The Shire of Shark Bay incorporates the western most point of Australia, and is comprised of two large, shallow embayments, numerous islands, a coastline over 1500km long and a hinterland of 25,000 km². The bays are home to the largest and richest sea grass beds in the world and the water teems with sea life that comes to feed on its pastures.
Shark Bay was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1991 and is one of only 20 places on earth that satisfy all four of the natural criteria for World Heritage listing.
The listed area incorporates 2.2 million hectares and visitors can find comprehensive discussion of the area at the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre in Denham.
Denham is the main town in this southern most Gascoyne Shire. Located on the central peninsular of Shark Bay, Denham is 833km north of Perth and 330km south of the town of Carnarvon.
The town has a strong community spirit with several sporting, recreational, youth, educational and special interest groups, clubs and committees.
Outside Denham, settlements also exist at Monkey Mia home of the visiting bottlenose dolphins, Nanga, Overlander, Billabong and Useless Loop. Useless Loop is a “closed” salt mining town located 250 km from Denham by road or 25 km across the bay.
Local industries include tourism, fishing, salt production, pearl culturing, shell grit mining, manufacturing and pastoral (sheep, cattle and goats). Denham boasts a wide range of local businesses providing goods and services for the local community.
The Shire of Shark Bay has a population of 928. The area enjoys a mild climate all year round with an average temperature of 26.5oC. The average annual rainfall is 228 mm, most of which occurs between May and August.