The Kimberley, Western Australia.


The Kimberley occupies most of the north and north west of the state. It is a remote region of spectacular rocky mountains and gorges. Until recently Beef Cattle was the main industry, but there is also some mixed irrigated agriculture near the Ord River dam. Diamonds were discovered in the 1980's and are now an important industry. This area is so remote in parts that older atlases do not even feature important areas such as the Bungle Bungle Ranges. Much of the Kimberley coastline is only accessible by boat.

Rainfall increases from south to north. The north receives the full benefits of the monsoon, but winter dry season drought means that even in areas where the rainfall is over 800mm ( 30 ins ) the vegetation still looks savanna or dry woodland type. The range in the south is 500 - 700mm ( 20 - 27ins ), but in the north this can rise to 800 -1200mm ( 31 - 47 ins ). In every part of the region there is an almost complete winter drought. Rainfall comes mainly from frequent summer thunderstorms and the NW monsoon. The monsoon varies greatly in intensity from year to year. It has even been known to fail. Sometimes parts of the monsoon cloud mass may form Tropical Cyclones, these can effect the area from November to April.

Thunderstorms received per annum are high, the central parts of the Kimberley receive as many as 60 -80 thunder days per year, this drops southwards to 40 -50 per annum. Some of these storms can have strong squalls and torrential rain associated with them.

Summer daytime temperatures are hot, but due to the influence of the NW monsoon they are not as hot as the Great Sandy Desert and Pilbara areas to the south. There is often a double annual peak in temperatures, the first happening in October - November before the monsoon, then a second peak after the monsoon in March - April. The summer range is 34 -40C ( 93 - 104F ). Winter is a short season of bearable more so than pleasant temperatures in the 26 - 34C range ( 79 - 93F ). This is typified by Wyndham which in 1946 had 333 consecutive days over 90F ( 32C ). By late August temperatures are hot again.

Frost and snow do not occur.


THE BUNGLE BUNGLES - This is a small range of rocky outcrops that feature sheer deep gorges, cliffs, chasms and fragile eco systems of tropical plants normally found in far moister conditions. Known to aborigines for thousands of years, the ranges have only been brought to public attention in the last 15 years and they are now a popular tourist attraction. Older books and atlases do not even have them marked.
WYNDHAM - A port located on Cambridge Gulf. The local meatworks ( now shut ) used to attract many large crocodiles to the infamous " blood hole ", the meatworks has gone but the large crocodiles still remain. In 1946 Wyndham recorded 333 consecutive days over 90F ( 32C ).
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