Esperance, Western Australia
View of the Esperance CBD, 2012.
|Time zone||AWST (UTC+8)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of Esperance|
Esperance is a regional city in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia, on the Southern Ocean coastline approximately 720 kilometres (450 mi) east-southeast of the state capital, Perth. Esperance is home to 9,919 people as of the 2011 census. Its major industries are tourism, agriculture, and fishing. The Shire of Esperance is home to 13,477 people.
French explorers are credited with making the first landfall near the present day town, naming it and other local landmarks whilst sheltering from a storm in this area in 1792. The town itself was named after a French ship, the Espérance, commanded by Bruni d'Entrecasteaux. Esperance, roughly translated, is French for 'hope'.
In 1802, British navigator Matthew Flinders sailed the Bay of Isles, discovering and naming places such as Lucky Bay and Thistle Cove. Whalers, sealers and pirates followed, as did pastoralists and miners, keen to exploit the free land and cash in on the gold boom in the gold fields to the north.
The area of the Esperance townsite was first settled by the Dempsters, a pioneer family of Scottish descent, in the 1870s. A telegraph station was opened in 1876, although the formal gazettal of the townsite did not occur until 1893.
The town jetty was also built through the 1890s following the discovery of gold in the eastern goldfields region.
The population of the town was 985 (623 males and 362 females) in 1898.
The mallee area approximately 100 km north of the town began grain production in the 1920s and by 1935 the construction of a second jetty, tankers jetty, was completed.
Agriculture was introduced to the Esperance sand plain by an American syndicate in partnership with the state government in the 1960s following the discovery that adding superphosphate fertilisers containing trace elements to the poor soils made them suitable for cropping and pastoral activity. Despite early difficulties the project eventually became a success and large areas of lands were cleared during this time.
In 1979, pieces of the space station Skylab crashed onto Esperance after the craft broke up over the Indian Ocean. The municipality fined the United States $400 for littering. The fine was paid in April 2009, when radio show host Scott Barley of Highway Radio raised the funds from his morning show listeners, and paid the fine on behalf of NASA. Skylab's demise was an international media event, with merchandising, wagering on time and place of re-entry and nightly news reports. The San Francisco Examiner offered a $10,000 prize for the first piece of Skylab to be delivered to their offices. 17-year-old Stan Thornton scooped a few pieces of Skylab off the roof of his home in Esperance, Western Australia and caught the first flight to San Francisco, where he collected his prize.
In January 2007, Esperance experienced, as the national media claimed, "the perfect storm" with wind gusts of up to 110 km/h and brought 155mm of rainfall within 24 hours, causing significant flooding. More than 100 homes were damaged, several boats were destroyed, trees were felled and 35m of bridge on the South Coast Highway, the main road linking Esperance to Perth, was washed away and power was cut from thousands of homes. The Western Australian Government declared the area a "natural disaster zone". Over 25,000 sheep were killed in the storm.
There are five primary schools in the region: Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School, Castletown Primary School, Esperance Primary School, Nulsen Primary School and Esperance Christian Primary School. There are also two secondary schools: Esperance Senior High School and Esperance Anglican Community School. The Anglican school won an appeal in December 2009 against a State Government condition which limited it to grades 8–10; the school can now educate years 8–12. Curtin TAFE also has a campus in the town.
Esperance is connected by public transport to Perth via Transwa coach service GE1, GE2, GE3 and GE4.
Near the town itself are numerous beaches, offering surfing, scuba diving, and swimming. Also nearby are a number of salt lakes, including Pink Lake, which gains its rosy hue from red algae living within its waters. Esperance is most noted for its coastline and has been voted Australia's best beaches, Australia's whitest sand and Western Australia's most popular beach. Esperance is also home to the Cyclops wave, said to be the worlds heaviest wave with massive amounts of water unloading on shallow reef. Cyclops is featured in the surfing films Billabong Odyssey, and the Bra Boys documentary.
There are five major national parks near the town. A major nearby tourist attraction, 20 minutes away from the town centre, is the Cape Le Grand National Park, which offers a picturesque coast of largely granite terrain and sheltered white sand beaches. The park is a popular spot for recreational fishing, as well as four wheel drive enthusiasts and hikers. Esperance also has a number of wind turbines supplying electricity to the town which is an amassing site. Late 2007 a television advertisement promoting one of the newer Ferrari cars was filmed on Esperance's foreshore, to be shown overseas.
Esperance experiences a mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb) with warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. It is subject to wide variations in the weather, from hot summer days when northerly winds arrive from the interior of the state, to cold, wet winter days with southerly winds from the Great Southern Ocean.
|Climate data for Esperance|
|Average high °C (°F)||26.1
|Average low °C (°F)||15.6
|Precipitation mm (inches)||27.7
Esperance Port 
The only port in the south-east of Western Australia, the Esperance Port Authority completed an A$54 million upgrade in 2002. The upgrade made the port one of the deepest in southern Australia, capable of handling Cape-class vessels (up to 180,000 tonnes) and fully loaded Panamax-class vessels (up to 75,000 tonnes).
Lead and nickel contamination 
In 2007, the deaths of thousands of wild birds alerted residents to a toxic hazard which was found to be the unsafe transport by truck and rail of lead ore from Wiluna for export by ship. When elevated levels of lead were measured in a number of adults and children as well as in water tanks, a multi-million-dollar cleanup was paid for by the state government. The miner, Magellan Metals, was banned from exporting lead through the port.
A parliamentary inquiry presented its report in November 2007. Before long, additional concerns were raised about pollution caused by nickel dust escaping from exported ore. In October 2008, the Esperance Port Authority banned the export of nickel after emission targets were exceeded twice, but the ban, which threatened WA’s $8 billion nickel industry, was overturned by the newly elected Premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett.
Notable residents 
- Beatles guitarist George Harrison often visited a property at Condingup, a farming region near Esperance.
- West Coast Eagles star forward Quinten Lynch, lives in Grass Patch, a farming region of Esperance.
- Former Neighbours actor Dan Paris was raised in Esperance and works as a photographer and helps with the harvest season in surrounding farms.
Twin town 
See also 
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Esperance (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Esperance (Local Government Area)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
- "Espace to Esperance Article in Australian Traveller Magazine". Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- Dempster, Andrew (1843 - 1909) Biographical Entry - Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
- Western Australian Government Gazette, file 1339/93, 14 December 1893, p.1241.
- "POPULATION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA.". Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 22 April 1898. p. 23. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- "History and development of Esperance Port". Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- "Visit Esperance - History". Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- "South Coast rivercare - Waterways east of Esperance". Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- In 2004, the History Channel documentary "History Rocks" stated, in an episode covering major events of 1979, that this fine has never been paid.
- Hannah Siemer. "" The Esperance Express, 17 April 2009.
- "Space.com - Australians Take Mir Deorbit Risks in Stride". Retrieved 2007-07-26.[dead link]
- "Esperance declared a natural disaster zone". WA Business News. 9 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-10.[dead link]
- "Esperance area storm kills 37,000 sheep".[dead link]
- "Esperance Anglican Community School Home Page". 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
- "Anglican School condition lifted". Esperance Espress (Esperance, WA). 11 Dec 2009. p. 4. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
- "Wind Power in Western Australia Interview from ABC's Science Show". ABC's Science Show. 30 July 2005. Retrieved 2008-10-05.[dead link]
- "Climate statistics for Esperance". Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
- Taylor Paige  The Australian 16 November 2007
- Parliamentary Inquiry Report November 2007 http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/content/view/3484/1729/1/5/
- Crisp M Esperance parliamentary inquiry follow-up factsheet: Where to from Here? Summary by the Lead Group Inc
- Towie N No limit on nickel emissions PerthNow (Perth Sunday Times) 6 January 2009
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Esperance, Western Australia|
- Shire of Esperance
- Esperance Visitor Centre
- esperance.yourguide[dead link]
- Esperance Port Authority
- Court case begins over lead contamination