Published: May 26th 2012May 20th 2012
foreshore and beach
The towns and areas surrounding Karratha have a European history that dates back to 1699 when William Dampier first sailed into the Archipelago aboard his ship the Roebuck, landing at Pirates cove on Enderby Island.
Another new town in WA, Karratha was established in the late 1960’s to serve the requirements of major local industrial projects, such as Pilbara Iron, Dampier Salt and later Woodside’s North West Shelf Gas Ventures. Karratha derives its name from an aboriginal word meaning ‘good country’. With a population of around 12,000 everything looks new and ‘ growing’ and appeared as a busy modern town that could provide all necessary services and industrial support to service the mining industry and community that has developed around them. Karratha is considered the shopping hub of the Pilbara and we visited the shopping centre here to stock up and were impressed with the array of shops and in fact the pricing which was more than competitive. We picked up diesel here for $1.61 per litre which was by far and away the cheapest we have paid for some considerable time.
We took a drive around the housing and loved the
Foreshore and beach
new modern corrugated iron look of some of the designs (all cyclone proof apparently), big open homes with lots of covered outdoor entertaining areas. All the drive ways were full of ‘new toys’ that the mining money provides, big sport fishing boats, 4WD vehicles, motor bikes, caravans, off road trailers, you name it they had it. We heard that investment housing here was returning 70% more than similar housing in Perth…Hmmm. There were some big rental figures being quoted on housing up to $2000/week!!
The mining ‘villages’ which once were lines of portable housing and shower blocks that were just basic, are now 5 star and provide a village atmosphere centred around swimming pools, rec rooms, gyms, cafes and dining facilities etc. They have come a long way and make the life of a FIFO (fly in fly out) so much more comfortable than in the earlier days.
Located 20 kms west of Karratha is Dampier, this port town takes its name from the English buccaneer William Dampier. Built by Hamersley Iron in 1965, it is one of the largest tonnage shipping ports in Australia and houses the massive export facilities of Pilbara Iron, Dampier Salt and the
Iron Ore Carriers - memories for 'Jimmy'
North West Gas Shelf Project.
Dampier is also home to the now famous “Red Dog”. A movie has been made about the life of this magnificent big red Kelpie dog that travelled the Pilbara hitching rides with anyone who would stop and give him a lift and has made him a dog of ‘legends’ and one of the best loved canines in the region. A bronze statue at the entrance to Dampier of ‘Red Dog’ is a fitting tribute to this amazing kelpie and was a big hit with Jackie.
Dampier has beautiful white sandy beaches and is the departure point for boat cruises and fishing charters into the Damper Archipelago, which consists of 42 islands. Dampier, considered a sister town to Karratha because of its close proximity, is also the centre for water sport activities for the region.
Karratha had a ‘buzz’ to it; it seemed to be ‘happening’ and busy. If you are interested in the mining/gas industries there is lots to see and do here and if you wanted to work in the resources field I have not found a better place to do it than here.Miind you it would be hot in summer,
My Hero, a real Pilbara Dog and now he has been immortalised in film. How do I look? Do I look like him, huh?
but then again, everything is air-conditioned and everyone has pools. It also gave a sense of ‘prosperity to all’, but only living here would confirm this, we liked the place and it will be interesting to see how the resources boom will continue to affect this region and surrounding towns in the future.
There are more photos below