Mount Hart Airport airport of jandakot
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Mount Hart Airport

Mt Hart's History

Mt Hart was first explored by white men in 1879, with Alexander Forrest's party into the Kimberley. Nineteen years later, on the 20th August, 1898, Frank Hann discovered "a wonderful track...where a dray track can be made over the range" (now Hann Pass), allowing for the passage of men and stock "over the range".

Covering almost a million acres of rugged terrain in the King Leopold Ranges, Mt Hart was taken up as a pastoral lease in 1914 by Bill Chalmers and Felix Edgar, whom Hann had met in Derby soon after the completion of his trip in September 1898. These two intrepid men were the first pastoralists to take up a station "over the range". After twenty years of hard work, with little reward, the station was abandoned in 1934. "Stumpy Fraser", who took up the lease in 1935, was immediately met by a severe drought, and was forced to relocate the homestead.

Eleven years later, a more severe drought inspired Stumpy to relocate the homestead again, to the present locality. But alas, even with permanent water, the inaccessibility of this rugged country forced Stumpy to abandon the station in 1957.

The current homestead and the magnificent gardens were established by Charles Telford in 1960. The station's most prosperous years were during the late 1960s and 1970s, when owned by Thiess Brothers from Queensland, who eventually increased cattle numbers to 11,000. Thiess Brothers were also responsible for building the access road to the homestead, following the completion of the Gibb River Road in 1967.

Under the stewardship of various subsequent owners, Mt Hart was run as a working cattle station until 1987, when it was declassified as a viable pastoral lease, to become the proposed King Leopold Range Conservation Park, finally gazetted in August 2000. Richard Court, then Premier of Western Australia, stated that the King Leopold Range Conservation Park, and Mitchell Plateau "..contain diverse and complet groupings of native flora and fauna..and are thought to be the only mainland parts of the state from which there have been no species extinctions since the coming of Europeans".

Mount Hart Airport
Photo credit: Fran West - Australian Continent Circumnavigator on Ozflight '99
(Click on the photo to enlarge)

Mount Hart Airport
Photo credit: Transport (WA Govt)
(Click on the photo to enlarge)

Mount Hart Airport
Photo credit: Transport (WA Govt)
(Click on the photo to enlarge)


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