Heritage Trail

A brief history of the development of Derby

Aboriginal people had already been here for tens of thousands of year by the time Europeans first saw and mapped the Kimberley coast - though that was long before Captain Cook landed at Botany Bay. Indeed, William Dampier, another Englishman, landed in King Sound in 1688, a houndred years before the First Fleet. The French too, sailed this area in the 1700s, naming many local features along the way.

Alexander Forrest made the first journey of overland exploration through the West Kimberley in 1879. His glowing reports led to pastroal settlement of the region - which subsequently led to the establishment of the Derby port in 1880. Frank Hann in 1898 and Fred Brockman (1901) were responsible for filling in much of the map of the region, leading to yet more stations being established.

The Town of Derby developed rather slowly, being primarily a service centre for local pastoralists. Not surprisingly, all were hampered by the isolation and the rugged, inhospitable and unfamiliar conditions. However, a townsite was declared in 1883, and the West Kimberley Road Board District was established four years later.

Over the ensuing decades the town grew considerably, especially as better connection were established with the world beyond. It is this story of the early years Derby's History that is told on the 29 interpretive panels if the Heritage Trail.

Pack a hat, sunscreen, and some water, and start behind the community hub to take a walk through the fascinating history of our town. Make your way clockwise to uncover the rich heritage and stories that shaped our community.

30 Loch St, Derby WA 6728
Length: 2.3km(s) (Is Loop)
Time: 1hr
Dog Friendly

Points of Interest

1. Coastal capers: Maritime exploration of the Kimberley

2. The unknown inland: War comes to Derby

3. On the front line: War comes to Derby

4. Blazing beginnings: Banking comes to Derby

5. Post and Telegraph: Connections to the outside world

6. Passing parade: Derby's churches through the years

7. Fun 'n games: The social life of a top end town

8. Policing early Derby: Tough men for tough times

9. Derby Regional Hospital: For the health of the community

10. The Boab Festival: Float parades, Boab Queens and much more

11. Rusty's: The store at the heart of town

12. Kimberley Colourstone: A hard-won feature material

13. The CWA: For home and country, on air and in person

14. Teaching the children: Derby's first school

15. Welcome oases: The tale of the town's swimming pools

16. The Spini: A pub with a past (and other names too)

17. A drover's duty: Watering the cattle

18. By road or air: Getting Kimberley beef to market

19. Tides and mudflats: The rhythm of life in Derby

20. State Ships: A vital link to the outside world

22. Wharfinger House: Home to the boss of the port

21. On the sheep's back: The Woohlshed that was

23. Calamity strikes: Fire at the port

24. Let's go to the pictures: The Derby Picture Garden

25. Geraldton to Derby: First scheduled aviation service in Australia

26. Top end of Town: The merchants of Loch Street

27. The tramway: Sturdy spine of the town

28. Robert Rowell: A stalwart of the community

29. Local Goverment: Bringing order to the wild West Kimberley

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