Karratha, Western Australia

Western Australia

Karratha at dusk

Population: 11,728 (2006)[1]
Established: 1960s
Postcode: 6714
Time zone: AWST (UTC+8)
Location: 1575 km ( mi) from
State District: North West
Federal Division: Durack
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
32.3 °C
90 °F
20.7 °C
69 °F
271.7 mm
10.7 in

Karratha is a town adjoining the port of Dampier in the Pilbara region of Western Australia which was developed from the 1960s to accommodate the processing and exportation workforce of the Hamersley Iron mining company and, in the 1980s, the petroleum and liquefied natural gas operations of the North West Shelf Venture. The town's name comes from the cattle station from which land was reclaimed for the development. Karratha in the local Aboriginal language means 'good country' or 'soft earth'.[2] The town is the seat of government of the Shire of Roebourne.



Karratha is located approximately north of Perth and south of Broome on the North West Coastal Highway.


Karratha is composed of 9 main suburbs: Karratha Town Centre, Bulgarra, Pegs Creek, Millars Well, Nickol, Nickol West, Baynton, Baynton West, Tambrey and one industrial area, known as both the LIA (Light Industrial Area) and KIE (Karratha Industrial Estate). Karratha's housing development continues, with new villages and suburbs being built. The Tambrey Centre currently has its own residential housing under construction. Nickol has also been expanded, with Nickol West completed in 2008. Baynton West is also being developed, and the expectation is that all the lots will be built and occupied by 2010.


Karratha's economic base includes the iron ore operations of the Rio Tinto Group, sea-salt mining, ammonia export operations, North West Shelf Natural Gas Project, Australia's largest natural resource development and the newest Natural Gas Project called Pluto LNG which is situated adjacent the existing North West Shelf LNG facility. Karratha came into being in the late 1960s due to the tremendous growth of the iron-ore industry and the need for a new regional centre caused by a shortage of land in Dampier. Karratha only has 4 major food stores such as KFC, Mc Donalds, Chicken Treat and Subway. Also grocery stores like Coles and Woolworthes.

Karratha has the largest shopping centre in the Pilbara, Centro Karratha, which has major food and grocery retailers and department store chains.[3] It was opened in 1986 as Karratha City and expanded in 2005. The centre also serves the neighbouring towns of Dampier, Wickham and Roebourne. There is also a smaller centre, Karratha Village, which has health services including pharmacy, medical and dental practices. There is only one hospital in Karratha.

A new shopping centre has been proposed for the Tambrey area. It is currently under review by the Shire of Roebourne and looks set to begin construction late 2010.


Climate data for Karratha
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year class="mw-headline" id="Facilities">Facilities A range of hotel, motel, B&B and caravan/RV accommodation is available for visitors. However, as the town is booming, accommodation is often hard to come by. It is prudent to make a reservation in advance. The town has restaurants, a tavern, two hotels and two night clubs. It also has a large shopping centre. New establishments proposed or under construction include 8 story apartment and shopping complex. Education is provided through four public primary schools and one private primary school, one public and one private high school, a TAFE centre with university facilities, and a library. As well as its professional medical services, the district is served by the Nickol Bay Hospital which provides a comprehensive array of services, facilities and training.[4] Karratha Airport with frequent services to and from Perth, is the second busiest in Western Australia; it has three passenger airlines servicing the town with regular schedules: Qantas, Skywest and Virgin Blue. Qantas also flies twice-weekly Boeing 737-800 services between Brisbane and Karratha—the first direct link between the Pilbara region and Australia's east coast.[5] The airport also serves as the hub of the Pilbara's light-aircraft and helicopter services[6] enabling contractors to access destinations offshore and in other parts of the region.

Annual Festivals & Events

Each year in August Pilbara Iron, Dampier Salt, Woodside Petroleum Limited (WEL), and other smaller companies sponsor one of the largest festivals in the North West, over two days. The name FeNaClNG Festival is derived from Fe (iron), NaCl (salt) and NG (natural gas). Christmas Lights
Beginning in December 2009, the town of Karratha is also host to one of Australia's largest Christmas lights competitions, with a total of $6,000 cash prizes (First prize of up to $3,000). The competition is a partnership between the local newspaper Pilbara Echo http://pilbaraecho.com.au, Woodside Energy, and Horizon Power.


Radio Radio services available in Karratha: Television Television services available: The programming schedule is mainly the same as the Seven, Nine and Ten stations in Perth with variations for News bulletins, sport telecasts such as the Australian Football League and National Rugby League, children's and lifestyle programs and infomercials or paid programming. Both GWN and WIN provide local news services that screen Monday to Friday. GWN News screens at 5.30pm before Seven News Perth. WIN News screens at 6.30pm Monday to Friday following Nine News Perth. New Digital television services from GWN and WIN are expected to launch by the end of 2010. A new digital-only channel branded Ten West commenced transmission on Thursday June 10, 2010, it is a sole Network Ten affiliated channel. Newspapers The current local newspaper for Karratha and the wider Pilbara region is the weekly publication The Pilbara Echo. [9] Newspapers from Perth including The West Australian and The Sunday Times are also available, as well as National Newspaers such as The Australian and The Australian Financial Review.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). . . http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/ABSNavigation/prenav/LocationSearch?collection=Census&period=2006&areacode=UCL512800&producttype=QuickStats&breadcrumb=PL&action=401. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  2. Western Australian Land Information Authority. . http://www.landgate.wa.gov.au/corporate.nsf/web/History+of+country+town+names. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  3. . Centro Properties Group. http://www.centro.com.au/Shopping+Centres/Shopping+Centre+Directory/Centro+Karratha/Centro+Karratha+Overview.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-23. 
  4. WA Consumer Health Services Directory: Nickol Bay Hospital Dept of Health, WA Government
  5. Qantas spreads its wings to KarrathaThe Australian, 5 October 2007
  6. Bower S Bristow delivers WA Business News, 13 November 2002
  7. URL link to Karratha FM 93.7 - Today`s Hot Country" http://local.fm/karratha/announcers.html
  8. W.A. TAB Racing Radio list of frequncies page http://www.ozbet.com.au/UI/ContentUI/AllContent.aspx?contentCode=Racing Radio Information&contentMenuType=About Content Menu
  9. The Pilbara Echo website http://pilbaraecho.com.au/echo/