Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Kimberley region of Western Australia
The Kimberley is one of the nine regions of Western Australia, consisting of the local government areas of Broome, Derby-West Kimberley , Halls Creek and Wyndham-East Kimberley . It is located in the northern part of Western Australia, bordered on the west by the Indian Ocean, on the north by the Timor Sea, on the south by the Great Sandy and Tanami Deserts, and on the east by the Northern Territory. It covers an area of 424,517 km2, which is more than three times the size of the United Kingdom.
The population of the Kimberley is only about 38,000, but this figure is growing at a rate of 4.8% per year, around three times the state average. The population is fairly evenly distributed, with only three towns having populations in excess of 2,000: Broome, Derby and Kununurra. About half of the region's population are of Aboriginal descent.
The Kimberley has a tropical monsoon climate. During the "wet season", from November to April, the region receives about 90% of its rainfall. In the "dry season", from May to October, south easterly breezes bring sunny days and cool nights.
The Kimberley was one of the earliest settled parts of Australia, with the first arrivals landing about 20,000 years ago from the islands of what is now Indonesia. European settlement started around 1885, when cattle were driven across Australia from the eastern states in search of good pasture lands. Many other Europeans arrived soon after, when gold was discovered around Halls Creek.
Other industries have included pearling, diamond mining (including the Argyle diamond mine which produces about one third of the world's diamonds), agriculture (more recently centred on the Ord River Irrigation Area near Lake Argyle) and tourism.
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