A week in Derby...frontier town!

Derby Travel Blog

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Boab jail tree just out of town.

Spent a wonderful week in country town Derby with my Sister and family who had moved there from Queensland earlier in the year. I hadn't seen them for over a year so it was a wonderful time together. We explored Derby (done in about 10 minutes...ha ha) and did an absolutely FANTASTIC day trip out into the Kimberly, also got to see more stunning sunsets from the Derby Jetty...one of the major attractions in town. We went 3 times in 7 days!

I really liked Derby, a small town of 5,000 but I think that is counting the residents of the nearby aboriginal Community of Mowajum about 20 kms out of town, as I am sure there are not that many living in Derby itself! It is fairly quiet most of the year but of course swells in numbers during "Winter" as all the tourists hit town as they head north to explore the Kimberley region in the dry, cool season.

Derby street
Derby holds heaps of activities during the month of August as my sister and children were lucky enough to experience.

The town is pretty spread out and is really quite a typical outback Australian town. It has a few galleries and a couple of museums which we explored and found quite interesting...a really good tourist centre will give out all the information needed.  Derby has the dubious distinction of having the largest tidal flow in the southern hemisphere thus is surrounded by mudflats. There are ore and diamond mines spread around the area tho many k's away. I heard recently that Derby(and the Kimberly region) is now called the last wilderness frontier of Australia...I am so glad I went when I did!!!!!

One of the nicest afternoons was spent at the Mowajum Art Gallery out near the Community (You can only enter the Community with permission from the owners, but the gallery is open to all.

Lisa carving Boab nut. Very skilled.
). It is a large modern air-conditioned gallery full of fantastic  Windjana paintings done by the local artists. Unique to this area! After browsing the gallery we decided to create some art of our own and sat in the shade of the gallery and sketched a large Boab tree growing in the "carpark". It was such a lovely afternoon sitting together each with our own sketch pad and pencil drawing our own interpretation of the Boab. My nieces are so artistic! We had time to check out various animal tracks in the red dirt and hop around on the landscaping rocks that are strategically placed around the gallery.

My sister had met some of the local artists during her 6 months in town,and so arranged for purchase of a carved Boab nut, an art form unique to this area.

Purchasing carved boab nut
  Before I left on this trip I had stated that I would only buy indigenous art if I saw the artist at work on it...got my wish!

Unfortunately some of the aboriginal people come into town from the "dry"Community to purchase and drink alcohol, so it is common to see groups of locals under the trees in the parks in Derby (not to say that they are all drinking...as sitting in the shade is a VERY sensible thing to do when it is 37% C....) but I never felt threatened in any way and only found these people friendly. My sister also reports that the local aboriginals she has met are very friendly happy go lucky people.

The weather was sunny, HOT and dry with temperatures  above 35%C everyday I was there but rose to 39% on my last day in town and this was only September! Glad my sister has air-conditioning!!!!!

skippyed says:
I was only here a year ago! I thought the tides in Derby was amazing. The Kimberley is just so fantastic
Posted on: Oct 03, 2008
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Boab jail tree just out of town.
Boab jail tree just out of town.
Derby street
Derby street
Lisa carving Boab nut. Very skille…
Lisa carving Boab nut. Very skill…
Purchasing carved boab nut
Purchasing carved boab nut
Late afternoon shadow
Late afternoon shadow
Windjana Gorge part of the Napier …
Windjana Gorge part of the Napier…
Walking through to Windjana Gorge
Walking through to Windjana Gorge
Oasis of Windjana Gorge
Oasis of Windjana Gorge
Windjana Gorge
Windjana Gorge
Croc at Windjana...taken on FULL Z…
Croc at Windjana...taken on FULL …
Ghost Boab tree near Tunnel Creek
"Ghost" Boab tree near Tunnel Creek
end of Tunnel Creek
end of Tunnel Creek
Main street...very busy!
Main street...very busy!
Derby
photo by: skippyed