The town was dusty and dirty at the end of the dry season. It looked like it needed a good downpour to give it a wash. The town has an iron-ore port, salt evaporation ponds and a variety of mining support services. We had a drive around and checked out the huge boats but honestly, it was just too hot, and the folks mostly rested up by the pool. The Discovery Caravan Park overlooked the river. There was a cool breeze late afternoon and a nice view of the sunset and lights of the rail terminal at night. I met some nice kids I had played with previously in Broome. The manager let me go in the pool enclosure to lie in the shade of the bushes whilst the folks swam. Nice guy! As usual my swim comprised getting a bucket of water poured over me. I’m starting to like that in these hot places!
This is a great little historic ghost town near Roebourne. Back in the 1800’s it got underway as a result of gold mining and was the original pearling site in WA; but the gold rush ended, and the pearling fleet went north to Broome. By the early 1900’s its heyday was well passed. It was finally abandoned in the 1950’s. The old cemetery and a few of the Victorian buildings have been National Trust classified and restored. There is a coffee shop and a museum there now. A lot of the original building was done by convicts and a lot of the pearlers would have been slave labour. Fittingly, the historic buildings have been restored and maintained by inmates of the Roebourne Prison!
Another interesting spot in Dampier was Sam’s Island. This is really Tidepole Island about 200 metres off-shore in the river, but back in the 1960’s a guy called Sam made it his own, built a house on it and lived there. Apparently he was buried there when he died.