Denham, Western Australia

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Western Australia
Denham from the air 2009.jpg
A view of Denham from the air
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Denham, Western Australia
Coordinates 25°55′37″S113°32′02″E / 25.92694°S 113.53389°E / -25.92694; 113.53389 Coordinates: 25°55′37″S113°32′02″E / 25.92694°S 113.53389°E / -25.92694; 113.53389
Population849 (SAL 2021) [1]
Postcode(s) 6537
Elevation9 m (30 ft) [2]
LGA(s) Shire of Shark Bay
State electorate(s) North West
Federal division(s) Durack
Mean max tempMean min tempAnnual rainfall
26.8 °C
80 °F
17.8 °C
64 °F
223.3 mm
8.8 in

Denham is the administrative town for the Shire of Shark Bay, Western Australia. At the 2016 census, Denham had a population of 754. [3] Located on the western coast of the Peron Peninsula 831 kilometres (516 mi) north of Perth, Denham is the westernmost publicly accessible town in Australia, and is named in honour of Captain Henry Mangles Denham of the Royal Navy, who charted Shark Bay in 1858. Today, Denham survives as the gateway for the tourists who come to see the dolphins at Monkey Mia, which is located 23 kilometres (14 mi) northeast of the town. The town also has an attractive beach and a jetty popular with those interested in fishing and boating.


The Denham region was the second area of the Australian mainland discovered by European sailors, after the western coast of Cape York Peninsula.


Map of Shark Bay area Shark Bay.svg
Map of Shark Bay area

On 25 October 1616, Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog and crew came unexpectedly upon "various islands, which were, however, found uninhabited." He made landfall at an island now called Dirk Hartog Island off the coast of Shark Bay. Hartog spent three days examining the coast and nearby islands. He named the area Eendrachtsland after his ship, but this name has not endured. Finding little of interest, Hartog continued sailing northwards charting this previously undiscovered coast to about 22° South. In 1696 the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh landed on the island. Later explorers included William Dampier, and the Frenchmen Freycinet, Hamelin and Baudin in the early 19th century.

The coast remained uninhabited by Europeans until the middle of the 19th century. The first pearls found in Western Australia were discovered in Shark Bay in 1854 by a Lieutenant Helpman, the so-called 'Admiral of the Swan River Navy', who found the dense beds of pearl-shell oysters that are abundant there.[ citation needed ]

The earlier name to that of Denham was "Freshwater Camp" when it was a pearling camp. [4]


In the 2016 Census, there were 754 people in Denham. 72.1% of people were born in Australia and 84.7% of people spoke only English at home. The most common responses for religion were No Religion 38.3%, Anglican 22.1% and Catholic 18.7%. [3]


There is a Crisis centre, two Churches, a unit of the Red Cross, Returned Services League (RSL), plus the normal amenities / facilities / social organisations to be found in any small Australian rural town; for example, two grocery shops, hardware, hairdressing salon, two hotels, three caravan parks, various types of holiday accommodation, butcher, tourist and souvenir shops. There is also the unique Old Pearler Restaurant by reservation and B.Y.O. Social organisation include a bowls club, golf club, speedway, arts society, film club, pistol club, bridge club, crafts group, youth association and facilities for various sports, for example netball, cricket, football. There is no resident Doctor but a full-time Nurse in charge of the local Silver Chain Nursing post. Currently a medical practitioner flies in for two days once a week. Emergency services are operated entirely by volunteers (Fire Brigade, Ambulance, State Emergency Service (SES) and Marine Rescue). Electricity is provided by a wind-diesel power plant. In 2020, Western Australia’s remote energy provider Horizon Power embarked on a ground-breaking hydrogen demonstration project to replace the diesel generators. [5]


The tourist industry - which functions mainly from April until September - witnesses an influx of over 250,000 people passing through the Shire on the main North West Coastal Highway of which approximately 110,000 actually come into the communities including Denham and Monkey Mia. The 150 km stretch of road linking the highway with Denham is known as World Heritage Drive . [6]

A number of tour operators have land and water based operations using both Monkey Mia and Denham as their base.

Ocean Park Aquarium is located 10 kilometers south of Denham, and has Western Australia's largest shark lagoon. It is one of the very few places in the country where tiger sharks can be seen, the daily shark feedings are a major visitor drawcard.[ citation needed ]


There is an all-weather airstrip, Shark Bay Airport (also known at times as Denham Airport), which has Regional Express Airlines operating regular services as the main tourist fly in location for Denham and Monkey Mia.

Twinned Town

Twinned with Denham, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom


Denham has a semi-arid climate typical of the Gascoyne. Summers are warm but not as hot as areas further inland due to coastal influence. The majority of Denham's rainfall falls in winter due to cold fronts moving in off the Indian Ocean; however, the town receives far less rainfall from these systems than areas further south such as Geraldton and Perth. The period from September to March is largely rainless apart from possible erratic thunderstorms or influence from tropical cyclones.

Climate data for Denham
Record high °C (°F)46.5
Average high °C (°F)30.7
Average low °C (°F)22.1
Record low °C (°F)14.0
Average precipitation mm (inches)7.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)
Source: Bureau of Meteorology. [2]
Little Lagoon, north of Denham, Western Australia.jpg
Little Lagoon at the north edge of Denham

See also

Related Research Articles

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Dirk Hartog Dutch sailor and explorer (1580–1621)

Dirk Hartog was a 17th-century Dutch sailor and explorer. Dirk Hartog's expedition was the second European group to land in Australia and the first to leave behind an artefact to record his visit, the Hartog Plate. His name is sometimes alternatively spelled Dirck Hartog or Dierick Hartochszch. Ernest Giles referred to him as Theodoric Hartog. The Western Australian island Dirk Hartog Island is named after Hartog.

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  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Denham (Suburb and Locality)". Australian Census 2021 QuickStats. Retrieved 28 June 2022.  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
  2. 1 2 "Denham". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology . Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  3. 1 2 Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Denham (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 30 December 2018. OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg CC-BY icon.svg Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
  4. Thomson, Carolyn (1997) Discovering Shark Bay Marine Park and Monkey Mia Como, W.A. Department of Conservation and Land Management. ISBN   0-7309-6854-5 page 34 The streets of Freshwater Camp were constructed from the discarded (pearl) shells
  5. "Hydrogen to repower pristine coastal community - ARENAWIRE". Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  6. "Shark Bay World Heritage Drive Home". Archived from the original on 28 August 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2010.