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Kununurra Local History

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Kununurra is a town located in the far northeastern region of Western Australia. The town is situated in the Kimberley region, a section renowned for its scenic landscapes and fascinating culture. The town of Kununurra dates back to around 1960 when it was founded as a support location for a nearby dam.

Before the arrival of Europeans in the area, the Kununurra region was an important cultural area for Aboriginal people. The town is located within lands historically known and owned by the Miriwoong people. The Miriwoong people have lived in the area for tens of thousands of years and are one of the many indigenous groups in the Kimberley region. Their culture is still thriving today, and many of their traditions and customs are celebrated for their unique, intricate, and meaningful nature.

Kununurra also has a significant colonial history that took root in the early 20th century. In 1922, a pastoral lease was granted to a pioneer by the name of Michael Durack. His family leased the nearby reserves of land and built their cattle empire, which later grew to cover an area of over three million acres. It was their rather early vision of the potential for irrigation that quickly led to the construction of the Ord River Dam in 1963 - 1964. The vision was to create a large scale irrigation system for the nearby land, which offers healthy growing conditions during a year-round dry season.

The early works of Kununurra came with a significant social cost, including the forced relocation of indigenous people, and a large wave of migrant workers. Many of them were employed on the large-scale contract developments, including the building of the dam and other infrastructure essential for the irrigation system. After the establishment of the irrigation system, Kununurra prospered significantly over the years, with a significant rise in the number of people who moved to the region in search of employment opportunities.

Kununurra was officially recognised as a town in 1961, and since then, it has evolved into a major hub for the Kimberley region. The town's primary economic activities include mining, agriculture and tourism. With the region being famous for its scenic beauty and unique landmarks, including Lake Argyle, Purnululu National Park and Mitchell Falls, Kununurra has grown into a destination spot for many Australians and international tourists alike.

In conclusion, Kununurra is a remarkable town with a rich cultural background, fascinating colonial history, and a thriving present with well diversified economic activities. The town is an excellent destination spot for tourists who seek to immerse themselves in the cultural, natural beauty of the Kimberley region and explore the local heritage of the area.

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