Shire of AshburtonCommunity profile

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Wittenoom and eastern districts

About the profile areas

The 2016 Estimated Resident Population for Wittenoom and eastern districts is 1,935, with a population density of 0.00 persons per hectare.

Location and boundaries

Wittenoom - Rural East is bounded by the Shire of Roebourne in the north, the Town of Port Hedland and the Shire of East Pilbara in the east, the Shire of Meekatharra in the south, and the localities of Innawanga, Tom Price, Nanutarra, Hamersley Range, Fortescue and Millstream in the west.

Name origin

Wittenoom is named after Frank Wittenoom, an explorer and pastoralist.

Settlement history

Development of the area dates from the 1930s, with land used mainly for pastoral purposes before this. Asbestos was mined from 1937, with the government township of Wittenoom established in 1947. Mining of asbestos stopped in 1966, with the town phased down from 1978 due to health risks. The former townsite has been abolished due to contamination by blue asbestos. The population of the wider area fluctuated during the 1990s, largely due to changes in mining operations. The population rose significantly between 2001 and 2011 as mining industries expanded.

Land use

Wittenoom - Rural East is a largely rural area, with land used mainly for pastoral purposes and mining.

Major features

Major features of the area include Karijini National Park (including Hamersley Gorge, Dales Gorge, Hancock Gorge, Joffre Gorge, Red Gorge, Weano Gorge, Mount Bruce, Oxer Lookout and the Visitor Centre), Karijini Eco Retreat and Mungaroona Range Nature Reserve.

Included areas

This small area encompasses the localities of Chichester, Juna Downs, Karijini, Mount Sheila, Mulga Downs, Rocklea and Wittenoom. This area excludes the localities of Paraburdoo and Tom Price (small townships located in the south-west).