Kununurra lies on the banks of Lake Kununurra and is located 2,300km north-east of Perth in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia.

Brief History of Kununurra

The town, was built as a result of the development of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme. Originally the town was to be named Cununarra but due to similarities of place names in other States the spelling was changed to Kununurra. The town was gazetted in 1961.

In 1879 the area, now known as the Kimberley Region, 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.

Things You May Not Know About Kununurra

In 1879, Alexander Forrest , the brother of Sir John Forrest, was the first recorded white man to have explored the region and he was to give it the name, Kimberley.

Alexander Forrest became the land agent for the region, leasing over 51 million acres (21 million hectare) in 1883.

The first settler to the area was Irish born Patrick (Patsy) Durack in 1882. Patsy travelled 3,000 miles from Queensland to the Kimberley region with 7250 head of cattle and 200 horses to stock his Argyle and Ivanhoe stations. This little trek took about three years to complete.

The Durack family established the Lissadell, Argyle, Rosewood and Ivanhoe Cattle Stations.

The Durack’s Argyle Downs Homestead was original located somewhere in middle of Lake Argyle. Following the decision to create the lake the homestead was removed piece by piece to safer grounds. Having been rebuilt it is now a pioneer museum.

Kelly’s Knob Lookout, at 191m, is the highest point in Kununurra.

The Argyle Diamond Mine is the biggest diamond producing mine in the world and produces about one third of the world’s diamonds.

Kununurra is believed to have the youngest average age of any town in Australia.

Lake Kununurra has over twenty different species of freshwater fish and an abundance of freshwater crocodiles.

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