Local Attractions

The Derby Wharf/Jetty

The first jetty was built in 1894, in the centre of the current “D” shaped jetty. At low tide you can still see the original pylons. Then a wooden T shaped structure located at the northern end of the present steel and concrete jetty was built. It was linked to the town of Derby by a horse drawn tramway, crossing the mud flats via a causeway where the present day road is located. Wool and pearl shell were the major exports in the early days. In 1964, when the new jetty was built, live cattle were exported and fuel, oil and provisions were the main imports. The last passenger ship visited in 1973. The Jetty is a popular place from which to view the stunning sunsets over King Sound or to fish for silver cobbler, shark, golden grunter, north west salmon and mud crabs on the incoming tides. These tides are Australia’s highest and the second highest in the southern hemisphere.

The Centenary Pavillion

Located at the jetty, this Pavilion has interpretative boards which tell about the history of the wharf, the mangroves and King Sound. The Pavilion features a colourful 28sqm mosaic tile floor created by the community of Derby depicting facets of life in the district.

Wharfingers House Museum

Corner of Elder and Loch Streets

Wharfinger House presents a social history of Derby. So named, because the Wharfinger was the person who owned or was in charge of the Wharf. Check with the Visitor Centre for opening times. Admission is by gold coin donation (NB there are no EFTPOS facilities available). The Museum is run by a small group of volunteers who meet on a regular basis to maintain the museum.

Displays feature the shipping, telecommunications and aviation history of the area together with smaller displays of relevant subjects. The building is a fine example of the prefabricated wooden housing of the 1930s well adapted for living in a tropical climate without the benefits of air-conditioning. It was restored in 1988 as part of the Bi-Centennial Project.

Opposite the Museum can be seen one of the oldest buildings in Derby. This is the old Wool Shed, for the export of goods prior to 1964.

The horse drawn tramway extended from the Jetty down Loch Street as far as the King Sound Hotel site. Nearby was a quarry that was used to supply stone for the causeway across the mud flats. The tramway finished near McGovern and Thompson’s Store, (now Woolworths).

Old Derby Gaol

Loch Street – Registered National & State Heritage Site
The Police Station and depot for the Police Horse Patrol was located in Loch Street halfway between the original Town of Derby (established at the far end of Sutherland St and Derby Port, locally known in the early days as “The Point”. The restored Old Derby Gaol is a tangible reminder of these times and is the oldest building in the town (1906). The significance of the Gaol to the Derby community is explained at the site.

Derby Pioneer Cemetery

Lovegrove Street
The cemetery is the burial site for Police Constable William Richardson, one of Jandamarra’s victims. The book, Jandamarra and the Bunuba Resistance can be purchased from the Derby Visitor Centre.

Another interesting grave is that of the Aboriginal Police Tracker “Larry” Kunamarra who was honoured by the Queen for his services. Many graves in the cemetery are without headstones.

Myalls Bore and Cattle Trough

7km from Derby near the Prison Tree
The first bore at this location was dug in 1910/11. It replaced the original well sunk by Alfred Duckworth Mayall in the early 1890s. The 1910/11 bore was 322 metres deep, had a residual head of 6 metres and cost 2700 pounds. When John Tait Blain was Secretary of the Road Board (1916/17) he had Joe Griffen build the concrete trough which is there to this day. This trough could handle 500 bullocks at one time and was later extended to a length of 120 metres. The flow from the bore was dropping off even by 1919. Now water is pumped into the trough by a windmill. The water from the bore has a rich mineral content and was reputed to have therapeutic properties. A bath house once stood near the trough. (See the Boab Prison Tree Interpretative Pavilion located on site for further information).

Boab Prison Tree

7km from Derby on the Derby Highway
This huge tree is believed to be around 1,500 years old and has a girth of 14.7 metres. It was used as staging point for prisoners being walked into Derby in the early days.

The Prison Tree is a registered Aboriginal Site. Visitors are requested to respect the cultural sensitivity of the site and not climb into or approach close to the tree. (See the Boab Prison Tree Interpretative Pavilion located on site for further information).

Derby Pastoral Trail – Stage 1

The Derby Pastoral Trail tells the story of the last day of travel for drovers with their herds from Myall’s Bore to the jetty. Stage 1 starts at the One Mile Dinner Camp at the corner of Mimosa Street and Rowan Street and ends at the Centenary Pavilion at the jetty.

Frostys Pool

Adjacent to Myall’s Bore
Built in 1944 as a bathing area for troops stationed in the area during the Second World War, this is one of the few remaining reminders of those years in the town. The bath was constructed by the 3rd General Transport Co. and was nicknamed Frosty’s Pool after a platoon member, Charles L.V. Frost.

Joon Joo Botanical Trail

Some of the plants and animals of the Wanganut Land System are described on three kilometres of walking trail located in the Wanganut Reserve between the Derby Speedway and Conway Street. Interpretative plaques explain how the bush was used by the Nyikina people. The trail is maintained by the Derby Landcare Group. Access is off the Speedway Road. A trail booklet is available at the Visitor Centre.

ART

Mowanjum Aboriginal art and culture centre

The Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre is a creative hub for the Worrorra, Ngarinyin and Wunumbal tribes, who make up the Mowanjum community outside Derby, Western Australia. Situated 4kms along the Gibb River Road, the centre is open Tuesday to Saturday. Opening times can very for cultural reasons

These three language groups are united by their belief in the Wandjina as a sacred spiritual force and the creators of the land. They are the custodians of Wandjina law and iconography.

The centre hosts exhibitions, workshops and community projects, as well as the annual Mowanjum Festival, one of Australia’s longest running indigenous cultural festivals.

Norval Gallery

Norval Gallery is located opposite Lytton Park. Mark Norval, a renown artist himself run the gallery and encourage local artists to make the most of their talents. Artists can often be seen sitting out the front creating their artworks. Norval Gallery houses an eclectic mix of artists and their works. Mark and Mary, owners of the Gallery have also shared some of their private collection of artworks and other collectibles.

Check with the Visitor Centre for opening times

Jila Gallery

Jila Gallery is a small cafe/gallery located in Clarendon St.

BIRDS

Derby (Waste Water) Wetland

Access via Conway Street.
During the dry season, between May and November, freshwater bodies contract and waterbirds move from inland areas towards the coast. During this time, the Derby artificial wetland is an important refuge for waterbirds, including ducks, swamphens, coots, crakes herons and stilts.

Smaller bush birds can be seen drinking at the edges of the water and attract larger birds of prey such as whistling kites and brown goshawks.

In the wet season from December to April, the area is often flooded, attracting a large number of water fowl that like to nest in tall, wet vegetation

Munkajarra

Munkajarra is located 20kms south of Derby.  It is located on a bend on the right hand side when you are travelling towards Broome.  You go through the gate and then travel another 2km and you will reach another gate, go through this gate and you will then come to the wetland (approximately another 2km)  Depending on “Wet” season rains, Munkayarra will have water for most of the year.  Mosquitoes can be prevalent, so wear loose long sleeve shirts and pants and use repellent. 

When visiting the Wetland please ensure you wear a shady hat and take plenty of water with you. 

The Wetlands is of significance for aboriginal activities.  It was also used a watering point when droving cattle.

This wetland can be excellent habitat for water birds such as Australasian Darter, Wandering Whistling Ducks, Pacific Black Duck, Plumed Whistling Duck, Pied Cormorant, Magpie Goose, Black Swan, Egrets, Great billed Heron, White necked Heron, Greeb, Purple Swamp Hen, Ibis, Spoonbills, Brolga, Masked Lapwing, Cormorants, Australasian Grebe and sometimes Green Pygmy-Goose and Comb Crested Jacana.

Contact the Derby Visitor Centre for a bird list and directions

Derby Golf Course

Derby Recreation Area Ashley Street
The wonderful boab trees, green fairways and putting surfaces make this 18 hole composite course a pleasure to play on for any golfer. Recycled water has enabled the green fairways to be created to a design by well known professional golfer Terry Gale. Visitors are welcome.

Kimberley School of the Air (KSOTA)

Marmion Street
KSOTA is based in Derby and provides educational services for children from pre-school to Year 6 who live in isolated and remote locations across the entire Kimberley region. Children undertake correspondence programs which are supported by satellite lessons, teacher visits and regular camps and seminars. Camp programs focus heavily on interactive and collaborative socialisation experiences, including the Arts and Physical Education. Year 4-7 students also attend camp in Perth with their counterparts from four other Schools of the Air around the State. KSOTA is also open to visitors, but please check with the Visitor Centre for times of operation.

The Buccaneer Archipelago

The Archipelago is 35 minutes flying time from Derby. It consists of up to 1,000 rugged, sparsely vegetated islands, with patches of rainforest in moist areas, secluded beaches and a fringe of mangroves where silt has accumulated. The islands are rich in bird and animal life with 118 species of bird and 11 species of snake recorded on Koolan Island alone. A tidal range of up to twelve metres is experienced, which creates such phenomena as the Horizontal Waterfalls in Talbot Bay, a must see for any visitor. Rock art on the islands reflects the occupation by Aboriginal people and isolated graves are testimony to the dangers of pearling at the turn of the century. The scars of mining for iron ore can be seen on Koolan and Cockatoo Island. In addition, sea safaris leave Derby on a regular basis between April and November to explore the West Kimberley Coast.

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