Kununurra is situated in the beautiful East Kimberley, the town is surrounded by hills and ranges, waterfalls, springs and water holes.  Nearby the town is an abundance of fresh water, the Ord and Dunham Rivers and Lake Argyle; at 100 square kms it is Australia’s largest artificial lake.

A long way from the state capital, at 3, 040 kms north east of Perth and located just 37 kms from the NT border, Kununurra was officially open in July 1960 when the town was founded as part of the Ord Valley Irrigation Area.  Farming consisted then mainly of tropical crops, replaced now by the ever growing rows of Sandalwood trees.  Prior to this local industry was dominated by  beef  when long  cattle droves headed east toward the Port of Wyndham until  two lane roads were eventually built to allow transportation by road trains. Over the years mining has become a large part of the local economy along with, given the spectacular countryside, seasonal tourism.The visitors tend to avoid the heat of the summer months and begin to arrive usually after Easter with most clearing out before the build up to the wet season which is around the end of September. Given the various industry booms overtime, the town has grown and the early fibro dwellings are being upstaged by modern houses, buildings, and facilities.

The town of Kununurra  is a recent history for the traditional owners and although the introduction of industry to the area has become part of  the Miriuwung Gajerrong peoples history, they have long inhabited the grassy plains, gorges, water holes and ranges living on the abundance of bush tucker such as the famous Kimberley Barrumundi, kangaroos, goanna, bush turkey, fruits and seeds.

Visit MG OES HIstorical Overview to read more about the impact of industry in Kununurra.

Today many Aboriginal people from elsewhere, who may have come to be with relatives or are attracted by local industry have made Kununurra a second home and make up part the local Aboriginal population. Some Aboriginal people have enjoyed the benefits of local industry and have found employment in areas which were previously out of reach. Although this has not been the case for all of the community people  many Aboriginal leaders, both those who represent people publicly, other’s who remain in the background and local organisations such as OVAHS continue to work toward improving life for all Aboriginal people in the area. In the mean time Aboriginal people do what they have always done here – stay close to kin and seek out the best fishing spots!