Ocean Magazine : 2 July August 2005
British Colonial Secretary when the settlements were established. The Kimberley was seen first as a promising pastoral tract, and pioneering families such as the MacDonalds, Duracks and Buchanans drove cattle and later transported sheep huge distances to set up stations larger than some European countries there. A gold rush at Halls Creek in 1885-86 proved short lived, but some of the prospectors stayed on as settlers, giving The Kimberley very basic services. Local and Indonesian fishermen gathered trepang or beche-de- mer, also called sea slugs or sea cucumber, which is smoked and remains a popular modern-day ingredient of Asian cuisines. By the 1900s pearl farming began in earnest, following the later lead of Mikimoto in Japan, and well-known Paspaley Pearls continues that tradition today. Damming of the mighty Ord River in the late 1960s produced the Ord River Irrigation Scheme, whose cotton crops were lost to caterpillars and rice to the ubiquitous local magpie geese, but out-of-season fruit and vegetables and sugarcane are recently proving profitable. Iron ore mining has so far been based on deposits at Cockatoo Island in Yampi Sound, north of Derby in the Buccaneer Archipelago, but were not developed until after World War 11. China is the largest customer. Damming the Ord led to the creation of massive Lake Argyle, and 35 kms upstream in the Ragged Range a substantial source of diamonds was discovered in late 1979. Now the Argyle Diamond Mine is the world's largest, and its bronze, yellow and highly-prized pink diamonds make up a third of the international output. Ironic, and purely by chance, that it should also be in a place called Kimberley. Other metals exist in smaller commercial and non-commercial quantities, but geologists say much of the region has yet to be fully surveyed. Offshore oil and gas deposits are starting to be tapped but so far nothing is as significantly large as the disputed fields further out between The Kimberley and newly independent East Timor. In 1986 Barramundi was the principal target but we also had good catches of mangrove jacks, snapper and threadfin salmon"
3 September October 2005
1 May June 2005