When it comes to Kimberley tours, there is so much to experience from pristine beaches and waterfalls to rugged terrain and breathtaking views. However, one of the most fascinating aspects which draws people to the Kimberley area is the rich and ancient history. In this article, we’ll be looking at the early history of the region which you’ll discover on Kimberley cruises.

First inhabitants of the Kimberley

The Kimberley is one of the earliest parts of Australia to be settled with inhabitants from Indonesia travelling what was then a short distance to settle on the land. Incredibly, it’s estimated that the first arrivals in the region date back 45,000 to 60,000 years. Since that time, Indigenous people have made the Kimberley their home and there is evidence of their ongoing presence in this ancient land in the incredible rock art which is prevalent throughout the area. This rock art provides insight into ancient Aboriginal culture and continues to hold significance for the current traditional landowners.

Early white settlement

William Dampier is thought to the be the first British explorer to visit the Kimberley region in 1688, although the Dutch and Portuguese also visited the area in the 17th and 18th centuries. The earliest attempt at exploring the area was in 1837 by George Grey, although the expedition was abandoned due to the harsh conditions. Alexander Forrest had a more successful attempt in 1879 and named many of the areas of the Kimberley, including many of the rivers. He later became a land agent in the Kimberley and leased millions of hectares of land. By the late 19th century, more European settlers tried their luck in the Kimberley area as they attempted to use the land for cattle grazing.
Although the opportunity for cattle grazing was one reason for the expansion of European settlement in the late 19th century, there was another discovery that led to an explosion of settlers to the area – gold. Gold was initially discovered in 1881 by Philip Saunders and Adam Johns and when more gold was discovered in Halls Creek in 1885, people came to the area to try their luck. This discovery marked the beginning of the West Australian Gold Rush. Another reason for an increase in settlement in the Kimberley region in the late 19th century was the pearling industry which began to increase in momentum.

Learn more with Ocean Dream Charters

Ocean Dream Charters offer an unforgettable experience for visitors to the Kimberley aboard our luxury twin-hill catamaran. Our experienced crew will show you everything the region has to offer, including significant historical sites, as you explore one of the world’s most beautiful destinations. Along with scheduled cruises throughout the dry season, we also offer private charters for a truly unique experience.
If you’re ready to cruise the Kimberley and learn more about the incredible history of region, contact Ocean Dream Charters today on 1300 944 727.