Wyndham, Western Australia
Wyndham is the northernmost town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, located on the Great Northern Highway, 2,210 kilometres (1,373 mi) northeast of Perth. It was established in 1886 as a result of a gold rush at Halls Creek, and it is now a port and service centre for the east Kimberley with a population of 780 as of the 2016 census. Wyndham is split into two areas. The original town site of Wyndham Port is situated on Cambridge Gulf, while Wyndham's Three Mile area is the residential and shopping area of the town. Wyndham is part of the Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley.
Wyndham's Three Mile area, looking south to the King River
|Population||780 (2016 census)|
|Elevation||11 m (36 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley|
Wyndham lies on Duulngari country.
The first European to visit the area was Phillip Parker King in 1819. He was instructed to find a river 'likely to lead to an interior navigation into the great continent'. He sailed into Cambridge Gulf, which he named after the Duke of Cambridge, and then sailed up a river which was subsequently named after him. Finding no fresh water on the mudflats, he departed.
The town of Wyndham was established by John Forrest in 1886 as the major port and trading station of the East Kimberley, after finds of gold in Halls Creek a year earlier. It was named after Walter George Wyndham (later Crole-Wyndham), the younger son of Mary Anne Broome, wife of Governor Frederick Broome, by her first marriage to George Robert Barker. By mid-1886, the town was booming and There were six pubs, one of which was a two-storey building. Ships brought in at least five thousand miners who headed off to the Halls Creek goldfields. It is known that during this boom there were times when up to 16 vessels were moored in Cambridge Gulf.
However, by 1888, the gold rush at Halls Creek had ended and the fortunes of Wyndham declined. Wyndham became a tiny settlement serving the pastoral interests in the East Kimberley. By 1912, money had virtually disappeared from the Wyndham economy, and purchases were paid for using promissory notes known as "shinplasters".
Wyndham's significance as a service centre was crucial for the construction of the Ord River Diversion Dam and the town of Kununurra in the early 1960s. With the rise of Kununurra as a larger population centre the significance of Wyndham as a service centre had diminished by the 1980s. Wyndham has regained significance as the port for the region with new mines shipping ore from the port.
In 1913, the Western Australian government started to construct the Wyndham Meatworks to restart the town's economy. The construction efforts were interrupted by the Nevanas affair and World War I, but the meatworks were completed in 1919 to a design by William Hardwick who later became the Principal Architect of Western Australia. The meatworks were the mainstay of the town's economy until their closure in 1985; the town also supported the Air Beef Scheme which ran from 1947 to 1965.
Wyndham is on the eastern side of Cambridge Gulf, an inlet of Joseph Bonaparte Gulf in the Timor Sea. It is surrounded by the Durack, Pentecost and King rivers to the south, Forrest River to the west and Ord River to the north. Much of the land around Wyndham is inhospitable, and includes the Bastion Range and the mudflats of the Cambridge Gulf. The Bastion Range is the site of the 28-square-kilometre (11 sq mi) Wyndham Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because it holds the largest known population of endangered Gouldian finches.
Despite being in the tropics, Wyndham experiences a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh), with the wet season from late November to March and the dry season from April to early November. The hottest month is November with an average maximum temperature of 39.5 °C (103.1 °F), and the coolest month is June with an average maximum of 31.0 °C (87.8 °F). The annual average maximum temperature is 35.6 °C (96.1 °F), one of the highest in Australia. In 1946, Wyndham recorded 333 consecutive days of temperatures over 32 °C (90 °F). The wet season is very humid with the average dewpoint temperature at 3pm in February being 22.4 °C (72.3 °F). In the dry season, in August, it is 8.3 °C (46.9 °F).
|Climate data for Wyndham|
|Record high °C (°F)||44.7
|Average high °C (°F)||36.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||31.6
|Average low °C (°F)||26.3
|Record low °C (°F)||20.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||185.7
|Average precipitation days||14.4||14.9||11.0||3.4||1.0||0.5||0.2||0.0||0.5||2.8||6.5||11.2||66.4|
|Average afternoon relative humidity (%)||50||53||47||34||29||26||24||24||27||31||36||43||35|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
There are two schools, Wyndham District High School (K-12) & St Joseph's Catholic School (K-7), one TAFE campus, and a daycare centre. There is also an outdoor swimming & recreational centre for leisure. For tourists, there are two hotels and a caravan park. Wyndham is served by Wyndham Airport. The nearby Bastion lookout provides sweeping vistas of the surrounding country including the five rivers named above which emerge into the Cambridge Gulf. The town has a museum in the old courthouse that is open to the public and run by the Wyndham Historical Society.
Peter Reid Memorial Hall is a community hall in Wyndham available for community events and private bookings. The hall, originally the Wyndham Hall, was built in 1982 and was later renamed the Peter Reid Memorial Hall in recognition of Peter Reid's service to the community by the Wyndham Lions Club following his death in 1985.
Wyndham is also the home of the Big Crocodile, a wire and concrete statue of a crocodile around 18 metres (60 ft) long.
Nearby Wyndham is a Boab Prison Tree.
In popular culture
The Wyndham area was a filming location for:
- The 1946 film The Overlanders
- The 2004 US reality TV series Outback Jack, at El Questro Station
- The 2007 Dutch reality TV series Outback Jack, at Home Valley Station
- The 2008 film Australia
- The 2010 film Mad Bastards, as the fictional town of Five Rivers
- The 2012 film Satellite Boy, in and around Wyndham
- The 2013 TV series Who Do You Think You Are?, Series 5 Episode 1, Rove McManus
- The 2018 TV series Mystery Road, as the fictional town of Patterson
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Wyndham (WA)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
- Horton, David R. (1996). "AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia". AIATSIS. Acton ACT: Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
- Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of country town names – W". Retrieved 27 October 2018.
- "Mr W.B. Hardwick – Dead – Former Principal Architect". The West Australian. 2 October 1941. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- Patching, G. H (1960), Wyndham meatworks : a study of its past and present problems, retrieved 28 January 2012
- BirdLife International. (2011). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Wyndham. Downloaded from "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 July 2007. Retrieved 21 November 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) on 3 December 2011.
- Thompson, Michael. "The Kimberley, Western Australia". Climate and Weather Atlas of Australia. Archived from the original on 13 November 2007.
- "Adelaide deluge". The Daily News. National Library of Australia. 7 February 1925. p. 16. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "Climate statistics for Australian locations: Wyndham Post Office". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- "The Overlanders". Cultural Atlas Australia. University of Queensland. 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Fabry, Karin (30 July 2004). "Dating Down Under". Ocala Style. Ocala, Florida: Magnolia Media Company. https://www.nu.nl/buitenland/4228773/duitsland-zegt-belgische-kernreactoren-filters-missen.html. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
- "Reality of outback for television glamour girls" (PDF). Home Valley Station. 26 August 2007. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- "Australia". Cultural Atlas Australia. University of Queensland. 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Mills, Vanessa (19 April 2011). "Mad Bastards movie premiere". ABC Kimberley. Kununurra, Western Australia. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
- "Satellite Boy". Cultural Atlas Australia. University of Queensland. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- "Who Do You Think You Are? – Rove McManus". SBS on Demand. Sydney. 7 August 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Clayton, Cy (27 May 2018). "Judy Davis returns to WA in Mystery Road". The West Australian. Perth, Western Australia. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Wyndham.|