About Derby


The first town in the Kimberley, Derby was named after Edward Henry Stanley, Lord Derby (1826-1893), Secretary of State for Colonies (1882-1885).  The Shire of Derby West Kimberley comprises 118,560 square kilometres and was declared a town site under the Land Act on 27th November, 1883.

The region has a diverse Indigenous Australian heritage and Derby provides numerous health, delivery and other services to remote Indigenous communities.  It is one of the first local government authorities in Western Australia to progress towards Indigenous Land Use Agreements with Indigenous people.
Derby is the main base for the Royal Flying Doctor Service in the Kimberley, established in Derby in 1955.
As at June 30, 2010, Derby has 8,092 residents and is fast growing (The Australian Bureau of Statistics).

Community Services

Educational Facilities
Men's, women's and children's health services and groups including:


Key economic drivers impacting Derby are:
  • Mining resources
  • Agriculture
  • Tourism
  • Government services

Land and Climate

Derby is set on a peninsula of slightly evalated land above flat, tidal marshland with seasonal tidal differences up to 12 metres. The soil is predominantly pindan, a red-brown, sandy clay that supports tropical, savannah vegetation including grasses, woody shrubs and eucalypts, and boab trees.
The Kimberley experiences two main seasons, the Dry and the Wet.  The Dry season is ideal for tourism and runs from May to October. These are comfortable months with warm, dry days (28-34C). Nights are cool on the coast (18-20C) and colder inland. Very little rain falls in these months but showers may occur. Temperatures increase towards the end of September and can be in the vicinity of 40C during the day.  The tropical summer or Wet season runs from November to April. Humidity is high to very high and an average of 600mm of rain falls in tropical downpours from thunderstorms and regional cyclones. Temperatures can be very hot (35-42C) October through to December.
A key factor in the historic siting of Derby is its reduced cyclone risk.  Unlike Broome, the Dampier Peninsular, coastal Pilbara towns or Darwin, the main impacts of tropical lows and cyclones in the Derby region are heavy rainfall and flooding.  Derby's cyclone risk associated with wind is much lower due to several factors, including less cyclones in the area, less severe cyclones in this region and cyclones move over land and weaken before reaching Derby.

Lifestyle and Recreation

Derby offers its residents a unique, outdoor lifestyle surrounded by spectacular and untouched wilderness.  Derby is the gateway to the natural beauty of the Kimberley; its national parks, ranges, gorges, the Buccaneer Archipelago and regional rivers provide memorable recreational camping, fantastic fishing, walking and touring opportunities.
Despite recent growth, Derby maintains an Australian country town freedom and friendly atmosphere.  Its tropical climate and unhindered access to one of the few remaining near pristine regions of the world make living in Derby a rare, relaxing and enjoyable experience.  Important annual community social events attracting regional support and participation include:  Derby Horse Racing and Derby Cup, Derby Rodeo, Boab Ball and Festival, Kimberley Art Prize, Buccaneer Classic Fishing, Mudcrab Races, Madhatters Race, Kimberley Writers Prize, the famous Bush Poets Breakfast, Float Parade and Mardi Gras, Mowanjum Festival, Marsh Art, Ike Stohl Salmon Fishing Competition, Kimberley Photographic Award, motor speedway, gallery openings and auctions, local club competitions and events.  The Derby mudflats play host to the Long Table Dinner, movie nights, fireworks, art displays and crab races.  Every weekend local fishermen compete to catch the biggest fish and golfers tee off on the local 11-hole fully grassed and reticulated golf course.  Families meet to fish, dine or simply watch spectacular sunsets from the Derby Wharf.  The towns CWA gardens provide the setting for Saturday markets.    
Derby has cricket and football teams, lawn bowls, squash and tennis courts, outdoor fitness boot camps, cycling, a sport centre and community 25-metre swimming pool in landscaped grounds.


Derby Airport, located 9.4 km from Derby
Charter, regional light aircraft and helicopters

Bush Flight(08) 9193 2680
RAAF base, located 41 km from Derby


Derby is located on the Derby Highway, a part of the Great Northern Highway-National Highway 1

Perth - 2,392 Km
Darwin - 
1,734 Km
Broome - 
222 Km
Fitzroy Crossing - 259 Km
Halls Creek - 547 Km
Kununurra - 907 Km
Katherine - 1,419 Km

Bus and Taxi Services

Derby Bus Service - (08) 9193 1550 - school buses, charter, and regular bus runs between Derby and Broome
Greyhound - 
1300 473 946 - nationwide
Derby Taxi Service - 
(08) 9191 1434 - local


Derby is situated on King Sound, on the northernmost coastline of Western Australia, facing the Indian Ocean and Timor Sea