Kimberley History Research Chronology - Compiled by KHS
Thompson's Spring was named by Tom Kilfoyle in 1886 - Read about that and see his diary entry from that day on a separate page on the History of Thompson's Spring, including the small weir built circa 1953-54.
Read more about the WA/NT Border determinations from the Anniversaries History page as well as in a news article corrected by KHS and illustrated with images from the KHS archive. The article was found on the wonderful, "Trove" (National Library of Australia's history search engine). Read the KHS version of the 1921 WA/NT Border Determinations article, interwoven with photographs from the Hambidge Collection as well as with entries from MP Durack's diary.
On March 31st 1941 Kimberley Michael Durack (KMD) published a thoroughly researched document, 'Developing the North - A Proposed Research Station for the Kimberleys,' and by the end of 1941 his proposal had become a reality. It is fascinating to realise that Kim Durack was just 24 years old when he wrote this proposal, researched and written with great skill. We hope you enjoy reading...
Download - 'Developing the North - Proposed Research Station for the Kimberleys' (5.6 MB) written by KM Durack and published 75 years ago on March 31st 1941 (in 2016) KHS archive number KHS-2015-1-H-BD.
KHS hopes you enjoy and we would appreciate any feedback you may have.
[As this PDF is hyperlinked it is best viewed by saving to your hard drive and viewing in Adobe Acrobat Reader and not in web based viewers as hyperlinking may not work correctly.]
1941 - Carlton Reach experimental station was set up by Kimberley Michael Durack, with support of the Department of Works (later PWD) and later the WA Department of Agriculture. Read some interesting history about the 1st industrial pump engine on the Ord, from - Carlton Reach Pump Engine - a KHS Research page.
Also see Carlton Reach Set (on Flickr) to read Bill Durack's accounts of his experiences assisting his brother in the early 1940s, at what was the very beginnings of the Ord River Irrigation Area.
1942 - On March 20th 1942, a 12 Squadron Wirraway, A20-62, was force landed on the coastal saltmarsh near the WA/NT border, after engine failure over the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf. Read about the "Wirraway - Challenge" permanent exhibit at the Kununurra Museum which details the story of their survival and rescue by four Aboriginal stockmen and Charlie Pretlove. The exhibit has the salvaged cockpit canopy and some of the few parts from the plane, that survived after 62 years on the saltmarsh. A DVD in eight parts, which details the stories of pilots, Lew Dwyer and Warwick Carmody, is also available to view from the Wirraway-Challenge Page link (Here or at end of page).
The stone masonry weir, was constructed below the spring, about 8 metres above the waterhole from ground level, during the 1953/54 wet season and a there is a short History of Thompson's Spring (from here).
This interesting information was related to KHS by the late William Arthur Champness (Bill) Wright, on what would be Bill's last visit, on July 21st 2013, to his beloved and historically well known, Thompsons Spring. Use the '4 cornered gaget' to lower right hand side - Use 'Show Info' to display information about each photograph.
Bill was the Engineer for Main Roads Department WA for the major upgrade to the Ivanhoe Crossing of the Ord River over two dry seasons (1952 and 1953), when the height of the original 1920s concrete crossing, once known as 'Buchan's Crossing', was raised by around a metre. Using a combination of stone masonry, formwork of timber and for each culvert at Ivanhoe Crossing, being 6 x 44 gallon drums, opened and welded end to end, then concrete filled around, section by section, to effectively raise the crossing height.
From here you can read this short History of Thompson's Spring
1959-1961 - Research into the process of Naming Kununurra - A fascinating retrospective view of the extensive WA Government Correspondence (found in the KHS archive) that we have transcribed and presented here about how the town got its name, the many other names it could have been called that are suggested in the correspondence, with a final dramatic climax when the Post Master General (PMG) objected to Cununurra (after the Cununurra Clay so named in 1943 soil investigations?) originally from Mary Durack, being, Gununurrang (all of the "u"s being pronounced like 'good')the Aboriginal name given to that part of the Ord meaning 'big waters' - The PMG also believed it too close to "Cunnamulla" in Queensland but eventually accepted Kununurra with a "K".
See the 1961 - Kununurra Townsite Proclamation Official Documents thanks to the WA SRO or read articles researched for the Kimberley Echo newspaper "Looking Back" history column.
1963 - See some KHS research on the 1963 Royal Tour and the RAAF Convair A96-353 - VIP Transport Aircraft that brought the Royal Tour party from Darwin to Kununurra then returned to Darwin, from where the Royal tour continued onboard HMS Brittania to Fremantle via Broome and Geraldton.
Take a look at what was happening 50 years ago in Kununurra by what we have listed in the KHS archive.
1986 - Read about the History of the Kununurra Historical Society in the formation of the Kununurra Historical Society (KHS - Our Own History! ;^) at a meeting on June 5th 1986 convened by Ursula Brimble - Has full minutes and apologies for the 1986 meeting. Hope you enjoy!
To commemorate the birthday (105 years ago tomorrow - February 25th 1912) of Margaret Sautelle Lilly (1912-2005) - Here is a page about that oral history, with a short synopsis by KHS and an extract from her Oral History that is available online from the State Library of Western Australia in it's entirety. Go to the page ('The Miles from Wyndham') with the classic quoted section by Maggie about the various, 'Miles from Wyndham' - The Three Mile - The Four Mile - The Six Mile - The Nine Mile - The 12 Mile - The Twenty Mile - Beautifully said and never a truer word spoken, have I heard about those 'Miles from Wyndham'.
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