History of Kununurra

In 1879 the area, now known as the Kimberleys, was explored by Alexander Forrest (older brother of Sir John Forrest, WA's first Premier). Alexander named the region the Kimberley. Initially the land was used for cattle.

The town of Kununurra was built as a result of the development of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme. The Ord River Dam was constructed to supply irrigation water to farms in the dry Kimberley region of Western Australia. The Ord River Dam was Stage Two of the Ord River Scheme which began in 1960 after engineers and scientists investigated the viability of building a dam in the area. The dam began construction in 1969 and was funded by both State and Federal Government. In 1972 the dam was completed forming Lake Argyle and becoming the largest artificial lake in Australia at a volume of 10,760 million cubic metres. Construction cost $22 million.

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