Dampier in the fascinating Pilbara region is one of those pivotal places where visitor begin to get a handle on the antiquity of the ancient ark that is Australia.
The huge port of Dampier and the town that it supports, on King Bay about 235km south of Port Hedland, was built by Hammersley Iron as an outlet for its iron ore from mines at Paraburdoo and Tom Price.
Salt harvested from ponds near town is also shipped through here, and gas from the North West Shelf project is piped ashore near Dampier.
Aborigines were well established on the islands and mainland before European settlement and their large shell middens and magnificent rock art are found throughout the area. These significant, prehistoric rock carvings stand as testiment to the Aborigines' timeless occupation of the land.
The Pilbara Historical Society Museum features The Pendennis Castle, reputedly the fastest steam engine in the world, and a miniature steam rail line.
A booking service is available for tours of the Karajini National Park and its gorges and to Chichester National Park with its oasis-like Millstream Pool.
Fishing in these parts is in a class of its own and Dampier hosts a major sailfish fishing tournament each August.