Historical Sites

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The Derby Wharf/Jetty

The first wharf, built in 1894, was a wooden T shaped structure located at the northern end of the present steel and concrete jetty. 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.

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Wharfinger's House Museum

Visit the Wharfinger's House Museum located at the corner of Elder and Loch Streets. For opening hours please ask the Derby Visitor Centre.

Explore the fascinating history of the town's communications through displays showcasing shipping, telecommunications, and aviation history, as well as exhibits on fossil mud lobsters and termites. Housed in a beautifully restored 1930s wooden building, the museum offers insights into life in a tropical climate before air-conditioning.

Opposite the museum stands one of Derby's oldest buildings, the old Wool Shed, used for exporting goods until 1964. Nearby, remnants of the horse-drawn tramway, once extending down Loch Street, can be seen. Follow the story of the SS Colac by viewing its anchor and propeller in Lions Park or catch a glimpse of its remains at low tide from the Derby airport runway via fixed-wing or helicopter flight. Access to the wreck from land is not possible.

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Boab Prison Tree

7km from Derby on the Derby – Broome 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).

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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).


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Frosty's Pool

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.

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Derby Pioneer Cemetery

The cemetery and Old Gaol are sites on the Pigeon Heritage Trail which tells of the exploits of the Aboriginal Jandamarra. A booklet on the trail can be obtained from the Visitor Centre. At the cemetery one of Jandamarra’s victims, Police Constable William Richardson, is buried. 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.


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Old Derby Goal

Loch Street – Registered National & State Heritage SiteThe Police Station and depot for the Police Horse Patrol was located in Loch Street halfway between the original Town of Derby (established near Numbala Ngunga) 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.

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The Centenary Pavillion

Located at the jetty, this Pavilion tells of the geography and history of King Sound and the Port of Derby. The Pavilion features a colourful 28sqm mosaic tile floor depicting facets of life in the district.