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Esperance, Australia

Esperance is a town in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia, on the Southern Ocean coastline approximately 720 kilometers (450 mi) east-southeast of the state capital, Perth. Its major industries are tourism, agriculture, and fishing. 

History

European history of the region dates back to 1627 when the Dutch vessel Gulden Zeepaert, skippered by François Thijssen, passed through waters off the Esperance coast and continuing across the Great Australian Bight.

French explorers are credited with making the first landfall near the present day town, naming it and other local landmarks whilst sheltering from a storm in this area in 1792. The town itself was named after a French ship, the Espérance, commanded by Jean-Michel Huon de Kermadec. Espérance is French for 'hope.'

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Esperance, Australia

Destination:

Esperance is a town in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia, on the Southern Ocean coastline approximately 720 kilometers (450 mi) east-southeast of the state capital, Perth. Its major industries are tourism, agriculture, and fishing. 

History

European history of the region dates back to 1627 when the Dutch vessel Gulden Zeepaert, skippered by François Thijssen, passed through waters off the Esperance coast and continuing across the Great Australian Bight.

French explorers are credited with making the first landfall near the present day town, naming it and other local landmarks whilst sheltering from a storm in this area in 1792. The town itself was named after a French ship, the Espérance, commanded by Jean-Michel Huon de Kermadec. Espérance is French for 'hope.'

In 1802, British navigator Matthew Flinders sailed the Bay of Isles, discovering and naming places such as Lucky Bay and Thistle Cove. Whalers, sealers, and pirates followed, as did pastoralists and miners, keen to exploit the free land and cash in on the gold boom in the gold fields to the north.

The area of the Esperance townsite was first settled by the Dempsters, a pioneer family of Scottish descent, in the 1870s. A telegraph station was opened in 1876, although the formal gazettal of the townsite did not occur until 1893.

The town jetty was also built through the 1890s, following the discovery of gold in the eastern goldfields region.

The population of the town was 985 (623 males and 362 females) in 1898.

The mallee area approximately 100 km (62 mi) north of the town began grain production in the 1920s, and by 1935 the construction of a second jetty, tankers jetty, was completed.

Agriculture was introduced to the Esperance sand plain by an American syndicate, in partnership with the state government, in the 1960s following the discovery that adding superphosphate fertilizers containing trace elements to the poor soils made them suitable for cropping and pastoral activity. Despite early difficulties, the project eventually became a success and large areas of land were cleared during this time.

In 1979, pieces of the space station Skylab crashed onto Esperance after the craft broke up over the Indian Ocean. The municipality fined the United States $400 for littering. The fine was paid in April 2009, when radio show host Scott Barley of Highway Radio raised the funds from his morning show listeners and paid the fine on behalf of NASA. Skylab's demise was an international media event, with merchandising, wagering on time and place of re-entry, and nightly news reports. The San Francisco Examiner offered a $10,000 prize for the first piece of Skylab to be delivered to their offices. 17-year-old Stan Thornton scooped a few pieces of Skylab off the roof of his home in Esperance, caught the first flight to San Francisco, and collected the prize.

In January 2007, the national media claimed that Esperance experienced "the perfect storm" with wind gusts of up to 110 km/h (68 mph) which brought 155 mm (6 in) of rainfall within 24 hours, causing significant flooding. More than 100 homes were damaged, several boats were destroyed, trees were felled, 35 m (115 ft) of a bridge on the South Coast Highway, (the main road linking Esperance to Perth), was washed away, and power was cut from thousands of homes. The Western Australian Government declared the area a "natural disaster zone." At least 37,000 sheep were killed in the storm.

Climate

Esperance experiences a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb) with warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. It is subject to wide variations in the weather, from hot summer days when northerly winds arrive from the interior of the state to cold, wet winter days with southerly winds from the Great Southern Ocean. Annually, the city has 85.5 clear days.


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Esperance, Australia: Port Information


It is a tender port, so cruise passengers are transported ashore by tender boats. The trip to the pier will take you about 15 min. There is shuttle service in the port (free).

Get around Esperance, Australia


There is no public transport. Renting a car is the best option to get around, especially considering that the beaches are in about 10 kilometers away from the central town.

 

What to see in Esperance, Australia


  • Historic Museum Village, Dempster St. Old buildings of various vintages whose former life as a Police Sergeants quarters, schoolhouse, doctors surgery, courthouse or hospital has been relocated and repurposed as cafes, Art galleries, and retail shops. Oldest of the bunch is the tiny wood and iron Methodist Church built in 1895. 
  • Esperance Museum, Cnr James St and Dempster St, ☎ +61 8 90711579. daily 1:30 PM-4:30 PM. A rambling array of objects stacked almost up to the hefty timber rafters of the old goods warehouse that houses the collection. Nautical flotsam, domestic ephemera, and antiquated machinery are intermingled with all kinds of social curios drawn from a lengthy timeline of Esperance history. The 442-tonne steam train dominates, but debris from the 1979 crash of Skylab is an arguable highlight. There is a lot to see, so the short opening hours demand a second visit to fully explore every corner. 
  • Pink Lake, Pink Lake Rd. Not particularly pink nor lake-like, it's a large salt pan that is either white and crunchy or grey and muddy depending on how much it has rained recently. The northern side has built up dam structures used to harvest the salt that may exhibit a pinkish tinge caused by the concentration of algae.
  • Wind power turbines (19km west of town). Massive propellers slowly spinning in the breeze look attractive from afar but are quite intimidating up close as the blades slice through the air with a low growl. 
  • Cape Le Grand National Park - less than 50km from town to the east - a mix of rugged wild coast and views of the Archipelago of the Recherche.

What to do in Esperance, Australia


Have a swim at many of the fine beaches located near town, like Twilight Beach.

What to eat and drink in Esperance, Australia


Eat

  • Jax Snax, 3 James St, ☎ +61 8 90711601. daily 11:30 AM-2 PM, 5 PM-8:30 PM. Decent Fish and Chips. 
  • Loose Good Bar & Restaurant, 9A Andrew St, ☎ +61 8 9071 2320, e-mail: info@loosegooseesperance.com.au. Modern Australian grill house. All seafood is freshly caught from the Australian sea.

Drink

  • The Pier Hotel, 47 The Esplanade, ☎ +61 8 9071 1777

Shopping in Esperance, Australia


There’s Esperance Boulevard Shopping Centre, numerous art galleries, gift shops, souvenir stores, farm markets, stalls to buy clothes, accessories, jewelry, gifts, souvenirs, etc.

Safety in Esperance, Australia


King waves, as the name implies, are large freak waves common along this part of the Western Australian coast. They are difficult to predict and calm waves are not a guarantee that one is not on its way. Many people have swept off the rocks with some ending in death. Some popular spots have float rings placed to assist in the rescue. Take they sailors adage; Never turn your back on the sea.

Rips at some beaches can pose a danger even if you are a strong swimmer. Some beaches are signposted but with many hundreds of kilometers of coastline, more are not. If the beach has a reef offshore a rip might be there.

Water, or a lack of it has been the demise of many in this region. Make sure you take some with you if you are going away from towns for any length of time.

Language spoken in Esperance, Australia


English is the main language.

LOCAL TIME

10:53 pm
May 27, 2020
Australia/Perth

CURRENT WEATHER

13 °C / 55.4 °F
broken clouds
Thu

18.06 °C/65 °F
sky is clear
Fri

14.91 °C/59 °F
moderate rain
Sat

14.42 °C/58 °F
light rain
Sun

16.64 °C/62 °F
light rain

LOCAL CURRENCY

AUD

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