Km from Perth
08 9161 1139
Port, Afghan Cemetery, Gully
Cemetery, Moochalabra Dam, Three Mile Valley, Dreamtime Park, Crocodile
Lookout, Five Rivers Lookout, Parry Lagoon, The Grotto, The prison tree.
Calendar Of Events
May: Ord valley muster. June: Parrys Creek picnic. August: Race
(C) Geri Dobson (Facebook link)
northerly port in W.A. Wyndham is located on the Cambridge Gulf which
further out becomes the Timor Sea. The town was proclaimed in September 1886.
The area was explored by
Parker King in 1819. King?s pessimistic description of the area kept
Europeans away for the next 60 years. Originally called Anton?s Landing the
town was renamed Wyndam by
Forrest in honour of
son. (Turns out he was the son of Governor Broome?s wife but was actually fathered by her first husband Capt. Barker R.A.)
The first ship to land supplies in the area was the Cushidoo. The supplies
were destined for the Ord River Station but by the time transport arrived
the local Aborigines had made off with all but a few well hidden bags of
By 1886 the town had six pubs and a booming trade. The gold field at
Halls Creek was attracting miners and merchants
to the area and at least 5000 people passed through the town. The gold rush
was short lived and Wyndham quickly fell back to being a sleepy backwater
In 1901 there were only 61 people in town and by 1912 the economy had
resorted to the barter system. By 1919 a meat works had been established in
the town and it continued to operate until 1985. The meat works had been in
the construction phase since 1913 but
World War One
and a scandal with the London financier of the project (S. V. Nevanas)
caused the long delay.
'a lonely pin?point of settlement upon a vast and empty landscape of tidal
estuaries, mangroves, unpeopled valley floors and barren, tree?less ranges'
George Farwell 'The Outside Track' 1951
Leslie Rees later wrote about the town having a foreground of 'empty
44-gallon drums, beer bottles, old tins, bits of sheet iron, termite-eaten
wood. A background of salt marshes and harsh, desolate hills under the
Hardly inspiring stuff, but Wyndham has its own odd charm.
In 1935 (one source says 1938) a
Royal Flying Doctor base was established here to service the east
Kimberley. The area was bombed by Japanese planes during WWII but there were
no casualties recorded. This town is in the middle of crocodile country, and
care must be taken around all waterways.
The main town is neat and tidy - something Halls Creek could do well to
learn from - and while the port area is not as attractive it is at least
interesting. Five Rivers Lookout provides a spectacular view and is a 'must
see' if you are in the town. The lookout has BBQs, tables and shelters as
well as a toilet so take a picnic and spend some time there. The road up to
the lookout is not suitable for caravans as it has several hair-pin bends.
30km south of Wyndham is the Grotto. 2km down a roughish dirt track you will
find one of the most beautiful swimming holes in the area. The climb down
may be a bit strenuous for older people and space at the bottom is limited
but this is truly a beautiful place.
Wyndham is another of WAs hot spots. In 1946 the temperature stayed above
32C for an amazing 333 days.
Wyndham is on record as laying claim to having the
highest consumption of beer (per head) in Australia.
Tall tales & true: Lost silver mine
Before the days of colonisation it is said that a Malay trader named Ibrahim
had visited the King Sound coast and had discovered a huge deposit of
silver. He went home and spent his treasure in Macassar and then returned
for more. On the return trip he was shipwrecked and died but his journal was
found and it mentioned the silver but not exactly where to find it.
Much later in 1909 a local character called Mad Jack was found dead on his
boat. Killed by spears and a stone axe. There were also a few ounces of gold
and a tin full of silver ore.
Later still an employee of Ibrahim's great grandson is said to have arrived
in the area and travelled with a tribe of wild Aborigines. He was last seen
in 1939 and is presumed to have died searching for the lost silver mine.
Adams & Flinders
In the 1920s a Dr. Adams and Charles Flinders were the towns Justices of The
Peace. For some reason they hated each other and one afternoon after
drinking at the local hotel they had an all out brawl in the main street.
The constable had no choice but to arrest them and they spent the night in
the lock-up. Next morning it was decided (as there were no other JPs in
town) that they would each preside over the other and impose a nominal fine
on each other. Adams was the first to preside, fining Flinders five
shillings. Adams then replaced Flinders in the dock, but Flinders imposed a
fine of ten pounds stating; "There's far too much of this sort of thing,
this is the second case of this kind this morning." Their relationship went
from bad to worse.
Anyone who has been up to Wyndham is probably familiar with a nice little
spot known as The Grotto. Most of the year a stream runs over the lip of a
drop off and plunges down about 100 feet into a large pool below.
It is a favourite swimming hole and most people climb down to the pool by
following a well worn path and a large number of steps cut into the rocks.
One evening, however, a group of people got full of booze and went out to
The Grotto to have a swim. One of their number decided that climbing down
all those steps would be just too much of an effort and decided to dive into
Unfortunately the spot he landed was shallow water and he broke just about
every bone that it is possible to break.
The Royal Flying Doctor was called out to evacuate the rather horrifically
injured man and found moving him was like shifting a 'big bag of jelly'.
The injured man was flown up to Darwin and the RFDS crew who delivered him
did not expect to ever hear from him again. Imagine their surprise then when
just three months later he walked off a plane and returned to Wyndham.
(This tale comes from the book "Great Australian Flying Doctor Stories" by
Bill Swampy Marsh. It is a great read if you can get you hands on a copy.)