USE­LESS LOOP

SHARK BAY, WEST­ERN AUS­TRALIA

QantasLink Sprit - - Off The Beaten Track -

Where is it? A 440-kilo­me­tre drive north of Ger­ald­ton.

How’d it get the name? It was tagged Havre Inu­tile (loosely mean­ing un­us­able har­bour) in 1801 by French nav­i­ga­tor Louis-Henri de Saulces de Fr­eycinet. He de­scribed it as a “very pretty small har­bour but which un­for­tu­nately, be­ing closed in by a sand­bank on which there is not more than three feet [90 cen­time­tres] of water, can never ad­mit a ves­sel of any size”. It of­fi­cially be­came Use­less when the French maps were trans­lated in 1858.

What’s it re­ally like? Far from use­less, the min­ing town owned by Ja­pan’s Mit­sui Group pro­duces 1.4 mil­lion tonnes of salt an­nu­ally to ship to Asia. Al­though about 130 peo­ple call it home, it’s a com­pany town off lim­its to trav­ellers. Sur­rounded by Shark Bay World Her­itage Area, the re­gion’s high­lights in­clude the dol­phins and dugongs of Mon­key Mia, Shell Beach and Den­ham, Aus­tralia’s west­ern­most town.

Not to be con­fused with: Suc­cess, also in West­ern Aus­tralia, or Never Fail Dam in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

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