Derby is a town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It has a population of just over 3000 inhabitants.
Derby is located on King Sound and is renowned for having the highest tides in Australia, with the peak differential between low and high tide reaching 11.8 metres.
During the Second World War, Derby was bombed by Japanese planes because of an air base and jetty which was steadily used by Australian forces.
When you drive through the town, it has the feel of a frontier town in the middle of nowhere. You could easily think that nothing happened here and you would be mistaken.
In the 1920s, Derby was the terminus of the first scheduled aviation service in Australia: West Australian Airways Ltd. This airline began its service with a first flight on 5 December 1921. The Perth to Derby service was the world’s longest passenger airline route.
Derby also played an important role in the Australian Royal Flying Doctor Service for the Kimberley Region.
Today, the Mowanjum Festival is held every year at Mowanjum Community and features a showcase of traditional art.
There is also the Boab festival which is a week long festival that includes traditional events such as mud football, watermelon seed spitting, the Mardi Gras and other festivities.
For the people who can stand the remoteness of Derby, there are jobs in the pastoral and mining industries (diamonds) as well as oil, lead and zinc in the Phillips Range, and the King Leopold Ranges.
On the downside, the sea shores are mudflats and crocodiles (salties) are not the friendliest of animals. For most people, the reason for going to Derby is at the start or finish of the last great adventure road: the Gibb River road.
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