About Derby & Industry
The first town in the Kimberley, Derby was named after Edward Henry Stanley, Lord Derby (1826-1893), Secretary of State for Colonies (1882-1885). The Shire of Derby West Kimberley comprises 102,706 square kilometres and was declared a town site under the Land Act on 27th November, 1883.
The region has a diverse Indigenous Australian heritage and Derby provides numerous health, educational, medical, logistical as well as several other services to remote Indigenous communities. It is one of the first local government authorities in Western Australia to progress towards Indigenous Land Use Agreements with Indigenous people.
Derby was the main base for the Royal Flying Doctor Service in the Kimberley, established in Derby in 1955, but recently in 2018, a new base has been built in Broome.
As at June 30, 2016, Derby – West Kimberley (local Government Areas) has 7730 residents, 64.3% percent is of Aboriginal decent (Australian Bureau of Statistics).
- Derby District High School (Kindergarten to Year 12)
- Holy Rosary School (Kindergarten Year 6)
- Kimberley School of the Air
- Remote Indigenous community schools
- Kimberley Training Institute
- Derby Library
Men's, women's and children's health services and groups including:
- Derby Hospital - (08) 9193 3333
- WA Country Health Services - (08) 9193 326
- Kimberley Mental Health Services - (08) 9193 3605
- Derby Aboriginal Health Services - (08) 9193 1090
- Derby Dental Clinic - (08) 9191 1340
- Assembly of God, Church Kimberley Harvest Christian Centre
- Baptist Church - (08) 9193 1551
- Catholic Church - (08) 9191 1227
- Daystar Family Church - (08) 9191 1634
- Jehovah's Witnesses - 0429 574 883
- People's Church
Land and Climate
Derby is uniquely located on the King Sound near the mouth of the Fitzroy River, 2366 kms by road from Perth. The town is set on a peninsula of slightly elevated land above the surrounding flat tidal marshland.
The soil is predominantly pindan, a red-brown sand clay that supports tropical, savannah vegetation with an understorey of grasses, a mid storey of woody shrubs chiefly acacias and eucalypts and the iconic Boab trees.
Derby has Australia’s highest tides and in fact one of the highest in the world, with tides of up to 12 metres.
The Kimberley experiences two main seasons, the Dry and the Wet. The Dry season is ideal for tourism and runs from May to October. These are comfortable months with warm, dry days (28-34C). Nights are cool on the coast (18-20C) and colder inland. Very little rain falls in these months but showers may occur. Temperatures increase towards the end of September and can be in the vicinity of 40C during the day. The tropical summer or Wet season runs from November to April. Humidity is high to very high and an average of 600mm of rain falls in tropical downpours from thunderstorms and regional cyclones. Temperatures can be very hot (35-42C) October through to December.
A key factor in the historic establishment of Derby is its reduced cyclone risk. Unlike Broome, the Dampier Peninsular, coastal Pilbara towns and or Darwin, the main impacts of tropical lows and cyclones in the Derby region are heavy rainfall and flooding. Derby's cyclone risk associated with wind is much lower because there are fewer cyclones in the area, less severe cyclones in this region and cyclones tend to move over land and weaken before reaching Derby.
Lifestyle and Recreation
Derby offers its residents a unique, outdoor lifestyle surrounded by spectacular and untouched wilderness. Derby is the gateway to the natural beauty of the Kimberley; its national parks, ranges, gorges, the Buccaneer Archipelago and regional rivers provide memorable recreational camping, fantastic fishing, walking and touring opportunities.
Despite recent growth, Derby maintains an Australian country town freedom and friendly atmosphere. Its tropical climate and unhindered access to one of the few remaining near pristine regions of the world make living in Derby a rare, relaxing and enjoyable experience. Important annual community social events attracting regional support and participation include: Derby Horse Racing and Derby Cup, Derby Rodeo, Boab Ball and Festival, Kimberley Art & Photographic Exhibitions, Buccaneer Classic Fishing, Mudcrab Races, Kimberley Writers Prize, the famous Bush Poets Breakfast, Float Parade and Mardi Gras, Mowanjum Festival, Marsh Art, Ike Stohl Salmon Fishing Competition, motor speedway, gallery openings and auctions, local club sporting competitions and events. The Derby mudflats play host to the Long Table Dinner, movie nights, fireworks and art displays. Every weekend local fishermen compete to catch the biggest fish and golfers tee off on the local 11-hole fully grassed and reticulated golf course. Families meet to fish, dine or simply watch spectacular sunsets from the Derby Wharf. The towns CWA gardens provide a central and pleasant setting for weekly Saturday markets.
Derby has a number of well supported sporting clubs, such as football, netball, basketball, golf and tennis. Through the schools, a number of sporting programs are available for children, including Derby Girls Academy (netball) football and basketball programs, A multi- purpose Recreational Centre consists of Lawn bowling rink, indoor dance studio, outdoor netball/ tennis and basketball courts, which are all available for hire to the community. Adjacent to this facility, there is race course, rodeo grounds, and an 18 hole full grassed picturesque golf course set amongst the race course.
Additional facilities include shooting range, speedway and ovals for cricket and football. A 24 hour Gym is available as well as a regular exercise classes and fitness programs run through Life & Soul Club. For the keen swimmers, a 25-metre heated swimming pool is well used by locals and also offer kids swimming lessons and adult swim training options for all levels.
Other prominent associations in town include the Derby Speedway, Mary Island Fishing Club and the Derby Rodeo & Horse Riders Association. They organise a 3 day Rodeo and Campdraft annually in August, which attracts visitors and competitors throughout the Kimberley and Pilbara.
The West Kimberley is well served for all the transport of people and goods. All highways to Derby are sealed, in the wet season roads may occasionally be affected by flooding.
Derby Airport, located 9.4 km from Derby
Aeroplane and helicopter charter is available.
(Car hire is also available)
Bush Flight: (08) 9193 2680
RAAF base, located 41 km from Derby
Derby is located on the Derby Highway, a part of the Great Northern Highway-National Highway 1
Perth - 2,392 Km
Darwin - 1,734 Km
Broome - 222 Km
Fitzroy Crossing - 259 Km
Halls Creek - 547 Km
Kununurra - 907 Km
Katherine - 1,419 Km
Bus and Taxi Services
Greyhound - 1300 473 946 – www.greyhound.com.au
Derby Taxi Service - (08) 9191 1434 - local
Derby Visitor Centre is a booking agent for both passengers and freight. www.derbytourism.com.au
Derby is situated on King Sound, on the northern most coastline of Western Australia, facing the Indian Ocean and Timor Sea.
Derby Key Economic Drivers
- Mining resources
- Government services
Regional Mining Activities
Mining Exploration and Projects
Other Key Industries
- Cattle Industry & Live cattle trade
- Kimberley Meat Company – Abattoir
- Arts and Culture - Mowanjum Art Centre
- Norval Gallery
- Kimberley Art Prize and Kimberley Photographic Awards
- Derby Tourism – Derby Visitor Centre