Published: August 10th 2012August 6th 2012
Last night Charles and I woke with the howling of a dingo in the park, what a noise and we were thankful to be safe in our beds in the van!
Today we're heading to Onslow to visit one of Charles friends, Rick and his wife Jenny. We will be staying on his property so it will be nice to have some company and relax for a few days.
We arrived quite late in the day and felt obsolutely shattered but we were welcomed by Rick and Jenny with open arms into their home. After a lovely surf and turf bbq cooked by our hosts we sat outside with a well earn bourbon and coke. We hadn't been in a house for a while so the feeling of space was something else. We retired to our small home (the rig) for a good nights sleep.
After a lovely cooked bacon and eggs we were off fishing with Rick and Jenny at Four Mile Creek. Rick also had a quad bike so we all enjoyed having a ride up and down the beach. No fish on the menu tonight though.
That afternoon we went and visited
one of their friends Neil who had an amazing collection of shells which were valued well into the millions. What a lovely man and he could certainly tell you a tale or two about Onslow and it's residents. I reckon that he should write a book about Onslow over the years it would certainly be an interesting read. Spag Bol on the menu tonight, we are certainly getting spoilt here and it was greatly appreciated.
Next day Rick had to go to work and I had to do some homeschooling with the girls which turned into a full day. Feeling tired we took Rick and Jenny out for meal at the local tavern to say thanks for a wonderful stay and their hospitality as we were off in the morning to our next destination. Point Samson.
Current population of Onslow is around 800 people.
The original town of Onslow was gazetted as a townsite on 26 October 1885 and named after Sir Alexander Onslow, the Chief Justice of Western Australia at the time. It supported the nearby stations that had been established along the Ashburton River and the gold mines that had developed in
One of the first recorded stations was Minderoo which was established in 1882. By 1890 all land along the Ashburton River had been taken up, running mainly sheep, but also a few cattle. Today it is predominantly cattle with a few sheep.
In the early settlement days, good pearls were found in Exmouth Gulf and the town became home port to a fleet of pearling luggers. These luggers stayed in local water up until World War II when most were commandeered by the armed forces or destroyed.
The post-war period saw pearling start again, but in a small way. The last lugger was sold in 1965. Today pearling is a small industry with the shells farmed for blister and culture pearls.
By 1925, the port facilities at the mouth of the Ashburton were affected by the silting up of the river causing more and more problems in the loading and unloading of visiting ships.
Surveys proved that there was deep water at Beadon Point and so the town was moved some eighteen kilometres to the east to where it is today.
A jetty of some three-quarters of a kilometre in length was
constructed to cater for the State Ship and Blue Funnel Line that plied to Singapore. These ships brought in nearly all provisions, building equipment, timber and general merchandise. Exports included wool, pearl shell and minerals. The jetty had to be rebuilt when it was badly damaged by a cyclone in 1934. The jetty continued to serve Onslow until March 1961 when another cyclone demolished more than 300 metres. State Ships were thus prevented from calling at the jetty and were forced to anchor offshore where they loaded and unloaded via a lighter.
In 1972, a landing was established in Beadon Creek and the jetty fell into disrepair to be destroyed in an Army explosives exercise in 1982.
Onslow was actively involved in World War II with the Navy refueling at the jetty and the town becoming the furthest town south to be bombed by the Japanese. On the night of May 15 1943 a solo plane dropped three bombs on the airstrip with no casualties or damage to aircraft.
The Royal Navy used Onslow as its base between 1952 and 1956 to conduct tests on the nearby Monte Bello Islands culminating in an atomic bomb explosion.
The primary industries in the area today are salt and oil and gas.
There are more photos below