Help celebrate Roebourne’s past
■ On August 17, 1866, Roebourne became the first gazetted town in the North West of WA.
That makes it 150 years old next year and we are determined to celebrate this major milestone properly.
Roebourne’s long history is colourful.
The first Europeant settler was Walter Padbury, who arrived in 1863 on the Tien Tsin. Others, now recognised in street names in the City, followed — Wellard, Withnell, Richardson, Hall.
Life was hard and these settlers landed during a drought.
A smallpox epidemic broke out in 1866, with devastating consequences for local Aboriginal people.
With sacred sites desecrated and the settlers taking control of water resources and hunting grounds — not to mention the use of unfree labour — tensions between Aboriginal people and squatters grew. Conflict soon escalated to violence with the Flying Foam Massacre in 1868.
Pearling was taken up by pastoralists to supplement their income and many Malay, Japanese and Aboriginal divers called the area home at that time.
The recorded population of Roebourne in 1877 was “428 whites, 78 women, over 600 Aboriginal workers, including station hands, almost 1000 Asians”.
Gold from Nullagine, copper from Whim Creek and tin mines contributed to Roebourne’s prosperity in the 1880s and 1890s.
Then in the 1960s, iron ore changed the region for ever.
We would like to capture some of this diverse history for the 150th anniversary celebrations next year.
If you have any ideas, contact us to ensure we mark this milestone in the best way possible.
Jarrad Taylor got this great shot of a resident reptile on a trip out to Deepdale Gorge recently.