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image icon Ministerial tour of Kimberley region, Western Australia, 1926

Ministerial tour of Kimberley region, Western Australia, 1926
John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library


This is a black-and-white photograph taken in July 1926 that shows two men standing on a rocky track in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. At the time the track served as the road between Turkey Creek and Wyndham. A caption on the photograph reads 'TURKEY CREEK - WYNDHAM RDS'.

Educational value

This resource is useful because it:

  • This asset shows two men dressed in light suits and wearing the solar topees favoured by white men in the tropics in this period - the men were members of a Western Australian Government ministerial party, led by Minister for Works Alex McCallum, that toured the north-west and the Kimberley region on a fact-finding mission in June and July 1926; the tour was prompted by a Federal Government offer to take over the development and administration of the north and north-west of the state, a suggestion vehemently rejected by the Western Australian Government, which responded by dissolving the Department of the North-West, established about five years previously, and handing administration of the region to appropriate departments based in Perth.
  • This asset reveals something of the isolation, as well as the transport and communication difficulties, confronting remote regions of Western Australia at the time - travel was slow and arduous, and distances were great; after leaving Perth, the ministerial party travelled 900 miles (about 1,450 km) by rail, 2,900 miles (about 4,650 km) by motor car, and 1,300 miles (about 2,092 km) by boat to Meekatharra, Nullagine, Port Hedland, Broome, Derby, Fitzroy, Halls Creek, Wyndham, Ord River Station, and areas in between.
  • This asset indicates that travelling by road in the Kimberley region of Western Australia was arduous in the 1920s - large rocks on the track made progress difficult, especially for the motorised vehicles the ministerial party was using; in his diary of the journey, W L Andrew (secretary to the Minister for Works) wrote of this section of road: 'left Moola Bulla to start over 300 miles of the Worst Road in the World - didn't believe it when we started but we do now (9th July) prepared to back it - in some very lengthy and frequent stretches - against any road or apology for a road anywhere'.
  • This asset provides a glimpse of the rugged Kimberley landscape - there are eucalypts and boab trees along the track.