Esperance, Western Australia: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Western Australia
Population: 9,536 [1]
Established: 1896
Postcode: 6450
Mayor: Ian Mickel
LGA: Shire of Esperance
State District: Eyre
Federal Division: Kalgoorlie
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
21.8 °C
71 °F
12.0 °C
54 °F
620.3 mm
24.4 in

Coordinates: 33°51′40″S 121°53′31″E / 33.861°S 121.892°E / -33.861; 121.892

Esperance is a large town in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia, located on the Southern Ocean coastline approximately 720 kilometres (450 mi) east-southeast of the state capital, Perth. Home to 9,536 people as of the 2006 census, its major industries are tourism, agriculture, and fishing. It is connected by public transport to Perth via Transwa coach service GE1, GE2, GE3 and GE4.



Esperance location in Western Australia

European history dates back to 1627 when the Dutch vessel Gulden Zeepaert, skippered by François Thijssen, passed through the blue waters off the Esperance coast.

French explorers are credited with making the first landfall near the present day town, naming it and other local landmarks whilst sheltering from a storm in this area in 1792. The town itself was named after the French ship, L'Espérance,[2] commanded by Bruni d'Entrecasteaux. Esperance, roughly translated, is French for 'hope'.

In 1802, British navigator Matthew Flinders sailed the Bay of Isles, discovering and naming places such as Lucky Bay and Thistle Cove. Whalers, sealers and pirates followed, as did pastoralists and miners, keen to exploit the free land and cash in on the gold boom in the gold fields to the north.

The area of the Esperance townsite was first settled by the Dempsters, a pioneer family of Scottish descent, in the 1870s.[3] A telegraph station was opened in 1876, although the formal gazettal of the townsite did not occur until 1893.

In 1979, pieces of the space station Skylab crashed onto Esperance after the craft broke up over the Indian Ocean. The municipality fined the United States $400 for littering.[4] The fine was paid in April 2009, when radio show host Scott Barley of Highway Radio raised the funds from his morning show listeners, and paid the fine on behalf of NASA.[5] Skylab's demise was an international media event, with merchandising, wagering on time and place of re-entry and nightly news reports. The San Francisco Examiner offered a $10,000 prize for the first piece of Skylab to be delivered to their offices. 17-year-old Stan Thornton scooped a few pieces of Skylab off the roof of his home in Esperance, Western Australia and caught the first flight to San Francisco, where he collected his prize.[6]

In January 2007, Esperance experienced a torrential storm with wind gusts of up to 110 km/h and brought 155mm of rainfall within 24 hours, causing significant flooding. More than 100 homes were damaged, several boats were destroyed, trees were felled and 35m of bridge on the South Coast Highway, the main road linking Esperance to Perth, was washed away. The Western Australian Government declared the area a "natural disaster zone". Over 25,000 sheep were killed in the storm.[7][8]


There are five primary schools in the region: Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School, Castletown Primary School, Esperance Primary School, Nulsen Primary School and Esperance Christian Primary School. There are also two secondary schools: Esperance Senior High School and Esperance Anglican Community School. The Anglican school won an appeal in December 2009 against a State Government condition which limited it to grades 8–10; the school can now educate years 8–12. Curtin TAFE also has a campus in the town.


Near the town itself are numerous beaches, offering surfing, scuba diving, and swimming. Also nearby are a number of salt lakes, including Pink Lake, which gains its rosy hue from red algae living within its waters. Esperance is most noted for its coastline and has been voted Australia's best beaches, Australia's whitest sand and Western Australia's most popular beach. Esperance is also home to the Cyclops wave, extremely heavy with massive amounts of water unloading on shallow reef. Cyclops is featured in the surfing films Billabong Odyssey, and the Bra Boys documentary.

There are five major national parks near the town. A major nearby tourist attraction, 20 minutes away from the town centre, is the Cape Le Grand National Park, which offers a picturesque coast of largely granite terrain and sheltered white sand beaches. The park is a popular spot for recreational fishing, as well as four wheel drive enthusiasts and hikers. Esperance also has a number of wind turbines supplying electricity to the town which is an amassing site.[9] Late 2007 a television advertisement promoting one of the newer Ferrari cars was filmed on Esperance's foreshore, to be shown overseas.


Esperance experiences a mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb) with warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. It is subject to wide variations in the weather, from hot summer days when northerly winds arrive from the interior of the state, to cold, wet winter days with southerly winds from the Great Southern Ocean.

Climate data for Esperance
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 26.1
Average low °C (°F) 15.6
Precipitation mm (inches) 28.1
Source: [10]

Esperance Port

The only port in the south-east of Western Australia, the Esperance Port Authority completed an A$54-million-dollar upgrade in 2002. The upgrade made the port one of the deepest in southern Australia, capable of handling Cape-class vessels (up to 180,000 tonnes) and fully-loaded Panamax-class vessels (up to 75,000 tonnes).

Exports for the year ending June 2005 were 7,694,155 tonnes, including 1.8 million tonnes of grain, and 5.5 million tonnes of iron ore which is railed from Koolyanobbing.

Lead and nickel contamination

In 2007, the deaths of thousands of wild birds alerted residents to a toxic hazard which was found to be the unsafe transport by truck and rail of lead ore from Wiluna for export by ship. When elevated levels of lead were measured in a number of adults and children as well as in water tanks, a multi-million-dollar cleanup was paid for by the state government. The miner Magellan Metals was banned from exporting lead through the port.[11]

A parliamentary inquiry presented its report in September 2007. Before long, additional concerns were raised about pollution caused by nickel dust escaping from exported ore.[12]. In October 2008 the Esperance Port Authority banned the export of nickel after emission targets were exceeded twice, but the ban, which threatened WA’s $8 billion nickel industry, was overturned by newly-elected Coalition premier Colin Barnett.[13]

Notable residents

Twin town

See also


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Esperance (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  2. ^ "Espace to Esperance Article in Australian Traveller Magazine". Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  3. ^ Dempster, Andrew (1843 - 1909) Biographical Entry - Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
  4. ^ In 2004, the History Channel documentary "History Rocks" stated, in an episode covering major events of 1979, that this fine has never been paid.
  5. ^ Hannah Siemer. "[1]" The Esperance Express, 17 April 2009.
  6. ^ " - Australians Take Mir Deorbit Risks in Stride". Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  7. ^ "Esperance declared a natural disaster zone". WA Business News. 9 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  8. ^ "Esperance area storm kills 37,000 sheep". 
  9. ^ "Wind Power in Western Australia Interview from ABC's Science Show". ABC's Science Show. 30 July 2005. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  10. ^ "Climate statistics for Esperance". Australian Bureau of Meterology. 
  11. ^ Perpitch N Esperance lead poisoning source found The Australian, 4 April 2007
  12. ^ Crisp M Esperance parliamentary inquiry follow-up factsheet: Where to from Here? Summary by the Lead Group Inc
  13. ^ Towie N No limit on nickel emissions PerthNow (Perth Sunday Times) January 6, 2009

External links


Simple English

Esperance is a town in Western Australia. Around 13,300 people live in Esperance. Started in 1896, Esperance is found near the south-east coast of the state. It is halfway between Albany, Western Australia and the South Australian border. Esperance's main industries are tourism, fishing and agriculture.


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