One of the oldest towns of the north west, Onslow has survived numerous cyclones, rebuilds and changes in its economy.
Since World war II, the declining purchasing power of wool, has, in
spite of consistently good rainfall on the inland sheep stations since
the late 1960s, led to a change in focus of Onslow's economy from wool
to tourism. It is currently the major town of the "Coral Coast", and a
base for such activities as scuba diving on the coral reefs offshore
from the town.
The Onslow salt field occupies 90 sq km of salt flats, with seawater
pumped by three pumps at a maximum rate of 4,000L/s each for
approximately 18 hours per day depending on tides. Onslow Salt Pty Ltd
is capable of producing nominally 2.5 million tones of sodium chloride
per annum. The project has handling facilities to transport, process,
store and load salt into ships for export. The jetty is approximately a
1.3 kilometre steel trestleway and is situated off Sunset Beach.
The Good Shed Museum is a historical building, listed by National
Heritage. The building was moved from Old Onslow in 1925. The museum
contains historic artefacts from the Onslow region. Onslow has a long
and extensive history and the museum is a great place to get some
background on the town.
Onslow's Heritage Trail Walk provides some insight into the town's
history and is an interesting and educational way to spend some time.
Onslow's Ian Blair Memorial Boardwalk is attracting a lot of
interest. It starts at the lookout at Beadon Point and winds through
the natural vegetation to it’s destination at Sunset Beach.
Termite Mound Viewing Area: ant hills are prolific in the Onslow
region. They can be viewed in their natural state. Quite an amazing
Four Mile Creek
Beaches and Fishing
Onslow is a commercial fishing town and fishing is one of the main attractions in Onslow.
Sunrise beach or front beach is a great place to swim, snorkel,
collect shells, fish or just relax in the warm sun. With boat ramp
facilities and a shelter on the beach and another on the beachfront it
is the perfect place for the family to have fun in the sun.
Sunset beach or back beach offers patrons a shaded picnic area, fish
cleaning facilities and the best place in the north to watch the sun go
down. Take time to go on the beach at sunset. Also a great beach for
fishing, swimming and shell collecting.
Four Mile Creek is a fantastic spot to do some fishing, crabbing and
to have a picnic lunch. There is a BBQ area with a shaded shelter.
The beautiful Ashburton River is a must to see whilst in Onslow.
Visit three and five mile pools. Camping is allowed along the banks of
the river and the setting is idyllic. Swim, fish, picnic, bushwalk and
Beadon Creek: Fish off the wharf here or just observe the goings on. Down the creek is where all the action happens.
The ruins of the old town, abandoned in 1925, can still be seen.
They are located 45 km by road from Onslow with the turnoff being 20 km
south of Onslow on the main access road to the town. When the old town
was re-sited all potentially portable buildings were moved. Only the
old stone and cement buildings like the post office, police station,
gaol and hospital remain. The fact that the town was moved so recently
means that the observant visitor will find many relics of the past
scattered around the lonely settlement.
In 1954, geologists working for West Australian Petroleum (WAPET)
recognised the potential for oil fields on the island. After successful
test drilling, oil flowed on Barrow Island on 7 July 1964. Within 8
years, WAPET had produced its 100 millionth barrel of oil from Barrow
Island. Today, there are over 400 production wells on the island. The
Barrow Island field has become Australia's leading producer of oil by
the number of barrels per life of the field.