Interior of Old Bakery, Kalumburu

History

The furthermost permanent settlement in the north of West Australia, is today known as Kalumburu.  It is situated on the King Edward River which supplies plentiful fresh water at all times and too much sometimes - when it floods!  The King Edward can be crossed by vehicle at Kalumburu and from that crossing, it flows down to Napier Broome Bay passing through an ancient gorge and developing into an estuary, subject to the rise and fall of the tides.  Crocodiles lurk in its waters.  Fish too, for the clever fisher folk.

By road, Kalumburu is about five hundred kilometers from Wyndham, seven hundred from Derby.  That road, especially on the northern end, leaves a little to be desired!!  By light aircraft the distances are considerably shortened- three hours to Derby, one hour to Wyndham.

The climate is of the tropical variety with the hot wet and cool dry seasons.  Sometimes Kalumburu tops the state with its rain or temperature.  October, November introduce the humidity which continues through to April.  From a brown dry land the countryside becomes green and wet and hard to negotiate.

Distinctive features of the area are the flat top hills which long, long ago were joined together and continued through to the Mitchell Plateau.  Bauxite can be found on them as at the Plateau.  The breakdown of the land and the resultant outstanding rock formations, ancient river beds and gorges has taken over one thousand eight hundred million years to effect.  Fossilized algae can be found in the river beds, known as stromatilites.

The wild, rugged magnificent landscape of this area has been the home for many thousands of years of the KWINI, GAMBRA and WALMBI people, the KULARI and other Aboriginal races, no doubt, before them, for this corner of the continent was one of the main entry points into Australia of our first ancient inhabitants.  Evidence of their passing is preserved in the rock art sites which abound in the North Kimberley.  The most notable are the Bradshaw paintings- so named after a 19th century pastoralist who first identified them as distinct from other paintings known locally as Euruuru or KiraKiro.

Link to Bombing of Kalumburu page