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The port of Dampier, 1573 km (977 miles) north of Perth is the focus of much of the activity in the north-west, including the massive North-West Shelf Project, situated on the nearby Burrup Peninsula. The port really got its start when Hamersley Iron built the ore-loading facility in 1966. Today it has a population of 1900 and it is the biggest tonnage port in Australia -over 1500 ships load a total of over 60 million tonnes of iron ore here annually, from mines as far away as Tom Price, Paraburdoo, Brockman, and the new mine at Marandoo. Large quantities of salt, gas and condensate also pass through the port.

The town takes its name from the nearby Dampier Archipelago, a group of 42 islands first visited and named by
 
William Dampier in 1688. Its major attractions and recreational activities centre around these islands, which have a fascinating history of shipwrecks, whaling, pearling and farming. Nowadays the islands are mainly reserves.

On the Burrup Peninsula there is one of the best collections of Aboriginal rock engravings -there could hardly be a more spectacular setting for this ancient art.

The diving around the coast is good, and the fishing fantastic. You can expect to catch a good range of fish, from big tuna, coral trout, red emperor, giant trevally, cobia and more. The annual Dampier Classic and Game Fishing Classic are held on the first weekend in August.

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