Shire of Shark Bay

The Shire of Shark Bay is a local government area of Western Australia in the Gascoyne region. It has an area of 25,423 km² and a population of about 950. It is made up of two peninsulas, located at the westernmost point of Australia. There is one town in the Shire of Shark Bay, Denham, which is the administrative centre for the Shire. There are also a number of small communities; they are Useless Loop (a now-closed mining site), Monkey Mia (a popular resort where dolphins come in), Nanga and Hamelin Pool. The Overlander and The Billabong are roadhouses.

Shire of Shark Bay
Western Australia
Shark bay LGA WA.png
Location in Western Australia
Population946 (2016 census)[1]
 • Density0.037210/km2 (0.09637/sq mi)
Area25,423 km2 (9,815.9 sq mi)
PresidentCheryl Cowell
Council seatDenham
State electorate(s)North West
Federal Division(s)Kalgoorlie
Shire of Shark Bay Logo.gif
WebsiteShire of Shark Bay
LGAs around Shire of Shark Bay:
Indian Ocean Carnarvon Upper Gascoyne
Indian Ocean Shire of Shark Bay Murchison
Indian Ocean Northampton Northampton


The Shark Bay Road District was gazetted on 13 May 1904. In 1951 the then current officials were dismissed.[2] On 1 July 1961, it became a shire under the Local Government Act 1960.[3]


The Shire is divided into three wards:

  • Denham Ward (five councillors)
  • Pastoral Ward (one councillor)
  • Useless Loop Ward (one councillor)


Major employers include the salt works at Useless Loop along with the fishing industry and the various retail outlets meeting the needs of the tourist industry. There are some 30 personnel employed by the Department of Environment and Conservation and twenty by the Shire. There is a primary school and a Distance Education structured secondary school. Numbers of school aged children fluctuate around the 100 mark. The Police Station is manned by 3 officers.

Local industries include tourism, fishing, salt, pearl marine culturing, mining of shell grit and various pastoral activities.


The creation of the Shark Bay World Heritage Site has created significant impact[clarification needed] on the community within the shire area.


The Shire council produced a community newsletter title the Inscription Post from 1989 until January 2011 when it was produced by the Shark Bay Community Resource Centre.[4]


The Shire of Shark Bay has a mild arid tropical climate, with mean daily maximum temperatures ranging from 22 °C (72 °F) in July to 32 °C (90 °F) in February. Rainfall is low and variable, with most rain falling in the winter months and a certain amount due to cyclone activity. The average annual rainfall is 228 mm.


Year Population
1911 226
1921 231
1933 257
1947 183
1954 233
1961 387
1966 387
1971 687
1976 696
1981 629
1986 1,081
1991 1,570
1996 1,840
2001 2,025
2006 1,841


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Shark Bay (S)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 1 December 2017.  
  2. ^ "Shark Bay Road Board Officials Dismissed". Northern Times. 75 (44). Western Australia. 1 November 1951. p. 1. Retrieved 19 April 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ WA Electoral Commission, Municipality Boundary Amendments Register (release 3.0), 31 July 2007.
  4. ^ - being a play on the Hartog Plate as being an 'Inscription Post'

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Coordinates: 25°55′37″S 113°32′02″E / 25.927°S 113.534°E / -25.927; 113.534