History of Dampier

The Yaburrara Aboriginal tribe are the original custodians of the area. They call the area, Murujuga, which means “Hip Bone Sticking Out” in the Yaburrara language. The Burrup Peninsula is home to the largest collection of petroglyphs (ancient rock art) in the world.

The town of Dampier gets its name from the English navigator William Dampier.

In 1699, Dampier, in command of the 26-gun warship HMS Roebuck on a mission to explore the coast of New Holland, following the Dutch route to the Indies, passed between Dirk Hartog Island and the Western Australian mainland into what he called Shark Bay.

He then followed the coast northeast, and on 21 August 1699 reached the Dampier Archipelago. He, named it Rosemary Island. He then continued to Lagrange Bay, just south of what is now Roebuck Bay, before sailing for Timor.

In 1963, the island was renamed to Dampier and became an artificial peninsula when it was connected to the mainland by a 3km causeway for a road and railway.

In 1979 Dampier Peninsular was renamed the Burrup Peninsular after Henry Burrup.

Today Dampier has a vibrant community with a population of around 1,200 residents. The port exports petroleum products, salt, iron ore and natural gas.

There are 42 islands in the Dampier Archipelago. There is a diverse marine ecosystem around the islands, including whales, dugongs, turtles, and coral.

Our Heritage

History of the Port