnarvon (
Henry Howard Molyneux), British Secretary of State for the Colonies 1866-7 & 1874-78. The Aboriginal name for the area was kuwinywardu (Kow-win-wordo), meaning neck of water.

By 1876 there were already settlers in the area when Brown, Brockman and Monger drove 4000 sheep from
York and established sheep stations in the vicinity. A townsite was gazetted in January 1883 and in 1886 the first land in town was sold.

The need for a jetty was quickly apparent and the first one was constructed in 1889. A better structure followed in 1900 and 9 years later a tramway was added to facilitate movement of goods and passengers the town that was some distance away.

Gascoyne River (that flows mostly underground) is 865km long. It is the main source of irrigation for the area and during exceptionally heavy rains it can flow over the main road bridge heading north.

The town suffered major floods in 1883, 1897, 1905, 1907 and 1909 and a protective bulwark known as the Fascine was completed in 1913. The fascine (a timber retaining wall) is said to be one of only two of its type in he world. Even after this barrier was constructed floods continued to visit Carnarvon from time to time. In 1961 over 2,000 people were evacuated first to 40 Mile Tank and then to Perth when the river burst its banks. Another smaller flood caused significant damage in 1980.

Not all of the town's history is covered with the glory of triumph over adversity. The treatment of the local Aboriginal people was deplorable in the early years. In the book 'The Passing of the Aborigines'
Daisy Bates wrote:

'Dorre and Bernier Islands: there is not, in all my sad sojourn among the last sad people of the primitive Australian race, a memory one-half so tragic or so harrowing, or a name that conjures up such a deplorable picture of misery and horror unalleviated, as these two grim and barren islands of the West Australian coast that for a period, mercifully brief, were the tombs of the living dead...

...When I landed on Bernier Island in November 1910, there were only fifteen men left alive there, but I counted thirty eight graves.

There were seventy-seven women on Dorre Island, many of them bed-ridden. I dared not count the graves there. A frightful sight it was to see grey-headed women, their faces and limbs repulsive in disease, but an even more frightful sight to see the young-and there were children among them.

The first fruit trees brought to the area were orange trees brought in by Mr. Mcleod in 1908. Since then fruit growing has been gradually developed in the area and is now worth more than 18 million dollars a year.

In 1922 an agricultural research station was opened, but it was not until the 1940s when tropical fruit started to be commercially grown, that the area's fruit industry really started to take off. Today there are around 70 plantations operating near the town. Many sell fruit direct to the public and the prices are low and the quality (usually) high.

Bananas are the most dominant (and visible) fruit in the area and the credit for bringing them in goes to Jack Buzolic who planted the first suckers in 1928 and began commercial harvesting in 1930. Australia produces in the vicinity of 300,000 tonnes of bananas a year (weather permitting) and of this the Carnarvon plantations only produce about 4,000 tonnes. Banana prices fluctuate wildly depending on demand and when cyclones hit Queensland and destroy crops there, Carnarvon growers can see prices increase as much as 1800%. 


The next most numerous fruit type found growing near Carnarvon is the Kensington Pride Mango. Mango season starts around Christmas time and many of the growers sell direct to the public. Although Kensington Pride are probably the best known variety, there are several other types being grown that are worth trying.

There is also a salt works at Lake Mcleod north of the town which produces over 1.5 million tonnes a year.


There is a local prawn processing factory but we can't see why they bother to sell to the public because prices at the local Woolworths are usually much cheaper.

In 1964, NASA opened a tracking station near the town. The words 'One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind' were actually broadcast to the world from this tracking station as Neil Armstrong became the first man to place his foot on the moon. The tracking station was later converted into an OTC site for phone communications. Today it just sits rusting up on top of a sand ridge, a monument to man's early exploration of space.


The tracking station at Carnarvon was not the first connection with the American space program. A tracking station at Muchea (near Perth) was the first place where, in February 1962, astronaut John Glenn first spoke to comm. tech. Gerry O'Connor.


The climate is probably about the best of any town in W.A. The winter is relatively mild and the strong south westerly winds that blow most days during the summer keep the temperature down so that it is usually cooler here than Geraldton 500km to the south and much cooler than Exmouth which is only just over 250km north.

Carnarvon is the true gateway to the tropical north in W.A. Shopping isn't too bad with a choice of Woolworths and IGA
(1) supermarkets in town. It is an interesting stop on the way to the 'top end' with good campsites not too far away at Bush Bay to the south, Rocky Pool to the east and Quobba Point to the north.

One note of caution about Quobba is the occurrence of freak waves known as king waves. More than 30 people have lost their lives along this coast after ignoring the warning signs that are posted in the main danger areas.

The Gribble Controversy.

Rev. John Brown Gribble came to the Gascoyne as a Missionary. His task was to establish a mission and Christianise the local Aborigines but on his rounds to various pastoral station he was horrified at the abuses carried out by the settlers on the Aborigines.

Gribble quickly fell out of favour with the white population (although he did have some supporters) and a petition was raised to get rid of the meddling outsider.

When Gribble attended local meetings he was shouted down, but this was not a man to be trifled with. This was the same Gribble who, when the Kelly gang held up the town of Jerilderie, had gone to Ned Kelly and demanded that his stolen watch be returned.

Gribble responded to the local antagonism by publishing a booklet describing in some detail the abuses that were taking place and this made its way into the newspapers in Perth. Gribble asserted that the native labour system bordered on slavery and he named names!

An incident then took place aboard the S.S. Natal where Gribble (rightly) feared that his life was in grave danger. He reported the incident on arrival in Perth and wanted to take legal action but the vested interests of wealthy pastoralists saw to it that no charges were ever brought.

Gribble went as far as making a complaint about the matter, and the Governor, to the Colonial Secretary, but still he was ignored.

The establishment in Perth did its best to rid the colony of Gribble but he had genuine public support. In a sneak attack, the Bishop's Commissary withdrew Gribble's missionary license (July 1 1886) and closed the Gascoyne Mission while Gribble was away seeking support in the eastern states. Not to be outdone Gribble was granted a general preaching license by the Primate of the church who then sent him on a speaking tour for 3 months.

By now excerpts from Gribble's booklet had reached the Melbourne press and this further enraged the Perth squattocracy. The West Australian Newspaper (a mouth piece for the establishment) wrote:

'one of whom [gribble] without exaggeration, we might designate as a lying, canting, humbug.'

Gribble took out a writ of Libel against the paper and sued for 10,000 pounds. Despite having the support of
Chief Justice Onslow the result was never in doubt. The establishment closed ranks and Gribble lost the case. Now bankrupt he left Western Australia and for a time was employed by the Aboriginal Protection Society of New South Wales. He later returned to missionary work but was a broken man. He died aged only 45 in 1893.

The affair, however, did not end there.

Chief Justice Onslow and
Governor Broome had a major falling out over Onslow's support for Gribble and the Chief Justice was suspended after making a public statement that he refused to withdraw. (Governor Broome had in fact suppressed information from Lt. Col. E. F. Angelo, the Government Resident at Roebourne, that corroborated Gribble's accusations.)

Onslow had public support and a protest march through the streets of Perth burned an effigy of the Governor.

John Hogan ' a member of the Legislative Council ' called the West Australian Newspaper a 'reptile sheet' and an 'embodiment of lies, distortion, snobbery and low journalism.'

The newspaper responded by writing some unfavourable comments about Hogan and another libel case ensued. Meanwhile the Privy Council had re-instated Justice Onslow and on this occasion the paper was found guilty of libel and fined 800 pounds.

Tall tales and true: The Mad 8.

A group of gun (expert) shearers was put together as a team to see how well they could perform. When working at Williambury Station they sheared 9167 sheep in a 40 hour working week, a world record that we believe may never have been broken.


Prawn feast


In 1903 some research was being done into the types and numbers of fish available for harvest in local waters. The research vessel was working off Dorre Island when on one run it lowered its nets and came to a complete stand still. The captain thought he had run afoul of an uncharted reef so imagine his surprise when the nets came up full of huge prawns. There was nowhere for the catch to be stored so they were taken to Carnarvon and given out free to the lucky residents. Even though it was known that good catches of prawns could be taken it was not until 1961 that the prawning industry got established.


Kingsford Smith goes trucking


Charles Kingsford Smith with his partner, Keith Anderson purchased a truck and formed the Gascoyne Transport Company. Smith ran a mail run from Carnarvon to Bangemall (near Mount Augustus.)





Carnarvon Shire logo

I'm lost please take me home...



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