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Shire of Halls Creek TOURISM & TRAVEL GUIDE

Don’t miss out on all the HIDDEN SECRETS! Aboriginal Communities, Culture & History . Wolfe Creek Crater . Lake Gregory Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungle) . Gold Mining History & Prospecting Duncan Road . Tanami Road . Great Northern Highway . Around Town Halls Creek Travel & Tourism incorporating Halls Creek Visitor Centre Tel: 08 9168 6262 Fax: 08 9168 6467 Email: Back Cover

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6PRK RADIO Puranyangu Rangka Kerrem (Aboriginal Radio) Aboriginal Corporaon 159 Duncan Hwy, Halls Creek WA 6770 OďŹƒce: Ph (08) 9168 6416 Studio: Ph (08) 9168 5542 Fax: (08) 9168 6194 Email: Web:

Now Available: Music Recording Studio - DJ Services Outdoor Cinema - Video Producon Outdoor Broadcast - Karaoke DVD Prinng & Duplicang Services Back Cover

Great Northern Hwy Page 26 - 37 Halls Creek Page 3 - 14

Great Northern Hwy Page 26 - 37 Duncan Road Page 15 - 25

Tanami Road & Canning Stock Route Page 38 - 46

Cover Photo: Spectacular Printed in 2015 Palm Springs Photo’s Publisher Opposite Page: Halls Halls Creek Shire Creek, freshwater crocodile, PO Box 21, Halls Creek WA 6770 the Bungles, Wolfe Creek Tel (08) 9168 6007 Crater and Lake Gregory Email

Disclaimer No warranty or guarantee is given regarding the accuracy of details or information contained in this publication. All maps should be used as a guide only and must not be used for navigation purposes or for any other use where accuracy is needed. No responsibility will be taken for actions or misadventures relating to the information in this publication.

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Contents Travel Tips and Information


Around Town


Aboriginal History, Language & Culture


Art Centres


Aboriginal Communities


Halls Creek History


Cattle Industry


Duncan Road


China Wall


Caroline Pool


Old Stone Hut


Old Halls Creek


Palm Springs


Great Northern Highway (GNH) •

Rest Areas

Mary Pool, Ngumban Lookout & Spring



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Creek Track


Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungle)


Tanami Road & Canning Stock Route (CSR)


Wolfe Creek Crater


Paruku IPA, Yunpu Lake & Nyarna (Lake Stretch) 43

Paruku (Lake Gregory)


Canning Stock Route (CSR)



© Halls Creek Shire 2015. All Rights Reserved Printed in Australia Consider others when using rest and camping areas. These areas are provided for travellers & are generally maintained & used by locals. Don’t leave rubbish around, keep noise down & keep facilities tidy. Respecting signs & other people will help ensure these areas are still here when you come through next time.


Obey signs, rules and regulations when using National Parks, Conservation Parks & Four Wheel Drive tracks outlined in this publication. Use designated tracks, don’t litter & spend a few minutes picking up rubbish left by irresponsible visitors before you. Enjoy the wildlife but resist the temptation to feed birds & animals. Halls Creek Shire takes no responsibility for information provided by advertisers within this publication or for the services they provide. All information (including GPS co-ordinates) within this magazine should be used as a guide only. No responsibility will be taken for actions or misadventures relating to the information in this publication.

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Town Hall

Halls Creek Travel & Tourism (Halls Creek Visitor Centre)

Community Resource Centre

Reproduced by permission of the Western Australian Land Informaon Authority, CL21-2014

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Travel Tips and Information Alcohol Restricons You can only buy light beer as takeaway in Halls Creek What you can do: •

You can bring alcohol into town that you have purchased elsewhere for your own personal consump-on (be aware that throughout WA it is against the law for persons of any age to drink in public, such as in the street or in a park).

You can go to the Kimberley Hotel and enjoy a full bar service.

You can go to Russian Jacks Restaurant (Best Western Halls Creek Motel) and purchase an alcoholic drink with your meal.

You can purchase takeaway light beer from the Kimberley Hotel or Halls Creek Store.

If you are staying at the Kimberley Hotel in a hotel room, you can purchase takeaway alcohol to have in your room (see staff for condi#ons).

If you are staying at the Best Western Halls Creek in a hotel room, you can purchase takeaway alcohol to have in your room (see staff for condi#ons).

What you can’t do: •

If you bring alcohol with you, you cannot sell it to others in Halls Creek.

You cannot purchase takeaway alcohol above 2.7% alcohol volume in Halls Creek (this means you cannot purchase full strength and mid strength alcohol to takeaway).

Halls Creek Weather and Best Travel Times Halls Creek has a monsoonal climate typical of much of northern Australia, with a dis-nc-ve wet (November - March) and a dry season (April - October). Average annual rainfall is about 570mm, but highly variable. Halls Creek has been known to experience more than 200mm of rain in a single day. Wet season maximum temperatures are usually in excess of 33 degrees Celsius. There is li>le permanent surface water anywhere to be found because of a combina-on of low rainfall and high evapora-on. In this part of the world, rivers only run intermi>ently following heavy rain. When travelling or walking it is important to carry ample water in this o?en harsh environment. The cooler dry season days are more suited to bush walking. Permanent waters are scarce. Up to date weather reports from the Bureau of Meteorology can be accessed on-line Most tourists visit the Shire of Halls Creek between May and August. March and April are excellent months to travel as a lot of the creeks are s-ll flowing and everything is s-ll green and September and August are also great as the na-ve flowers come out and the amount of visible wildlife increases. Even though the days will s-ll be quite warm the nights will have cooled off and there will be a lower number of tourists so in many cases it will feel like you have the place to yourself. Climate Graph for Halls Creek is as follows:

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Local Informaon Phone Numbers





Halls Creek Hospital :

(08) 9168 9222


Halls Creek Police:

(08) 9168 2777

Main Roads WA:

Halls Creek Shire Office:

(08) 9168 6007

Australia’s NW:

Aboriginal Land Permits Various pemits are required for the Paruku IPA and Canning Stock Route (pg 39-46) and you shouldn’t access any community within the Shire without asking Halls Creek Travel and Tourism or contac-ng the Department of Indigenous Affairs on (08) 9235 8000 or online at Quaranne – Help keep WA free from unwanted pests, weeds and diseases! Western Australia's Quaran-ne WA service operates border checkpoints as a first line of defence against incursions of unwanted pests, weeds and diseases, which could arrive on freight, cargo and other items brought in from interstate. Quaran-ne inspectors located at various interstate borders will conduct checks for items considered a threat to WA. Road checkpoints operate 24 hours and desert roads are subject to random mobile inspec-ons. Quaran-ne bins are located on the Tanami Road and Duncan Highway near Halls Creek. For further informa-on call: 1800 084 881 or visit:

Poinciana Roadhouse Fresh Coffee Fish & Chips Aussie Hamburger Chinese Food

Great Northern Highway, Halls Creek

Phone: 08 9168 6164 4 Back Cover

Aquac and Rec Centre The modern centre is located on the corner of the Great Northern Highway and Egan St in the centre of Halls Creek. Facili-es include an eight lane 25 metre lap pool, spa, gymnasium and undercover basketball courts. Moola Bulla Lookout Moola Bulla, located just to the north of Halls Creek, has a central place in the hearts and minds of Aboriginal people in the central and east Kimberley. This place s-ll conjures mixed emo-ons. Some people built valued life--me long rela-onships forged in the shared experience of common hardship and endurance. The Moola Bulla lookout provides a commanding sunset view over the town. To get to the lookout turn north at the police sta-on onto Roberta Ave and follow for 3.2km (some dirt) to the entrance to Moola Bulla Sta-on, rather than enter the sta-on follow the track to the right along the fence line for 500m then take track to right for 50m up the hill to the lookout. Rock Hole

Photos: aerial view of Halls Creek township and the view towards Halls Creek from Moola Bulla Lookout.

A number of Aboriginal people used to live along the river and this rock hole was named Longleg Rockhole a?er an old aboriginal man who had long legs. This was a prominent watering hole for the horses and ca>le on Koongie Park Sta-on. Rockhole is 11km west of Halls Creek on the Great Northern Highway.

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PO BOX 21/ LOT 300 GREAT NORTHERN HIGHWAY PH: (08) 9168 6723 FX: (08) 9168 6235 E: W: Opening Hours – 9.00am to 5.00pm Weekdays

“Yarliyil Artists work across a range of styles and mediums, representing the rich culture of the land, its history and the people”. Authentic Local Indigenous Artwork . Screen Prints . Jewellery Silk Scarves . Silk Ties . Insulated Cups . Girls Dresses . Ladies tops T-Shirts . Greeting Cards . Postcards . Headsox Tote Bags . Boab Nut Carvings

Heritage Town Walk Do>ed around the town site are nine unique, hand cra?ed wooden totems, each expressing one aspect of local history or culture in words and vivid artwork. By following the totems you will not only learn about the history - you will also visit important historic sites that have been restored as part of the project. Allow about 40 minutes to do the walk. Call in to Halls Creek Travel & Tourism to pick up a Heritage Town Walk brochure. Photos: Heritage Town Walk hand-carved and painted totems

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Aboriginal History, Language and Culture Aboriginal people are known to have lived in this region for at least 30,000 years. Aboriginal groups in the Shire of Halls Creek include the Jaru, Kija, Gooniyandi, Malngin, Wanyjirra, Walpiri, Ngardi and Kukatja peoples. Tradi-onally men hunted kangaroo, bush turkey and ďŹ sh. Women gathered bush tucker such as ground grass seeds, bush tomatoes and other bush fruits. They also hunted some smaller animals such as lizards. Aboriginal people in Halls Creek are predominantly Jaru and Kija peoples. Many residents celebrate both Jaru and Kija heritage. There are also signiďŹ cant numbers of Gooniyandi people from further east, Walmajarri from the south-east and Kukatja people originally from the desert country to the south. Over the years other Aboriginal people from nearby groups have moved to Halls Creek. These include the Gurindji and the Walpiri from the east, the Ngardi from the south-east and Malngin from the north-east. The present day townsite of Halls Creek lies near where the boundaries of Jaru and Kija country adjoin. The Halls Creek area has long been a tradi-onal mee-ng place lying on a songline and trade route stretching all the way from Broome in the west, through Halls Creek and westward into Central Australia. People would exchange ochre, food, artefacts, boomerangs, shields, spears, coolamon, widaji (hair belts), yowdi (headdress) and pearl shell taken from reefs and an ocean they had never seen. Halls Creek has a post contact history of racial segrega-on. So called 'full blood' Aboriginal children were educated and resided at the Charles Perkins Hostel, while so-called half caste children were educated and resided at the Australian Inland Mission. Many Aboriginal languages and dialects of this region are s-ll living and widely spoken; Kija, Jaru, Gooniyandi, Walmajarri, Kukatja, Wanyirra and Ngardi. Some local people speak several of these, as well as English. Below are some Jaru, Kija and Gooniyandi word transla-ons for bush tucker terms in the Halls creek area. English




bush carrot (long yam)




bush onion




bush plum




bush potato (yam)

buwura or bigurda

yarlamarriny or larrwany


bush tomato

nganyjarli or jarlbarr



bush turkey

bin girrjaru








girnanji or bagaru



















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Art Centres Many communi-es in the Shire of Halls Creek have prac-sing ar-sts who produce work that can be viewed in five established art centres and galleries in the Shire of Halls Creek. • • • • •

Warlayir- Arts (Balgo Community) Warmun Art Centre (Turkey Creek) Laarri Art Gallery (Yiyili Community) Yaruman Art and Culture Centre (Ringer Soak Community) Yarliyil Arts Centre (Halls Creek)

The art of this region is interna-onally renowned. Factors that have contributed to the current pre-eminence include the rela-ve geographic and cultural isola-on of the region and the late contact with European Australia and the crea-ve interac-on, cross fer-lisa-on and synergy generated between the mul-ple language groups that make up the popula-on and also between older and younger ar-sts with differing styles and orienta-ons. Art is much more than a commercial ac-vity in this region. Important cultural, social and poli-cal benefits may also be acquired through par-cipa-on in art. The art is cultural because it plays a central role in transmiRng the culture and its symbols. O?en it is in-mately linked to the people's ceremonies and to the song cycles for various dreaming tracks. Photos: an example of some of the beau-ful artwork you will find in the art centres throughout the Shire of Halls Creek. These works are from Yarliyil Ar-sts - top le? Lulu Trancollino, bo>om le? Tiny MaCale and below Rosie Lala.

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Aboriginal Communities Balgo (Wirrimanu) In the mid 1930s the Pallo-ne Order of the Catholic Church (otherwise known as the Society of Catholic Apostolate) established a Catholic mission at Rockhole just outside Halls Creek. Its purpose was to serve as a place to care for the large numbers of Aboriginal people suffering from leprosy at the -me. This mission was rough and short lived. In 1939 the mission was relocated more than 250 kilometres to the south of the region with the intent that it serve as a safe refuge and buffer against the exploita-ve impact of the neighbouring ca>le sta-ons and their employees on the local Aboriginal popula-on. It grew from uncertain beginnings with few resources to become an influen-al ins-tu-on in the region and remains so today. Aboriginal people moved into the mission only very gradually over -me. In part they were ‘pulled’ from the south by the allure of certain Western goods and, in part they were ‘pushed’ from the north and from the east by the harsh treatment that was generally meted out to them by non-Aboriginal people in the pastoral and mining industries. Many Aboriginal people remained partly or wholly nomadic for a very considerable -me, choosing to make contact with the Mission only when it suited them. The movement of people into and out of the mission con-nued into the 1960s and 1970s. Essen-ally the people lived a quasi tradi-onal existence comfortable in their sense of space and fulfilling their responsibili-es within their Law. Originally the mission was located near Paruku in a bush camp adjacent to the Canning Stock Route, but within a few years it was relocated to a site now known as ‘Old Balgo’ which was inadvertently located on Billiluna pastoral lease. As a result the mission once again re-located in 1964 to its present site on a newly created Aboriginal reserve specifically set aside for this purpose. The current loca-on is associated with the important kingfisher (wirimanu) dreaming. The mission always struggled to achieve some semblance of self-sufficiency. Water was always a problem in the early years because there were never enough bores. Food supplies were o?en so scarce that the missionaries were reliant upon bush tucker provided by the Aboriginal people. At various -mes there were a>empts to grow vegetables, bake bread, and to run goats and donkeys. None of these ac-vi-es could be termed a great success. In 1942 the Mission records indicate that there were 1,600 sheep, but they also note heavy stock loses due to spearing. However the mission did run horses with considerable success. For it was discovered that this region is excellent horse country and Balgo horses were highly sought a?er by sta-on owners throughout the Kimberley at one -me. Slowly the physical infrastructure at the mission grew to include a Church, dormitories, a clinic, school, the Parish house, staff accommoda-on, an airstrip, workshop and many other buildings. Aboriginal people provided much of the labour required. Es-mates of the number of people resident at the mission have always fluctuated, as they s-ll do (and for much the same reasons). Mission and official records show Aboriginal people constantly moving in and out of the mission. It would appear that much of the ‘coming and going’ occurred on Sunday because this was the day on which ra-ons were distributed. The Church influence remains strong to this day, and not only at Balgo. Most people at Balgo iden-fy themselves as Roman Catholic. The Catholic Educa-on Office runs four schools in the region at Balgo, Mulan, Billiluna and Ringer Soak. People resident at Balgo have affilia-ons with numerous language groups. The most numerous are the desert Kukutja people.

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Warmun (Turkey Creek) Warmun, also known as Turkey Creek, is an Aboriginal community of about 500 people. The residents are predominantly Kija people. Turkey Creek was originally a watering point on the track linking Halls Creek with the Port of Wyndham. Later it became a government feeding sta-on for Aboriginal people, before later being developed into the established Aboriginal community of Warmun. Warmun boasts an impressive art centre open to the public. The Turkey Creek Roadhouse oers fuel, meals and accommoda-on. It is located on the Great Northern Highway.

Billiluna (Mindibungu) In the 1970's some Walmadjeri people who had been resident at Balgo returned to Billiluna Sta-on because of their family and historical associa-ons with the ca>le opera-on there. The catalyst that made this possible was the purchase of the pastoral leases by the Australian government on behalf of the Aboriginal people. The newly established Aboriginal owned Tjurabalan Pastoral Co Pty Ltd now assumed responsibility for the running of the ca>le opera-on.

Mulan In the early 1970s some Walmadjeri le? Balgo to take up residence at Mulan on the eastern shores of Paruku. The catalyst that made this possible was the purchase of the pastoral leases by the Australian government on behalf of the Aboriginal people. The newly established Aboriginal owned Tjurabalan Pastoral Co Pty Ltd now assumed responsibility for the running of the ca>le opera-on.

Ringer Soak (Kundat Djaru) This place is named in honour of a water source long used by stockmen and ringers at Nicholson Sta-on. In the mid 1980s the Djaru people, who had been forced o Gordon Downs Sta-on in the late 1970s, were able to return to establish this community on a small excision made from the pastoral lease. The community is incorporated as the Kundat Djaru Aboriginal Corpora-on.

Yiyili The Yiyili community is located on Louisa Downs Sta-on to the west of Halls Creek just o the Great Northern Highway. Many resident families have a long associa-on with Louisa, having worked for genera-ons of non-Aboriginal leaseholders. The community now own and operate the sta-on themselves. Yiyili has a vibrant arts community and gallery which is open to the public. It is also home to the successful country rock band the 'Walkabout Boys'. Photo below: the desert country and road between Balgo and Mulan.

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Halls Creek History Prominent People Halls Creek is proud of the many people who have contributed to its development. Some of the be>er known include Russian Jack, Postmaster Tucke>, Jack Jugarie and Ernie Bridge. Russian Jack: In 1886 'Russian Jack' (Ivan Fredericks) pushed a heavily laden hand-made wheelbarrow as he made his way from Derby to Halls Creek across country to reach the gold fields. With about 30km to go, he met an exhausted fellow prospector. He unselfishly put that man’s load on the barrow and together they pushed on to reach the goldfield. Legend has it that Russian Jack also once pushed a sick mate a great distance in his barrow so he could receive medical a>en-on. The endurance and mateship of Russian Jack is commemorated in a monument in the park outside the Visitors Centre erected by the Shire of Halls Creek in 1979 to honour his remarkable feat. It can be found in the park adjacent to the Council offices on the Great Northern Highway. Some years ago there was also a wheel-barrow race from Old Halls Creek to the 'new town' to honour the feat of Russian Jack. F.W. TuckeG: The establishment of the Royal Flying Doctor Service was inspired, at least in part, by events that occurred in Halls Creek. In 1917 the postmaster F.W. Tucke> found himself in the unenviable posi-on of having no choice but to perform surgery on an injured stockman named Jimmy Darcy. He operated successfully, not once but twice, using only a pocket knife and brief instruc-ons from a Dr Holland transmi>ed via morse code along the telegraph line from Perth. Holland then set out on a 14-day journey to reach Halls Creek only to find Darcy had died the day before he got there due to an unrelated bout of malaria. These events are believed to have influenced John Flynn's decision to establish the RFDS. The RFDS con-nues to be an integral part of the health service provision in the region. Jack Jugarie: Jugarie was a well-respected Jaru Elder. In his life he had worked as a Police Tracker, an orderly at the Fitzroy Crossing Hospital and as an Aboriginal Police Aide. In 1997, at over 70 years of age, Jack took part in the 350km 'Human Race' across country from Halls Creek to Wyndham. He competed against two much younger compe-tors. Jack used only the stars and his knowledge of country to navigate and find food and water along his way. Jack's feats are commemorated in a statue in the park outside the visitors centre and at the Trackers Hut. Ernie Bridge: Ernie Bridge hails for a prominent Halls Creek pastoral family. He served as a Shire President in the Shire of Halls Creek as well as being a successful country music recording ar-st. In 1980 he was elected to represent the state seat of Kimberley in the Western Australian Parliament. He was WA’s first ever Aboriginal Member of Parliament. In 1986 he became the first Aboriginal person to become a state Cabinet Minister. Ernie served both as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and as Minister for Agriculture. He is the President of the Watering Australia Founda-on, a non-profit organisa-on established in 1995 and con-nues to champion water supply needs. In 1997 he also established the Unity of First People of Australia, a non-profit organisa-on dedicated to assis-ng Aboriginal people and communi-es with the establishment of employment-crea-ng enterprises and roles for indigenous people in the key areas of law and order, educa-on and health. In 2003 he received the Centenary of Federa-on Medal for his service to Parliament and Aboriginal Affairs and in 2004 he won the Western Australian Ci-zen of the Year Award in the category of Governor’s Award for Regional Development. Since re-ring from Parliament in 2001 Mr Bridge has con-nued to pursue business interests through the Watering Australia Founda-on and the Unity of First People of Australia. He recently was the winner of the 2010 NAIDOC Perth “Elder of the Year Male”. Back Cover

Goldrush History In 1884 a geologist called Hardman was the first to note the gold poten-al of the Elvire River just to the east of Halls Creek. In the following year Hall and Sla>ery were the first to actually find gold. They rode their horses hundreds of kilometres west to Derby to register their claim. At the -me there was a Western Australian government reward of 5000 pounds on offer for anyone who discovered at least 10 ounces of gold. The reward was on condi-on that the field yield at least 10,000 ounces of gold. Sadly for Hall and Sla>ery the official yield figure for Halls Creek only reached 8668 ounces. In the end Hall and Sla>ery only received a reward of 500 pounds for what was Western Australia's first gold discovery. The actual yield of the Halls Creek field was probably higher than the official Western Australian Government figures. It is believed that substan-al quan--es of gold were sold across the nearby Northern Territory border. By 1886 there were es-mated to be about 2000 prospectors on the Halls Creek goldfields, but before the year was out most had already moved on. The gold quickly became scarce, no major deposits were ever found and the rush was soon over. By 1890 there were only about 70 Europeans le? in Old Halls Creek.

Prospecting in Western Australia Prospec-ng in Western Australia can be a rewarding experience if done the right way. The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) has developed Seven Golden Rules to provide visi-ng prospectors with a summary of their rights and obliga-ons under the Mining Act 1978 (the Act) and Mining Regula-ons 1981. A Miner’s Right permit can be obtained from any Mining Registrar’s office for $25 per person. To learn more about the different permits and permissions required, refer to the Seven Golden Rules for Prospec#ng leaflet available from regional offices or visit the DMP website h>p://

Photos: statues of Russian Jack and Jack Jugarie found in the Halls Creek Town Park.

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Cattle Industry Non-Aboriginal people are rela-vely recent arrivals in this country. Augustus Charles Gregory was the first to arrive in 1856. He explored the country at the southern end of what is now the Shire of Halls Creek around Burrwi (also known as Ngurriny or Tjurabalan or Sturt Creek) and Paruku (Lake Gregory). In 1879 another party led by Alexander Forrest came from the north exploring the Ord and Margaret Rivers. Both expedi-ons reported favourably on the pastoral grazing poten-al of the region. It was this that prompted the first pastoralists to drive their ca>le from Queensland and elsewhere to the eastern and central Kimberley. When local Aboriginal people first encountered white (gudiya) ca>lemen and their stock in the 1880's they ini-ally thought they were white ghosts ('gudiya gugurr') because of their appearance. This occurred at a place called Mundarrbarri, also known as the 18 Mile. The arrival of ca>le made conflict between the pastoralists and Aboriginal people all but inevitable. The Aboriginal social system had always worked to ensure that there was never any compe--on for water resources or for food amongst the people. But the existence of thousands of head of ca>le meant that there most certainly was compe--on for resources. The sta-ons were always established near water holes and in places of economic importance because of their fer-lity. In many instances these were also places of ritual significance to Aboriginal people. The ca>le were quickly followed by police and foreign laws which made it difficult for Aboriginal people to con-nue their tradi-onal hunter and gatherer lifestyle. They had to compete with ca>le for water in an arid land and grazing reduced the supply of na-ve flora and fauna on which Aboriginal people depended. The introduc-on of award wages for workers in the pastoral industry from 1968 onwards had the unintended consequence of forcing most Aboriginal people off the sta-ons and into town. Some sta-ons signalled that from now on they would only provide ra-ons and accommoda-on to those who worked as stockmen, not to their extended families. As a result many people were displaced off their country. Prior to this -me, they had only ever known a few intermi>ent periods of -me when they might be absent from country. This was a new and trauma-c experience for the people. Life on the ca>le sta-ons, however harsh it may have been, at least allowed people to remain on their ancestral lands and to con-nue their culture and lifestyle in a great many respects. Up un-l the late 1960's Aboriginal people on the sta-ons were predominantly paid in ra-ons; primarily flour, tea, sugar, sta-on meat, tobacco and clothing. Extended family members also lived on the sta-ons, even if they were not employed. Aboriginal workers shared their ra-ons with them. Over -me Aboriginal people adapted to the presence of the ca>lemen in their midst. Many Aboriginal people became skilled stockmen. In this way they were able to stay on their ancestral lands and con-nue their cultural obliga-ons and responsibili-es as custodians of country. They began to congregate in camps near the homesteads. Aboriginal people’s knowledge of their country and waters made them invaluable to early pastoralists unfamiliar with the terrain. Many became great and valued stockmen. Some ca>le dynas-es were forged in this country. Durrack and Buchanan's were the first. At one stage Lord Vestey owned numerous pastoral leases in the Halls Creek area including Flora Valley, Sturt Creek, Nicholson, Gordon Downs and Margaret River. Tom Quilty had Springvale, Bedford Downs and Lansdowne. The Bridge family had Mabel Downs, Alice Downs, Koonjie Park and Elvire. Ben Taylor owned Lamboo. These are legendary names in the history of the Halls Creek ca>le industry.

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Photos: Ac-on at the Halls Creek Rodeo The ca>le industry brought some Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people together in enduring rela-onships. It was here in this region that Western Australia's first Aboriginal pastoralists, families such as the Bridge's established themselves. Many Aboriginal people have proudly taken their Anglo surnames from the places where they once worked. The Gordon family name for instance derives from Gordon Downs. Others ‘borrowed’ their surname from a former sta-on owner or other employee. The Stretch family, for example, take their name from a former owner of Sturt Creek Sta-on. To this day many local residents con-nue to proudly sport the trappings of ca>le culture; cowboy boots, jeans, checked shirts, rodeos and country music. Most Aboriginal people were forced to relocate to towns such as Halls Creek. In more recent decades some have re-gained possession of ancestral lands by acquiring ownership of ca>le leases such as Billiluna, Lake Gregory, Koongie Park, Lamboo, Louisa Downs, Mount Pierre and Bohemia Downs. Aboriginal people once again have opportuni-es to return to the ca>le industry. The ca>le industry remains central to the iden-ty of many people in Halls Creek, even those who may have never worked on a sta-on.

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Duncan Road With diverse and spectacular scenery the Duncan Road truly is a well kept secret waing to be explored. This 429 km gravel road between Halls Creek and Kununurra snakes back and forth several mes across the Western Australian and Northern Territory border, re-joining the Great Northern Highway to the east of Lake Argyle. It offers spectacular outback scenery. The Duncan can be rough and is subject to flooding. Please check road condions in advance of travel. A 4 Wheel Drive vehicle is recommended. Places to visit along the Duncan Road within fi0y kilometres of Halls Creek include China Wall, Caroline Pool, Old Stone Hut, Old Halls Creek, Pioneer Cemeteries, Palm Springs and Sawpit Gorge. Further out you can visit Ringer Soak (Kundat Djaru) community and Yaruman Art and Culture Cenre, Marella Gorge of camp alongside some gorgeous creeks and rivers.

Photo: Sawpit Gorge during the dry season, photo taken in August

Duncan Road


Old Stone Hut China Wall

18°08’44”S, 127°48’22”E

© Commonwealth of Australia Geoscience Australia (Natmap 2008 Release)

18°15’02”S, 127°43’37”E

Caroline Pool 18°13’60”S, 127°45’58”E

HALLS CREEK Old Halls Creek 18°14’87”S, 127°46’86”E

Palm Springs 18°25’20”S, 127°50’71”E

Sawpit Gorge 18°25’52”S, 127°49’24”E


© Commonwealth of Australia Geoscience Australia (Natmap 2008 Release)

GREAT Lake Argyle




Warmun/ Turkey Creek

Bungle Bungle National Park



Caroline Pool 18°13’60”S, 127°45’58”E

HALLS CREEK Old Halls Creek 18°14’87”S, 127°46’86”E

BUNTINE HIGHWAY Lookout 18°25’82”S, 128°04’18”E

Marella Gorge 18°08’68”S, 128°42’32”E

Limited access. Contact Nicholson Station prior to travel. (08) 9168 8920.



China Wall - 18°13’60”S, 127°45’58”E Bins This place acquired its English name because it is somewhat reminiscent of the Great Wall of China. It is known as Burraluba in the Jaru language and as Mulugunjiny in Kija. The family of Chamia Samuel, who lives at Billiluna, are Aboriginal custodians for the story of this place. China Wall is a natural vein of sub-vercal white quartz rising up to 6 metres above the surrounding country in places. This striking formaon transects the country for many kilometres, rising high out of the ground and then disappearing back into the earth again. Sciensts believe the wall was formed when the rock surrounding the much harder and resistant quartz was weathered and eroded away. Aboriginal people have a different account of how this formaon came about. China Wall is located 6 km from Halls Creek accessed off the Duncan Highway. It is important visitors shut gates as the access road is through a pastoral lease.

Caroline Pool

- 18°13’60”S, 127°45’58”E. 24hr camping only,

Bins This is a picnic, swimming and bush walking place set amongst cool shady trees and wide sandy creek banks. Swimming is best following rains when the water level is high. Caroline Pool is known as Wimirri in the Jaru language. Older residents fondly remember Caroline Pool as the place where families would go on the weekend to swim and play sport on the river sand. It was also an important water source in the days of the early gold rush. Photos, clockwise from below: View of the vein of white quartz from the parking area just before China Wall, view of China Wall and some wildlife hanging out at Caroline Pool.


Pioneer Cemeteries Many of the original pioneers of Old Halls Creek are buried in the Pioneers Cemetery at Old Halls Creek. Other people who have played key roles in the development of the region are buried near Lundja (Red Hill) off the Great Northern Highway. The cemetery in current use is on the outskirts of town and accessed off the Duncan Highway.

Old Stone Hut

- 18°08’44”S, 127°

48’22”E. Take road to le0 at Sophie Downs (7.5km from T/O) 18°11’39”S, 127°48’38”E, gate a0er 8km (leave it as you find it), track to le0 a0er 13.8km 18° 08’42”S, 127°48’29”E, 100m in to park. Walk 100m across creek to Old Stone Hut. Slow drive. At the me of the Halls Creek gold rush the nearest port for supplies and the export of gold from Halls Creek was Wyndham. Originally by necessity the horse track from Wyndham to Old Halls Creek closely followed the important watering points. From Wyndham the track wound south through Turkey Creek and Mabel Downs. The Stone Hut on Sophie Downs was the last stop to rest the horses before the final leg into Old Halls Creek. The ruins of this hut have historic significance.


Old Halls Creek (Old Town) This is a very significant place. It is the site of the first gold discovery in Western Australia and where the WA gold rushes began. In 1885 Charles Hall found a 28 ounce nugget. Men (very few women) soon streamed into the interior in search of their fortune. The 'Golden West' had its beginnings in Halls Creek. This is the site of the original gold mining community where prospectors followed the gold up the creeks and gullies from Brockman to Old Halls Creek. The Halls Creek gold rush might have been short lived but it nevertheless le0 an important legacy. The gold strike contributed to the establishment of the Ports of Derby and Wyndham as well as the town of Halls Creek as men and mining equipment were brought in from places as far away as California. During the rush Old Halls Creek was a town of makeshi0 tents. A0er the gold was all but exhausted Halls Creek subsequently developed into a small centre for commerce and trade. At its peak the town boasted a Post Office, Hospital, Police Staon, two stores and a hotel. Men who came to the fledgling WA colony in search of gold stayed on. Many moved on to more lucrave gold discoveries in places such as Cue, Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie and significantly contributed to the development of Western Australia. In 1885 when gold was discovered at Halls Creek the total populaon of the colony was just 30,000. By 1900 there were 239,000 people in Western Australia. Photos, clockwise from top right: Picnic area on Duncan Road passing through Old Halls Creek, monument in Old Halls Creek , taking a walk at Caroline pool, what is le0 of the Old Stone Hut and the cemetery at Old Halls Creek


Old Halls Creek has an Aboriginal history. Right up unl the early 1950's Aboriginal people from outlying areas were brought into the Police Staon here in chains. The area around Old Halls Creek is known as Jungulu in the Jaru language. There was an Aboriginal camp across the creek and Aboriginal people traded what gold they could ďŹ nd to eke out a living. A0er the gold ran out they sold dingo scalps to the Halls Creek Roads Board. They also had goats for milk. In the 1950's the town of Halls Creek was relocated 14 kilometres away and Old Halls Creek became a virtual ghost town. The foundaons of the old mine-sha0 can sll be seen and visitors can sll pan for gold here. The cemetery at Old Halls Creek contains the graves of many Kimberley pioneers. Most of the original mud slab buildings have eroded away to their foundaons, although substanal secons of the old post oďŹƒce sll remain. Old Halls Creek is located in a picturesque seLng in undulang stony country along a shady creek. It is accessed along the Duncan Road.


Palm Springs

- 18°25’20”S, 127°50’71”E. 24hr

camping only, bins Palm Springs is known as Lugangarna in Jaru language. This is a palm fringed, spring fed, permanent freshwater pool on the Black Elvire River that has long been a refreshing stop for travellers along the dusty Duncan Highway. It is a famed 'oasis in the desert'. There are striking rock wall reflecons and abundant local wildlife dependent on this water source. Afghan teamsters are thought to have planted the original date palms found at Palm Springs. They played a prominent role in the early days of Halls Creek. Afghan man Sam HazleM and his Aboriginal wife Duddru lived at Palm Springs for many years. Sam used the springs for drinking water and to grow vegetables, which he sold in Halls Creek. An old Aboriginal man called Wellman lived at Palm Springs and worked in the gardens with Sam. He was known as 'Wellman' because he was the man who got the water from the well. Wellman Road in the Garden Area of Halls Creek is named in his honour. Sam HazleM maintained this valuable water resource by regularly cleaning out the reeds and overgrowth. He passed away in the 1980's and Palm Springs has been unoccupied since that me. Many people in Halls Creek stress the importance of maintaining and protecng the natural and cultural values of this place. Palm Springs is located 45 km from Halls Creek along the Duncan Highway. Fresh water crocodiles have been seen here. Photos, clockwise from top le': Plaque at Old Halls Creek, spectacular Palm Springs hold water year round, old car wrecks on the side of the road between Palm Springs and Sawpit Gorge, what remains of the old post office and street signs in Old Halls Creek.


Sawpit Gorge 18°25’52”S, 127°49’24”E. 3.8km along track off the Duncan Road (T/O at 18°25’30”S, 127°50’80”E). 24hr camping only, Bins The gorge is located on the Black Elvire River where flood waters have cut through a range. There is a towering rock wall on one side and sandy shaded banks. This is one of the more secluded and beauful locaons in the Shire of Halls Creek. It is also a great place for a bushwalk with plenty of wildlife and spectacular scenery. This is a popular swimming place. Fresh water crocodiles can be seen in this gorge. Sawpit is located 52 km from Halls Creek a few kilometres off the Duncan Road. Photo, this page: magnificent view while bushwalking at Sawpit Gorge Photos, opposite page: freshwater crocodiles are occasionally seen in the Shire of Halls Creek and another view of the magnificent Sawpit Gorge, the blue skies and red rocks that are synonymous with the Shire of Halls Creek.


The Amazing Landscapes of Purnululu

Arcle courtesy of Kimberley Outback Tours, Images courtesy of Philip Schubert Purnululu Naonal Park is on the bucket list of most that have ever dreamt of vising the ancient and rugged Kimberley here in the far North West of WA. But whilst the Bungles are reasonably accessible, lying only 150 odd kilometres from Halls Creek and approx. 300 kilometres from Kununurra they somemes prove to be a logiscal nightmare. That said their appeal is such that most adventurers will take the me to ensure a visit to Purnululu. Conveniently for those that prefer the bitumen the access point to this very special place is located at the Spring Creek Track turno on the main highway between Kununurra in the East and Broome to the West. The Bungle Bungle Staon Stay is located only 1 kilometre along the track providing a wonderful base from which to explore. Whilst many in well equipped 4WD’s will choose to make the last 56 km journey into the park themselves, many others will take the so0er opon of a Full Day 4WD Bus tour from the Bungle Bungle Staon Stay. Whilst the road into Purnululu Naonal Park can be a very slow drive (depending on when last graded) with many creek crossings, the Bungles are such a spectacular site that they are well worth the somemes extremely rough and dusty drive, whether you have chosen to drive yourself or chosen the so0er touring opon. Few are disappointed as they take their ďŹ rst glimpse of the unique formaons and the excitement connues to build as they have the opportunity to walk amongst the stripped beehive like domes. Connue page 37.


Great northern Highway (GNH) Not just another highway to get you from A to B, the secon of the GNH between Kununurra and Fitzroy Crossing is a drive not to be missed.

Photo: Ngumban Cli between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing


The Great Northern highway (GNH)

Distances via Great Northern Highway 1055


















Halls Creek

Fitzroy Crossing


Photo: Spectacular scenery along the Great Northern Highway near Ngumban Cliffs.

Fitzroy Crossing

Mary Pool RA Mimbi Caves

18°43’62”S, 126°52’30”E

Tours by arrangement only April - September Ngumban Cliff RA 18°44’90”S, 126°06’53”E



5 6

Larrawa Farm Stay

© Commonwealth of Australia Geoscience Australia (Natmap 2008 Release)


Muluks RA 17°20’31”S, 128°03’16”E


Spring Creek RA 17°25’98”S, 127°59’33”E

1 Warmun/ Turkey Creek

Leycester RA 17°28’86”S, 127°57’04”E

1 3


Bungle Bungle NP


Little Pandon RA 17°52’58”S, 127°49’91”E




5 Halls Creek


The Great Northern Highway is a generally north-south Western Australian highway which links the state's capital Perth with its most northern port, Wyndham. It is 3,204 kilometres (1,991 mi) in length, with 3,144 kilometres (1,954 mi) being Na0onal Highway. It is constructed as a sealed, predominantly 2-lane single carriageway (excluding a number of single lane bridges in the Kimberley). This highway is the longest intrastate highway in Australia and also the longest Australian highway in absolute terms. In parts, it is among the remotest sealed roads in the world. Some sec0ons are several hundred kilometres in length without so much as a roadhouse. Economically, it is a vital link as it provides access to the resource rich regions of the Pilbara and Kimberley. In these areas, the key industries of mining, pastoral sta0ons and tourism are all dependent on the highway.

Great northern highway rest areas In order from East to West. There are also a number of parking bays, some of which have bins &/or picnic tables. Rest areas can be seen on the map on the previous page, corresponding to numbers below. 1.

Muluks Rest Area - 17°20’31”S, 128°03’16”E. Shaded picnic tables, bins and wood BBQ’s. On Fletchers Ck.


Spring Creek Rest Area - 17°25’98”S, 127°59’33”E. Toilets, shaded picnic tables, bins and dump point, 300m west of the Bungles turnoff.


Leycester Rest Area - 17°28’86”S, 127°57’04”E. Shaded picnic tables, wood BBQ’s and Bins. On the Ord River. This rest area was named in honour of Rochford Leycester Devenish-Meares, a 13 year old Halls Creek boy who tragically died here in a single vehicle accident in 1999.


Li7le Pandon River Rest Area - 17°52’58”S, 127°49’91”E. Shaded picnic tables and bins, access either side of the bridge via the old highway.


Mary Pool Rest Area - 18°43’62”S, 126°52’30”E. Toilets, bins, wood BBQ’s dump point and a large area with large shady trees. 500m south of the GNH on the east side of the Mary River (across old crossing). The crossing is impassable when the river is flowing making the rest area inaccessible aFer heavy summer rain. This is however a great 0me to catch barramundi that have moved upstream from the Fitzroy River.


Ngumban Cliff Rest Area - 18°44’90”S, 126°06’53”E. Shaded picnic tables, bins, wood BBQ’s, toilets and dump point. 600m dirt track (suitable for caravans) on the south side of the GNH, magic views.


Mary Pool This is a semi-permanent sandy pool on the Great Northern Highway east of Halls Creek (at the rest area). It is a popular swimming, camping and picnic place. The pool forms part of the Mary River which flows into the Margaret River. Please note: Crocodiles have been seen here.

Ngumban Lookout This spectacular lookout over the central Kimberley landscape is situated on the Great Northern Highway between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing. It is best seen at sunset or sunrise. Local people refer to such physical features as 'jump-ups'.

Spring Creek Track 110km north of Halls Creek along Great Northern Highway is the turn off point and rest area to the Purnululu Na0onal Park. A shelter with informa0on boards has been erected by DEC near the turn-off onto the Spring Creek Track. It is 53km to the Rangers Sta0on and the track is restricted to 4WD allowing 2-2.5hr travel 0me on the way. Off road camper trailers are permiIed into the park (travel 0me will take longer), however all caravans are prohibited because the track has many rocky and narrow sec0ons. All vehicles must also engage 4WD from the highway turn-off to reduce damage to the unsealed track. The Spring Creek track giving access to the Park is on private property. Please refrain from camping or parking along this track. Photos, clockwise from top right: Spectacular view of the Bungles (courtesy of Philip Schubert), spectacular view from the Ngumban Cliff Rest Area and the caravans pulled up for the night under the shade of the gum trees at Mary Pool Rest Area.


Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungle) Informa0on courtesy of DPAW The Bungle Bungle Range is renowned for its striking sandstone domes, striped with orange and grey bands. Purnululu is the name given to the sandstone area by Aboriginal people and covers an area of almost 240,000 hectares. The Bungle Bungle Range has been a tourist des0na0on since 1983 and was granted World Heritage status in 2003. Access Purnululu will open in early April un0l early December depending on weather condi0ons. The park may also be temporarily closed due to fires or unseasonal rain. Access is restricted to 4WD access only and only SINGLE AXLE off road or heavy duty trailers, caravans and other towable units are not permiIed in the park. 2WD vehicles and dual axle trailers caravans and other towable units ARE NOT permiIed into the park and will be asked to leave. Visitors must register at the DPaW Visitors Centre on arrival. Geology The Bungle Bungle Range are an es0mated 360 million years old, rise over 200 meters high, formed during the Devonian age, carved over 20 million years through erosional forces, the grey banding is formed by cyanobacteria, the orange banding is the result of oxidised iron compounds within the layers Facilies There are two DPaW campsites with the basic ameni0es such as bush toilets, water and firewood. Visitors are advised to boil water prior to drinking. Campsites are non-powered. Campground bookings can be made through Halls Creek Travel & Tourism or online through – and click on ‘Park Stay’. All visitors must register at the DPaW Visitors Centre on arrival to the park. Tour companies operate outside and within the park offering a range of guided walks, 4WD transfers, safari stays, accommoda0on and helicopter flights. Scenic fixed wing flights are available from Halls Creek, Kununurra and Warmun. All tours can be booked through the experts at the Bungle Bungle desk iand at Halls Creek Travel & Tourism.


HELICOPTER VIEWS OF THE EAST KIMBERLEY The ancient and beau0ful Kimberley landscape is rugged, with few roads cuOng though the ranges and plains. As you drive and walk through the spectacular countryside, the ques0on of “I wonder what it looks like from the air?” comes to mind. Local helicopter specialist, HeliSpirit, has a range of unforgeIable helicopter adventures for you to choose from. They have over 30 years of experience living and flying in the Kimberley and they love to share their knowledge with visitors. HeliSpirit bases are located at; Kununurra, Purnululu Na0onal Park, Mitchell River Na0onal Park, Warmun, El Questro, Lake Argyle and Katherine Gorge (in the Northern Territory). Last year they flew over 15,000 passengers For the best value for money take your Bungle Bungle helicopter flight from inside the Purnululu Na0onal Park as all the flight 0me is over the Bungle Bungle. There is no wasted ferry 0me and 15% of the tour price is returned to Na0onal Parks. However, if you don’t have a 4WD and can’t get into the park, then HeliSpirit has flights depar0ng from Warmun Roadhouse. This flight path from Warmun to the Bungles flies over the Osmand Range, which is a treat to see from the air. This is not wasted ferry 0me. HeliSpirit is an environmentally aware business and ac0vely works to be Eco friendly. This is reflected in their Green Travel leader status, from having held Eco accredita0on for over 10 years. Choose HeliSpirit for the all round best helicopter flight available.

Bungle Bungle Walks Kungkalanayi Lookout Locaon: Three kilometres along the track for the Visitors Centre. Distance & Grade: 500 meters return. Allow 5 to 20 minutes. Class 3, gradual climb with firm surface. What will you see: Panoramic 360-degree views of spinifex covered ridges flowing to the majes0c cliffs of the western escarpment of the Bungle Bungle massif and the 500 million year old limestone ridge. At sunset these blaze in brilliant reds and yellows against a backdrop of purple hues from the evening sky. Cathedral Gorge Locaon: Begin at Piccaninny Creek car park, 27km south of the Visitors Centre. Distance & Grade: Two kilometres return. Allow more than one hour. Class 4 walk, with some short slopes and narrow ledges to nego0ate. What will you see: Trail follows Piccaninny Creek, passing through the striped sandstone beehives. The trail con0nues up the potholed creek bed, showing off the looming cliffs, evidence of waterfalls that cascade down steep rock faces during the wet season, finally opening into a huge natural amphitheatre. Domes Locaon: Begin at Piccaninny Creek car park, 27km south of the Visitors Centre. Distance & Grade: One kilometre circuit trail. Allow 10 to 30 minutes. Class 3, rela0vely flat walking surface mostly along firm creek beds. What will you see: The trail winds around sandstone domes that rise majes0cally from the spinifexcovered sand plains. Echidna Chasm Locaon: Begin at Echidna Chasm car park, 20 kilometres north of the Visitors Centre. Distance & Grade: Two kilometre return. Allow 45 minutes to one hour. Class 4 walk, along riverbed with a challenging short climb at the end. What will you see: A spectacular long narrow chasm, with striking colour varia0ons dependant on the angle of the sun beaming into the chasm, with livistona palms waving from the 200-meter high ridges above. Popular for photography. Osmond Lookout Locaon: Begin at Echidna Chasm car park, 20 kilometres north of the Visitors Centre. Distance & Grade: 500 meters return. Allow 15 minutes. Class 3, gradual climb. What will you see: Take in the grandeur of the Osmond Range and the sweep of Red Rock Creek as it drains into Osmond Creek. Homestead Valley Locaon: Begin at Bloodwoods car park, 15 kilometres north of the Visitors Centre. Distance & Grade: 4.4 kilometre return. Allow two hours. Class 4 trail, with moderate slopes. What you will see: This trail cuts into the range into Homestead Valley, finishing in a lookout with amazing views back out the valley and showing off the amazing height of the cliffs. A number of new walks opened in 2014/2015. Pick up your copy of the ‘Purnululu Na0onal Park Informa0on and walk trail guide’ at Halls Creek Travel & Tourism or the DPaW Visitor Centre on arrival to the park for more informa0on.





Arcle courtesy of Kimberley Outback Tours, Image courtesy of Philip Schubert Connued from page 25. It is interes0ng that most that plan to visit the Bungles are familiar with these beehive domes, but less are aware that they will soon encounter the astonishing geological forma0on, rich with colours of the outback and alive due to the presence of water that leaches from the sandstone walls, well aFer the rest of this desert like region has dried up and turned to dust. Cathedral Gorge with the acous0cs that any opera house would be envious of, is a hidden wonder among the spectacular Bungle Bungles. Few are aware that even though this southern end of Purnululu Na0onal Park is more than they had imagined there is another well-kept secret wai0ng further to the north. In the indigenous Dream0me crows were chasing an echidna and as he burrowed he caused a very narrow opening into the hill side. Today this narrow chasm con0nues to excite the senses as you wander further and further along the ever narrowing chasm with cliffs soaring 80 metres above. The extraordinary thing is, even though Purnululu Na0onal Park is an amazing place that all should take the 0me to visit on the ground, the best is s0ll to be seen from the air. This area then takes on a completely different perspec0ve, and if 0me allows a ground visit should be followed with the view from above. 4WD Day tours, helicopter and fixed wing flights operate from the Bungle Bungle Sta0on Stay from mid-April to the end of September (bookings are strongly recommended). The Bungle Bungle Sta0on Stay offers accommoda0on in Safari Tents along with powered and unpowered caravan sites, storage and camping facili0es.


Tanami Road and canning Stock route Art centres, four wheel driving, magniďŹ cent desert sunsets, spectacular wetlands and remarkable birdlife is just some of what you can expect.

Photo: Well 51/ Weriaddo Well on the northern end of the Canning Stock Route


Halls Creek


Wolfe Creek Crater

Billiluna 19°33’31”S, 127°39’53”E

Lake Stretch (Nyarna) 19°40’61”S, 127°35’42”E

Paruku IPA Access and Permits Permits available through: - Halls Creek Travel and Tourism - Canning Stock Route Access and Permits 2 permits required: - http:/ conditions.aspx


No Access Road

Stock Route

- http:/

No Access Road

Permit/s required within red do'ed area, see above

Yunpu Camp Site 20°13’15”S, 127°16’53”E


39 Stock Route

Handover Camp Site


20°10’92”S, 127°32’18”E

20°06’14”S, 127°35’69”E

© Commonwealth of Australia Geoscience Australia (Natmap 2008 Release)

Tanami Road Tanami Road No Access Road Balgo 20°08’38”S, 127°59’14”E



Photos, this page: note le at the crater by Wolfe Creek movie fans, view from the crater back to the car park and the crater turno on the Tanami Road.


Wolfe Creek Crater This is the second largest meteorite crater on Earth with a diameter of 850 - 950 metres. The ridge of the crater stands about 35 metres above the surrounding flat sand plain. The outer edges slope at a gradual 15 degrees, but the much steeper inner walls fall away at about a 50 degree angle. The crater is known as Janyil in Jaru and as Karn-marlarl in Walmajarri. Tradi-onal Owners believe this circular crater was formed when a giant mythological snake raised its head from the ground back long ago at the -me of crea-on. Aboriginal people understand many natural features, such as rivers and creeks, are the tracks le by giant ancestral snakes that once weaved their way across the desert. Scien-sts believe Wolfe Creek was formed by the impact of a meteorite about 2 million years ago. Geologists F Reeves and D Hart were the first non-Aboriginal people to come across this striking natural feature while conduc-ng an aerial survey of the Canning Basin in 1947. In 1969 Wolf Creek Crater was gaze=ed as a C class reserve. In 1976 protec-on of the area was upgraded to the status of Class A reserve. The Crater is located 152 km south of Halls Creek along the Tanami Road in flat and arid country. It is accessed by road along the Tanami Road via an unsealed corrugated road through Carranya Sta-on. Scenic flights over the crater can be booked in Halls Creek. Access: Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater Na-onal Park is situated approximately 152km by road south of Halls Creek along the Tanami Road. When travelling to Wolfe Creek be prepared for unsealed roads. It is always recommended to travel in a 4WD vehicle due to the corruga-ons. Contact Halls Creek Travel & Tourism for up to date road condi-ons before travelling. Facili,es: There is a DPaW campsite with basic toilets, however you need to be totally self-sufficient for all your supplies. Please note there is no water available. Photos: an aerial view of Wolfe Creek Crater and a film crew working on the rim of the crater.


Paruku Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) Lake Gregory (Paruku), Lake Stretch (Nyarna) and the northern sec-on of the Canning Stock Route are all part of the Paruku IPA and require a permit to camp. Paruku (ba-roo-goo) is the Walmajarri name for the large saltwater lake within the lake system known as Lake Gregory. It is one of the most remote semi-permanent freshwater wetlands in the world. The area is owned and managed by the Walmajarri people to preserve the cultural and ecological values that make it such a special place. There are 3 campsites (Lake Stretch (Nyarna), Handover Campsite, Yunpu Campsite) in Paruku IPA and a 4th one will be open in 2015. Camping permits can be booked online at Otherwise permits can be purchased at Billiluna Community store or Mulan CEO office` when these two places are open. Permits also available at Halls Creek Travel & Tourism. It is $30 per car for one night and $10 for extra nights. A detailed ‘Visitor Informa-on Guide’ which includes maps and comprehensive informa-on can be printed or purchased when applying for a permit online.

Nyarna (Lake Stretch) This is a large permanent billabong on Sturt Creek located fieen kilometres from Billiluna, just off the northern end of the Canning Stock Route. This place is associated with the mythological Two Brothers Story. The brothers passed away and transformed into ancestor trees that now watch over and look aer Nyarna. Camping, bird watching, walking and fishing are ac-vi-es that can be undertaken here. Visitors must bring all their own supplies.

Yunpu Lake


This is a fresh water lake located at the southern end of Paruku, fiy-six kilometres from Mulan. It offers visitors shady malaleuca (paperbark) trees, a white sandy shore, excellent bird watching opportuni-es, swimming and fishing. Interpre-ve signs explain this place and its associa-on with the Welany (Pelican) story.

Photos, opposite page, top to bo'om: Nyarna (Lake Stretch), Lake Gregory lizard, aerial view of Lake Gregory, spring desert owers and a Canning Stock Route Sunset. Photos, this page, top to bo'om: View towards Billiluna, the Canning Stock Route and Nyarna (Lake Stretch) near Billiluna.

Yellow Chat Oen sought aer by travelling birdwatchers the rare Yellow Chat (Epthianura crocea) is almost a guaranteed sigh-ng at Lake Gregory. If this pre=y li=le bird interests you the best chance of a sigh-ng is on the lakes edge amongst the green samphire Habitat. Walk down from the Handover Camp towards the lakes edge ďŹ rst thing in the morning and sit quietly amongst the green samphire shrubs.


Paruku (Lake Gregory) The spectacular wetlands of Paruku lie on the northern edge of the Tanami and Great Sandy deserts. Tjurabalan (Sturt Creek) primarily feeds this extensive lake system. Other creeks feeding into the system are Parnkupir- and Jalywarn. In August 2001 the High Court of Australia formally recognised the Tradi-onal Owners of this area held na-ve -tle over the land. The handover ceremony was conducted on the shores of Paruku, symbolising the significance of this place to local Aboriginal people. Tradi-onal owners believe the system was formed when a star fell from the sky into the lake and then transformed itself into a man becoming the very first Tradi-onal Owner of this place. Paruku boasts an abundant supply of bush tucker including fish, freshwater mussels, goanna, bush turkey, python, frogs and bush tomatoes. Paruku is renowned interna-onally as a bird watching site. This is a remote area and all visitors should check current road condi-ons ahead of their visit. There are three campsites for visitors within the IPA, all offering great views of the lake and spectacular desert sunsets. There are no facili-es other than bough shelters providing shade. Visitors must bring their own food, water, cooking equipment, tents, swags and toilet facili-es. There is interpre-ve informa-on about local customs, dreaming stories and history. The camping fee is $30 per vehicle for the first night and $10 per vehicle for each addi-onal night. Permits are available through Halls Creek Travel and Tourism. Photos, this page: Spectacular Lake Gregory Photos, opposite page: Driving the northern end of the Canning Stock Route and late aernoon at well 51/ Weriaddo Well.


Canning Stock Route This is an historic 2000 km long ca=le droving route extending from Halls Creek all the way south-west to Wiluna. A system of wells was constructed every 20-30 kilometres along the route. The northern end passes close to Paruku and then follows a sec-on of Sturt Creek. In the early 1900's the Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie gold rush in the south of the state created a poten-al lucra-ve new market for Kimberley beef. The Canning Stock Route was a bold and ambi-ous a=empt to open access to these new and emerging southern beef markets. The route was originally surveyed in 1906 and 1907. At that -me East Kimberley ca=le were not allowed to travel through the West Kimberley, because the West Kimberley was -ck-free and there was a mistaken belief that -cks could only survive in humid condi-ons. The Stock Route was seen as a strategic answer to the problem of geOng ca=le to the southern regions without passing through the West Kimberley. A series of wells were sunk along the route at 20 - 30 kilometre intervals in 1908 - 1910. Many of the wells along the Canning Stock Route were actually original soaks that had long been in use by local Aboriginal people. Canning resorted to the prac-ce of capturing Aboriginal people in the hope that they might lead his party to water. In 1908 a Western Australian Royal Commission was appointed to inquire into the treatment of Aboriginal people by the Canning party, prompted by allega-ons by the expedi-on’s cook. Evidence was heard of extreme distress and of serious injuries inflicted on Aboriginal people, including women, who were taken, captured and oen deprived of water. The Inquiry also heard allega-ons of random violence, the use of chains and other cruel-es. In 1910 the first ever mob of ca=le were driven down the Canning Stock Route. One member of the party was fatally speared at Well 37. A few less evenPul ca=le drives did follow. But the route was seldom used once the Port of Wyndham to the north was found to be a safer, cheaper and more convenient op-on for transpor-ng ca=le. The Canning Stock Route has proved to be far more popular with present day four-wheel drive adventure expedi-ons. Travellers planning to drive the iconic Canning should no-fy loved ones of planned travel movements and dates and important contact numbers. Travelling the Canning is a remote wilderness experience. It requires careful planning and ample fuel supply drops arranged well in advance of travel. There are no services on the track. Travel is slow and the journey takes many days. The communi-es of Billiluna (Mindibungu), Balgo (Wirrimanu) and Mulan are accessed via the Tanami Road. For more informa-on on these communi-es see pages 9 and 10. Permits can be booked through Halls Creek Travel and Tourism.


Halls Creek Travel Guide  

Are you looking at visiting the Kimberley in Western Australia? If you are make sure you check out this travel guide on the Shire of Halls C...