Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Derby - pronounced Derby rhyme with Kirby. We don't know why,as it was founded in 1883 to serve a pastoral district and was named after Edward Henry Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby, who was then Secretary of State for the Colonies. But that's the way it is.

Outside the town is the famous Boab Tree Prison. It has a girth of 14 metres and a doorway 1 metre wide and 2 metres high. Now fenced off as you can see, but it was once used as a holding prison for local indigenous people captured by the police.
Our campsite was in the town and on our first morning there we heard the unlikely call of a peacock, but then we saw the source of the noise. Quite a stunning bird, parading around in full display.
The local cemetery had several 'occupants' of interest, but to us one of the most unusual features was the termite mounds that appeared everywhere, some even embracing the grave areas.
The town gaol was retained as an historic building of interest and certainly the information panels associated with it made startling reading. They were tough times and the division between the whites and the indigenous blacks was as extreme here as anywhere.
Myall's Bore, was originally sunk in 1912 to a depth of 322 metres. The daily flow of water was 315 000 litres. The bore was capped in 1980. Beside the bore stands a huge 120 metre long cattle trough which was built in about 1920 and is reputed to be the longest in the southern hemisphere. It is claimed, that when the trough was in use 1000 head of cattle could be watered at one time.
Near by to the bore is Frosty's Pool which was named to mark the initiative of platoon member Charles L V Frost of the Third General Transport Company. It was built in 1944 as a bathing area for troops stationed in the area during the Second World War. This is one of the few remaining reminders of those years in the town.
During World War II, Derby was bombed by Japanese planes, mainly because it had an air base and a jetty that were used by Australian forces. Today however, as the jetty reaches out to the west it is a natural gathering spot for sunset admirers. Including us of course.
Not forgetting the beach running alongside the jetty area.

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