AROUND ONSLOW – Things to do
Originally known as Ashburton, Onslow in Western Australia is a pretty coastal town with a history steeped in sheep and cattle farming, pearl farming and gold mining. In the early settlement days, pearls were found in Exmouth Gulf and the town became home port to a fleet of pearling luggers. Onslow’s history is well represented and documented at the Goods Shed Museum, one of the many things to do in and around Onslow. Read on for more.
The original township of Onslow was located at the mouth of the Ashburton River, 45km from Onslow. Built in the 19th century, it was relocated to the new townsite where Onslow exists today, and originally provided port access for local station owners and graziers. Ruins of the original buildings such as the post office, hospital and police station remain today.
The Onslow Beach Resort sits right on the Beadon Bay shorefront, which has a beautiful stretch of untouched Pilbara coastline and breathtaking views out to the Mackerel Islands on a clear day. The beachfront’s fine red sand, typical of the Pilbara area, is ideal to enjoy coastal walks or energetic runs. The bay has an incredibly calming quality, and curves around to capture both sunrises and sunsets!
The Ashburton River was believed to have been first charted circa 1627, and originally named ‘Willem’s River’ by Dutch voyagers. There are a wide variety of fish and bird species often spotted, including barramundi, mangrove jack, heron, black swans and bush-stone curlew. (Source: Wikipedia)
Camping is allowed along the banks of the river at 3-Mile. There are no facilities, so you must bring everything you need. This is a popular area with the locals, as is 5-Mile, which is also a favourite swimming hole.
Staircase to the Moon
Onslow is one of the best places in Western Australia to view the Staircase to the Moon – a spectacular natural phenomenon seen only in the northern region of WA. Occurring from March to November, the Staircase to the Moon is caused by the rising of a full moon reflecting off exposed mudflats at low tide, creating a beautiful optical illusion of stairs reaching up to the moon. See dates and times to witness it in the Pilbara here.
Marvel at the prolific ant nests in their natural state dotted around the Onslow landscape. The termite mounds are a unique feature providing fantastic photo opportunities.
Goods Shed Museum
Located only a few steps from the Onslow Beach Resort, the Goods Shed Museum is a historical building, listed by National Heritage. It was originally built in 1904 in Old Onslow, but was moved into the new Onslow townsite in 1925. It contains many historic artefacts, and gives a true insight to Onslow’s history.
Ian Blair Memorial Walkway
Onslow’s Ian Blair Memorial Boardwalk is a timber boardwalk that starts at the lookout at Beadon Point and winds through natural vegetation to Sunset Beach. A great way to enjoy the sunrise or the sunset during a leisurely stroll.
Onslow has two lookouts located a short distance from one another. Both provide a wonderful view of the ocean and offer some incredibly colourful sunrises and sunsets.
From the lookouts you can see the remains of the old jetty. At the bottom lookout, nearest the caravan park, is a monument to those who were lost at sea during Cyclone Bobby in 1995.
Onslow Anzac War Memorial
In 2008 a new Anzac War Memorial was erected at Beadon Point in Onslow, depicting the Australian Defence Force’s badge emblem of the Rising Sun insignia. The sculpture is geographically positioned so that the rays of the rising sun shine directly through the arch at dawn on each and every Anzac Day.
Designed by internationally acclaimed artisans Charlie and Joan Smith of Smith Sculptors, the work is a technical feat of astrophysics to achieve the accuracy required for the flaming sun orb to appear centre stage within the sculpture as it rises over the bay.
With the inscription “We Will Remember Them”, the memorial commemorates Australian servicemen and women who have served in all wars and conflicts.
The Annual Onslow Rodeo is a must-see community event if you are around town or passing by in August. Live music performances, children’s entertainment, stalls, food and riders bring all the fun of the rodeo.
Held every year, the Onslow Rodeo is a true insight to the town’s outback culture with many travelling from the local stations to attend.
Onslow Salt Pty Ltd is one of the largest employers in Onslow. The state-of-the-art solar salt plant occupies approximately 90 square kilometres of what was natural salt flats in the immediate surroundings.
The area is a fascinating place to visit. You can see how salt is produced, from initial pumping of seawater into the concentration ponds, through to evaporation, crystallisation, harvesting and purification to the final product – the salt we use every day.
Since the establishment of Onslow Salt’s ponds, many species of bird and wildlife have been attracted to the area. You may see pelicans, cormorants, wading birds, sea eagles as well as kangaroos, emus and wild turkeys during your visit.
Chevron’s Wheatstone Gas Project
Chevron’s Wheatstone Natural Gas site is located close to the Old Onslow Townsite where a large gas processing plant was constructed during 2012/13. The development that is currently being witnessed in Onslow and the growth of the town is largely due to the arrival of the Wheatstone Project in the area. The Wheatstone and nearby Iago natural gas resources are located about 200km (124 miles) north of Onslow off Western Australia’s coast.
For more things to do in Onslow visit the Onslow Visitor’s Centre at ashburton.wa.gov.au