Denham (Western Australia)

Denham ( 607 inhabitants) is the only settlement and administrative center of the municipality of the Shire of Shark Bay in Western Australia. The place on the west coast of the Peron Peninsula bordering on the Francois Peron National Park is the westernmost of Australia. For tourists Denham is a popular starting point for the organized dolphin feedings of Monkey Mia in about 25 km away resort on the east coast.


Denham's story began in the mid-19th century as a fishing village called pearls Freshwater Camp.

Lieutenant Benjamin Francis Helpman from the Swan River in 1854 had first discovered the pearl oyster Pinctada radiata in the waters of Shark Bay. He claimed an exclusive use license, but was not enforced in practice; Fishermen from all over Australia and Asia were attracted who wanted to try their luck in this profession.

The oyster shells were coated and dried until the shells broke up and fell out the beads on the beach in vats. Contemporary reports mention an unbearable stench.

After half a century, the sand bars were exploited. In May 1898, the settlement was officially registered as a church by the government of Western Australia and named in honor of Captain Henry Mangles Denham, who had passed this way in 1858 and reported on the growing pearling settlement.

The fishing has shifted in the 20th century not perlbildende mussels, crabs and shellfish.

The now dominant as the economic base in tourism Denham developed in the second half of the 20th century associated with the expansion of Monkey Mia Resort as for organized dolphin feedings. This attraction takes place several times a day about 25 km north-east of Denham.


In Denham over 100 km long only road from the mainland ends across the Peron Peninsula. Monkey Mia is also served by a paved road on the outskirts of the national park; its sandy slopes, however, are only passable for vehicles with four-wheel - drives.

Administrative facilities, tourist information centers, shops, cafes and restaurants, accommodation, leisure and sports clubs concentrated along the harbor area. The residential areas are located on an area of ​​4 km ² distributed on the landward streets.

Outside of the local area there is a small airfield for pleasure flights over Shark Bay.

There are sports facilities for bowling, tennis, inline skating and golf course.

Building shell blocks / streets from pearl oyster shells

Until the mid-20th century, numerous buildings were built in Denham from biogenic sedimentary rock cemented cockles of type Fragum erugatum ( Coquina ), which is found on more than 100 km of coastline between Shell Beach and the Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve.

Almost all of these buildings have disappeared from the site of the 21st century, with the exception of St. Andrew Church in 1954 and a specialty seafood restaurant.

The degradation of the shell - rock is prohibited by means of the protected area in 1990.

Previously, some streets were paved with pearl oyster shells. In the 1960s, the surface was covered with regular asphalt. The loss of this former Charakteristikums regrets in today's descriptions.

Attractions in the area

  • Little Lagoon: Small lake 5 km east of Denham with a beach and barbecue facilities.
  • Monkey Mia
  • Shell Beach
  • Stromatolites in Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve
  • Dirk Hartog Iceland and Shark Bay Marine Park (organized boat trips to the observation of dugongs, sea turtles, whales, rays and dolphins ).