Sunday History Photo / WA

Submitted: Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 08:09
ThreadID: 133795 Views:3712 Replies:4 FollowUps:5
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Derby's claim to fame is having the highest tides of any Australian port. 11 m (36 feet) of tidal difference means there is an enormous amount of water rushing in and out every 6 hours... Add to that the silty outflow of the Fitzroy River... It means muddy waters.

During World War II, Derby was bombed by Japanese planes because of an air base and jetty that was steadily used by Australian forces.

Derby was famous in the 1920s as the terminus of the first scheduled aviation service in Australia, West Australian Airways Ltd. They began their service with a first flight on 5 December 1921. At one time the Perth to Derby service was the world’s longest passenger airline route.
In 1968 the town had a population of approximately 1,500 many employed at the meatworks.


A A$900,000 beef road was completed from Glenroy Station to Derby was completed the same year to assist with the development of beef processing. A A$2 million steel and concrete jetty was built in 1965 to provide adequate port facilities for the shipment of live cattle
Derby calls itself the "Home of the Boab Tree". Boabs are used as street trees and give the town a special character.



Considering its remote location the town is surprisingly big. It's also very spread out, which makes it seem even bigger than the population of about 4500 would suggest. The town center is, well, it's hard to identify. ... When you reach Derby and just keep driving you eventually reach the other end of town where the tourism information, the post office, police station etc are located.
At the Kimberley School Of The Air you can see during a free tour how children in remote communities and cattle stations are distance taught. Originally the classes were conducted via two way radio, but today computers have replaced the old radios...

Derby is the Kimberley base for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Their base can also be visited (the visitor centre has the opening times).

During the second world war troops were stationed in the Derby area. In 1944 Corporal Frost came up with the idea of building a swimming pool. With the help of two others it was built and although small, mainly due to the lack of suitable materials, was very popular. Filled with water from the bore it catered for officers during part of the day and other ranks for the balance of the day. The pool, though now in poor condition, is one of the few remaining reminders of those years when the troops were stationed in the area.
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Reply By: Been-Everywhereman - Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 08:36

Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 08:36
Very good read
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Reply By: AlanTH - Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 10:15

Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 10:15
Good read that, thnx. I've spent a bit of time in Derby working on the Curtin airbase (or refugee camp) back in the 80s and passed through many times. Changed a bit now down the main street as it now has bitumen the full width and kerbing.
AlanH.
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Follow Up By: Member - Keith P (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 13:42

Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 13:42
A must see in the next couple of years hey

Cheers Keith
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 15:56

Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 15:56
Keith
For us, Derby was the outstanding town in the NW - still largely authentic, friendly and helpful people, not artificially jazzed up for tourists, excellent art gallery at Mowanjum just out of town on the Gibb River Road.
Very glad to have made the effort to see it.
Cheers
Andrew
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Follow Up By: rocco2010 - Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 17:43

Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 17:43
Hi
I would go along with that Andrew. Only spent a couple of days at the start of a Gibb River Road trek and would gladly have stayed a day or two longer. Lots of interesting history there.

Broome gets the attention in the Kimberley but just a bit too touristy for me.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 09:19

Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 09:19
I don't know why people bypass the town. It's a better place to visit than Broome. If you are visiting Horizontal Falls do it from there and not Broome, you can overnight at the falls for not much extra.
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Follow Up By: AlanTH - Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 09:38

Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 09:38
I agree with those about Derby being a bit more historic than Broome as they were much the same back in the early 70s when I first visited them both, along with Wyndham.
They all had an export abattoir in those days and produced the electric power for the adjacent towns.
During one visit a bull got stunned in the knocking box and was just tipped out and left by the slaughterman when the tea break siren went...... bull came round and created absolute havoc in the boning room as he was in a foul mood! :-)) Slaughterman should have strung him up by his heels and cut his throat to drain but a cuppa was more important....
He was shot eventually, the bull that is, but managed to do a bit of damage before that.
AlanH.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 23:14

Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 23:14
As a young child, when on trips on ships, I was fascinated by the tides at Derby and Broome.Derby is still a sleepy town much like it used to be, and like Broome used to be way back then. A more recent visit to Broome (2003) had us out of there in 24 hours.

We spent a few days in Derby before commencing the Gibb River Road in 2008.
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Reply By: Tim F3 - Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 07:51

Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 07:51
Thankyou Doug excellent read , greatly appreciated each week
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