Located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, the town of Dampier is about a 20 km drive north west of Karratha. Dampier is a picturesque coastal town situated alongside Hampton Harbour on WA’s Pilbara Coast. It is the gateway to the Dampier Archipelago, a spectacular group of 42 islands, outcrops and islets renowned for its pristine beauty and considerable marine biodiversity.
Dampier sits on a Rio Tinto townsite lease, surrounded by a mine site lease. Construction started in 1966 as the residential hub associated with a port and processing centre for Hamersley Iron’s inland Pilbara iron ore mines, the town’s population over the last 50 years has mostly been comprised of people employed in mining and related industries.
Dampier Port is the second largest bulk export port in the world, shipping iron ore, salt, liquefied gas and anhydrous ammonia from dedicated terminals, as well as other cargo. Despite the high volumes of shipping and industrial activity that occurs in the area, the Dampier Archipelago has an extremely diverse marine ecosystem and is home to several endangered species. Today over half of the islands are classified as nature reserves and are accordingly managed by Western Australia’s Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Dampier and surrounds is home to an array of animal, marine and birdlife, including, but not limited to, kangaroos, bats, turtles, eagles, lizards and snakes. There is a large local kangaroo and wallaby population which is particularly at risk due to their interactions with roads and vehicles. Drivers should exercise caution when using roads in and around Dampier, especially between dusk and dawn, as marcopods are most active between these hours.
The region has a desert climate which sees year round sunshine for a range of marine and leisure activities. Having over 3,700 hours of annual sunshine, it is one of the sunniest places in Australia! With its inviting beachfront, nearby archipelago, boat ramps, picnic and barbecue facilities, Dampier is a popular destination for families, boating enthusiasts, fishermen and divers wanting to explore the coral reef and sandy bays.
These factors, combined with the area’s thriving resources industries create employment opportunities and economic investment in the region, make Dampier an enviable place to live and work. According to the Australian Bureau of Statics 2016 Census, Dampier has a population of 1104 people.
Indigenous Australians have occupied the Dampier Archipelago and Burrup Peninsula for tens of thousands of years as evident by the shell middens, rock art (petroglyphs), artefact scatters and stone arrangements found in and around the town of Dampier.
Englishman William Dampier made the first recorded European visit to the Archipelago in 1688, spending nine weeks on the North West Western Australian coastline and returning in 1699 when he named Rosemary Island.
The town of Dampier was established between 1966 and 1968 to provide housing for the workers of the then Hamersley Iron (HI) owned and managed port facilities at Parker Point and East Intercourse Island. It was a closed mining town, meaning only HI employees lived in Dampier. During the mid-1980s, HI introduced their home ownership scheme where employees could buy their homes over a period of 15 years. The first houses in Dampier to ‘come onto the open market’ were in early 2000, paving the way for people from a range of employers to move into town.
The town of Dampier is currently in the process of being ‘normalised’ meaning that services and facilities historically run by HI, and now Rio Tinto, are gradually being handed over to government agencies.
Dampier Palms, affectionately referred to as ‘The Palms’ is located on The Esplanade, next to Hampton Oval, overlooking the beach and Hampton Harbour. This is a picturesque grassed area with numerous established palm trees providing generous shade. A playground, barbecue facilities, picnic tables and toilets are located nearby. The Palms is especially popular on sunset where the view makes a spectacular backdrop for weddings, parties and other celebrations. While the space cannot be booked, planned functions at this public area can be listed with the DCA to minimise the possibility of events clashing. For enquiries please use our online enquiry form or contact the DCA. The Palms is owned and maintained by Rio Tinto. For any issues please contact Rio Tinto’s Call Centre on 1800 992 777.
Located on Haig Close, Jurat Reserve is a sheltered and secluded parkland with a large central grassed area, surrounded by established trees providing generous shade. The park also has a small, original playground, barbecue facilities, picnic tables, drinking fountain and toilets. The Reserve is a popular space for weddings, parties and other celebrations. While the space cannot be booked, planned functions in this public area can be listed with the DCA to minimise the possibility of events clashing. For enquiries please use our online enquiry form or contact the DCA. Jurat Reserve is owned and maintained by Rio Tinto. For any issues please contact Rio Tinto’s Call Centre on 1800 992 777.
Town Centre Skate Park and Playground
Situated in the heart of Dampier, just off High Street, the Town Centre Skate Park and Playground combines recreational options for older and younger children in the one space. The small L shaped concrete skate bowl features quarter, flat banks with hip, flat bar and ledge, providing fun options for both novice and more advanced skateboarders. While the nearby fenced playground offers sandpit, play equipment and a nature play area for younger children to enjoy. The park has ample shade, grassy areas, sheltered picnic tables and drink fountain. It is a popular destination for families, being conveniently located within easy walking distance of Dampier Primary School, the Dampier Community Hub and the Shopping Centre, which includes the IGA supermarket, Hullabaloo Café, Gym Café and Oasis Café. The Town Centre Skate Park and Playground is owned and maintained by the City of Karratha. For enquiries please contact the City of Karratha on (08) 9186 8555 or use the City of Karratha’s ‘Report-It’ app to report any issues.
Situated at the entrance to town on Central Avenue, the Dampier Lions Park provides an undercover playground and Junior Bike Path suitable for young children, a climbing ‘space net’, tennis hit wall, basketball ring and a sand volleyball court. The Park and open grassed space is surrounded by large trees, which shade much of the area. There are picnic tables, toilets, a drinking fountain and barbecue facilities within the park. The Dampier Lions Park is owned and maintained by the City of Karratha. For enquiries please contact the City of Karratha on (08) 9186 8555 or use the City of Karratha’s ‘Report-It’ app to report any issues.
Hampton Oval is located on The Esplanade, next to the Dampier Palms and is home to the Dampier Red Dogs Junior Soccer Club, as well as regular events such as the Dampier Beachside Markets, Dampier Sunset Movies, Brew & the Moo Festival and selected Red Earth Arts Festival events. Hampton Oval is owned and maintained by Rio Tinto and is managed by the Dampier Community Association. The Oval is available for private, community or commercial hire. For bookings please complete the DCA Hampton Oval Hire Application form, for enquiries please use our online enquiry form or contact the DCA.
Windy Ridge Oval
Windy Ridge Oval is located on The Esplanade, next to the Public Boat Ramp and is home to the Dampier Sharks Football Club and the Dampier Taverners Cricket Club. Windy Ridge Oval is owned and maintained by Rio Tinto and is managed by the Dampier Sports Club. The Oval is available to hire, for bookings or enquiries please contact the Dampier Sports Club directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hampton Harbour Boat and Sailing Club (HHBSC)
The Hampton Harbour Boat and Sailing Club has excellent facilities to cater for the boating enthusiast. The clubhouse has a restaurant for weekend and evening meals, a bar, pool table, big screen TV and a large balcony where you can take in the view and enjoy the cool sea breeze. The club and restaurant also caters for events or functions for members. There is a range of membership options available in order to access these facilities, with all visitors to the clubhouse to be signed in by a member.
Other facilities at HHBSC include a dingy mooring area, floating pontoon at the boat ramps, boat wash down facilities, boat fuel for sale and showers at the clubhouse. There is even a playground for children to enjoy in a secure and safe environment. The proactive committee strives to continually improve the facilities for the benefit of all members. HHBSC has private boat and launching facilities, which is available to full members. For more information please contact HHBSC on (08) 9183 1116, email email@example.com or visit the Hampton Harbour Boat and Sailing Club website.
Dampier Public Boat Ramp
Dampier’s public boat ramp is located just off The Esplanade, behind Windy Ridge Oval. This ramp is available for all member of the public to launch their boat from. This facility is owned and maintained by the City of Karratha. For enquiries please contact the City of Karratha on (08) 9186 8555 or use the City of Karratha’s ‘Report-It’ app to report any issues.
Dampier’s Hampton Harbour is the gateway to the islands of the magnificent Dampier Archipelago which offers exceptional scenery, beaches, sailing, fishing and diving. Regardless of the weather conditions, there is always somewhere to go in the Archipelago’s protected bays to relax, unwind and take in nature’s beauty.
TransRegional, an umbrella brand of Transperth, run the local public bus service within the City of Karratha, with routes extending from Dampier to Point Samson. The public busses run seven days a week excluding public holidays. Dampier’s pickup location in on High St near the Dampier Community Hall. For timetables, fares and service information please visit the Public Transport Authority website or call the Transperth InfoLine on 13 62 13.
Sam Ostojich arrived in the Pilbara in the 1960's and fell in love with Tidepole Island, now affectionately referred to as ‘Sam’s Island’. Located only a short distance across the water from the Dampier foreshore, Sam’s Island is a historic and iconic Pilbara landmark. Over four decades, Sam transformed the rocky site by hand, into an oasis, building his own castle which he called home.
THE DAMPIER ARCHIPELAGO
The Dampier Archipelago hosts a collection of 42 pristine islands off the coast of Dampier. It boasts breathtaking white sand beaches, sparkling, clean waters, abundant fishing, marine life encounters, coral reefs and world class diving and snorkeling. 25 of these islands are protected as part of the Dampier Archipelago Marine Park, with camping available on some islands. Between July and September migratory humpback whales may be seen in large numbers in the waters off the Archipelago.
THE BURRUP PENINSULA
The Burrup Peninsula, located between Dampier and Karratha, is home to both modern industry and ancient wonders. Murujuga, the Aboriginal name for this place, was known as Dampier Island by white settlers until the name change to Burrup Peninsula in 1979. Beautiful beaches such as Withnell Bay and Hearson Cove can be accessed by road. Woodside’s North West Shelf Visitor Centre is located overlooking the Karratha Gas Plant; entry is free however opening hours are seasonal, so it is advisable to contact Woodside on (08) 9158 8292 for enquiries.
The Burrup Peninsula is also home to the Murujuga National Park, an area of almost 5000 hectares, which encompasses part of the largest collection of ancient petroglyphs (rock art) in the world. While no formal walking trails have yet been developed for the Park, visitors can still access and explore the area. Please be sure to respect the cultural integrity of both the land and the art by walking around, and not on, the rock art.
Murujuga National Park is vested with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) which is comprised of traditional custodians; the Ngarluma-Yindjibarndi, the Yaburara-Mardudhunera and the Woon-goo-tt-oo. The land is leased back to the WA State Government as a National Park, and is jointly managed by the representatives of MAC and the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Please ensure your own safety by planning your journey. It is advisable to contact Karratha Visitors Centre or the Department of Parks and Wildlife for further information before visiting the Murujuga National Park.
Locally produced books ‘Burrup and Beyond’ and ‘Along the Burrup’, respectively detailing the history and cultural heritage, and the nature and habitats of the Burrup Peninsula, are available to purchase from the DCA Office. For enquiries please use our online enquiry form or contact the DCA.