Halls Creek – Overview & Things to See and Do
Halls Creek is a conveniently located town if you are travelleing between Kununurra and Fitzroy Crossing. What most people fail to miss is some of the unique and interesting attractions that surround Halls Creek. The old town site, dilapidated mining camps will take you back in time, and Halls Creek is the base for exploring Wolfe Creek Crater China Wall and Sawpit Gorge. It is well worth pausing and considering the attractions surrounding Halls Creek if you are just passing through.
Halls Creek has all the basics: accommodations, food, fuel and vehicle repairs.
Halls Creek was originally established in 1885 as a mining camp during what can only be called a Gold Rush. Men from all parts of Australia and beyond flocked to the region. It’s estimated that over 10,000 men arrived in the Kimberley between 1885-87 in search of their fortune, and Halls Creek was the primary destination. Many of the fortune hunters never made it to the gold fields, succumbing to desert heat, marauding Aboriginals, and other outback hardships. For those who did, life at Halls Creek was rough and rugged. The town was little more than a collection of shanties to house and service the miners. What little men did find was quickly spent on survival in the harsh environment. The legendary story of Russian Jack (below) is a classic tale of tough men in the outback.
Things to See and Do
Russian Jack Memorial : The Kimberley has spawned many tales of courage and camaraderie, but none is more famous than that of Russian Jack. In search of gold like thousands of others, Russian Jack arrived at Halls Creek with only a wheelbarrow full of gear. Teaming up with another prospector, he set out for the gold fields. But his friend quickly succumbed to the harsh environment and fell deathly ill. With the nearest doctor located in Wyndham, Russian Jack loaded his friend and supplies for the journey in his wheelbarrow, and pushed it 300 kilometres to the town. It’s not clear what became of his mate, but Russian Jack returned to the gold fields a legend among his peers. Today, a memorial statue to his heroism is a popular visitor attraction in Halls Creek.
Old Halls Creek : The original site of Halls Creek is some 16kms south east of its present location. The town was moved in the early 1950’s to be nearer the airport and on the new Great Northern Highway. The ruins of the old Post Office are the most striking remnant. There is a pleasant picnic spot nearby at Black Elvire River and local prospectors still find gold there today. A caravan park is located here and it also offers some basic accommodation.
Caroline’s Pool : This is a natural waterhole near Old Halls Creek and it was once the main social and sporting area of the town. It is a great swimming spot during the wet and the early part of the dry.
China Wall : Approximately six kilometres south of Halls Creek is the turn off to this natural white stone wall. It is a sub-vertical quartz vein which projects above the surrounding rocks in a blocky appearance. The wall can be seen to wind its way over some tens of kilometres.
Palm Springs and Sawpit Gorge : These are two popular swimming and picnic spots situated 41 kilometres south of Halls Creek on the Duncan Highway.Palm Springs as the name suggests is a natural spring and was used years ago by cattle drovers. Sawpit is a couple of kilometres further on and is a series of deep swimming pools in the shadow of towering rock walls.
Wolfe Creek Crater : The Wolfe Creek meteorite crater is the second largest in the world and was formed more than a million years ago when a meteorite weighing thousands of tonnes crashed to earth. Located 130km south of Halls Creek via the Tanami track it measures an impressive 850 metres across. Its outer slopes stand up to 35 metres high and the crater floor is more than 50 metres below the rim. It is thought that it was even deeper but over time the wind and sand have filled in part of the centre