When we left Port Hedland, we decided to take a detour to Marble Bar on our way to Broome. After driving way past sunset, we arrived at Des Streckfuss Rest Area, and stayed the night. First thing in the morning, we got back on the road and arrived in town just after 7am.
Marble Bar is an isolated pioneer town that was established during the Pilbara gold rush days of the late 1880s. When gold was found in 1891, the settlement grew and two years later, Marble Bar was declared a town. Marble Bar is also known as the hottest town in Australia because during the summer of 1923-24, the temperature did not drop below 37.8 degrees (100 degrees Fahrenheit) for 161 consecutive days.
In town, there is a caravan park, government houses, and the Ironclad Hotel, which was named by American miners after the ironclad boats that used to travel up and down the Mississippi River during the Civil War.
Marble Bar Pool
The huge deposit of colourful rock alongside the Coongan River is what gave the town its name. It was initially believed to be marble, but was later found to be jasper. If you splash some water on it, you can see its true colours.
A little further down the Coongan River is Chinaman Pool, a nice place for a dip and to watch the rich bird life. There were cranes, cormorants, soaring eagles, rainbow bee eaters and noisy corellas! Each time they did a circuit of the area, more corellas would come until there was a flock of hundreds – the noise was tremendous!
There is a great grassed area that’s perfect for kicking a footy around with your mates, and while there is a sheltered picnic bench, a BBQ and toilet facilities would make the area ideal for a day out with family and friends.
The road back to the highway crossed the De Grey River. When we arrived at the banks, we were surprised to see the river flowing and were excited about our first river crossing. Juz noticed the sound of budgies and saw the cute little green birds fluttering amongst the trees.
The Man from Marble Bar by Victor Courtney
Satan sat by the fires of Hell
As from endless time he’d sat,
And he sniffed great draughts of brimstone’s smell
That came as the tongue-flame spat;
Then all at once the devil looked stern
For there in the depths of Hell
Was a fellow whom never a flame could burn
Or goad to an anguished yell;
So Satan stalked to the lonely scene
And growled with a stormy brow,
‘Now stranger, tell me what does this mean?
You should be well scorched by now.’
But the chappie replied with a laugh quite new;
‘This place is too cold by far
Just chuck on an extra log or two
I’ve come from Marble Bar’