Karratha, Western Australia
Karratha at dusk
|Population||16,475 (2011 census)|
|Time zone||AWST (UTC+8)|
|Location||1,575 km (979 mi) from Perth|
|LGA(s)||City of Karratha|
Karratha is an Australian town adjoining the port of Dampier in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, which was developed from the 1960s to accommodate the processing and exportation workforce of the Hamersley Iron mining company and, in the 1980s, the petroleum and liquefied natural gas operations of the North West Shelf Venture. At the 2011 census, Karratha had a population of 16,475. The town's name comes from the cattle station from which land was reclaimed for the development. Karratha in the local Aboriginal language means 'good country' or 'soft earth'. The town is the seat of government of the City of Karratha.
Karratha is composed of 9 main suburbs: Karratha Town Centre, Bulgarra, Pegs Creek, Millars Well, Nickol, Nickol West, Baynton, Baynton West, Tambrey and one industrial area, known as both the LIA (Light Industrial Area) and KIE (Karratha Industrial Estate). Karratha's housing development continues, with new villages and suburbs being built. Baynton West is currently being developed. Also a new suburb going east of Bulgarra with an indigenous name, Mulataga has received Council approval. There is current development of a second Industrial Estate: Gap Ridge which is west of town, past the cemetery.
NPFL (North Pilbara Football League) is an Australian Rules League with 7 teams: Karratha Kats, Karratha Falcons, Dampier Sharks, Roebourne Magpies, Wickham Wolves, Port Hedland Rovers and South Hedland Swans.
Pilbara Rugby League has 5 teams: Karratha Broncos, Karratha Roosters, Port Hedland Juniors, South Hedland Cougars and Wickham Wasps.
Soccer has 4 teams: Bulgarra Glory, Nickol, Dampier Red Dogs and Salt.
Karratha's economic base includes the iron ore operations of the Rio Tinto Group, sea-salt mining, ammonia export operations, North West Shelf Natural Gas Project, Australia's largest natural resource development and the newest Natural Gas Project called Pluto LNG which is situated adjacent the existing North West Shelf LNG facility. Karratha came into being in the late 1960s due to the tremendous growth of the iron-ore industry and the need for a new regional centre caused by a shortage of land in Dampier. Karratha has 4 major fast food stores such as KFC, Mc Donalds, Chicken Treat and Subway. Also grocery stores like Coles and Woolworths.
Karratha has the largest shopping centre in the Pilbara, Karratha City, which has major food and grocery retailers and department store chains. It was opened in 1986 as Karratha City and expanded in 2005. The centre also serves the neighbouring towns of Dampier, Wickham and Roebourne. There is also a smaller centre, Karratha Village, which has health services including pharmacy, medical and dental practices. There is only one hospital in Karratha.
Karratha has a hot semi-arid climate, that just avoids a desert climate classification. Temperatures are warm to hot all year round, with low rainfall, most of which falls in late summer due to the influence of tropical cyclones and the monsoon. Even winter temperatures rarely drop below 10 °C, while maximums stay in the mid to high 20 °C's. The record high temperature is 48.2 °C (118.8 °F), while the record low is 6.9 °C (44.4 °F). The highest monthly rainfall ever recorded was 348.8mm (13.7 in) in February 2011, due to the passage of Tropical Cyclone Carlos and several other monsoon lows passing over Karratha.
|Climate data for Karratha|
|Record high °C (°F)||48.2
|Average high °C (°F)||36.1
|Average low °C (°F)||26.8
|Record low °C (°F)||20.5
|Rainfall mm (inches)||49.3
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2mm)||4.3||5.5||4.1||1.8||3.1||3.2||2.1||1.2||0.5||0.3||0.4||1.5||28|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
A range of hotel, motel, B&B and caravan and RV accommodation is available for visitors. The town has restaurants, a tavern, two hotels and two night clubs. It also has a large shopping centre, an eight story apartment and shopping complex named Pelago. There are no public car wash locations and no laundromats.
Education is provided through four public primary schools, one independent public school and one private primary school, one public and one private high school, a TAFE centre with remote university facilities, and a library.
As well as its professional medical services the Nickol Bay Hospital which provides facilities and training.
Karratha Airport is the second busiest airport in Western Australia; it has three passenger airlines servicing the town with regular schedules: Qantas, Skywest Airlines and Virgin Australia. Qantas flies between Brisbane and Karratha on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; there is also direct flights to and from Melbourne on Mondays and direct flights to and from Sydney on Thursdays. The airport also serves as the hub of the Pilbara's light-aircraft and helicopter services, enabling contractors to access destinations offshore and in other parts of the region.
Annual Festivals & Events
Each year in August Pilbara Iron, Dampier Salt, Woodside Petroleum Limited (WEL), and other smaller companies sponsor one of the largest festivals in the North West, over two days. The name FeNaClNG Festival is derived from Fe (iron), NaCl (salt) and NG (natural gas).
Radio services available in Karratha:
- Karratha FM 93.7 - "Today`s Hot Country"  (country music format)
- ABC North West WA (6KP: 702 AM) - (Part of the ABC Local Radio Network).
- ABC News Radio (6PNN: 104.1 FM)
- ABC Radio National (6ABCRN: 100.9 FM) - Speciality talk and music.
- TAB Racing Radio - FM 101.7 
- Triple J (6JJJ: 103.3 FM) - Alternative music
- WAFM (106.5) - Top 40 Music
- The Spirit Network - Radio 6KA (1260 AM) - Classic Hits / Adult Contemporary Music format aimed at 35 years + audience.
Television services available:
- The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) - ABC1, ABC2/4 (Extension of ABC TV/Young children), ABC3 (Tween/Teen), ABC News 24 (digital channels)
- The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) - SBS One, SBS Two, SBS HD (digital channels)
- WIN Television, a dual affiliate of both the Nine Network and Network Ten.
- GWN7, an affiliate of the Seven Network.
The programming schedule is mainly the same as the Seven, Nine and Ten stations in Perth with variations for News bulletins, sport telecasts such as the Australian Football League and National Rugby League, children's and lifestyle programs and infomercials or paid programming. GWN7 produces a 30-minute regional news program each weeknight (broadcast from Bunbury) with a newsroom based in the town, covering the surrounding areas.
New digital television services from GWN7 and WIN are now broadcasting in Karratha. A new digital-only channel branded Ten West commenced transmission on Thursday 10 June 2010, it is a sole Network Ten affiliated channel.
The local newspaper is The Pilbara News (owned by Seven West Media, publisher of The West Australian). An independent local newspaper, which included classifieds, The Pilbara Echo, closed in April 2014. Newspapers from Perth including The West Australian and The Sunday Times are also available, as well as national newspapers such as The Australian and The Australian Financial Review.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Karratha". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
- Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of country town names". Retrieved 2007-06-08.
- "Karratha City Heart of the Pilbara". Karratha City. Retrieved 2014-12-11.
- "KARRATHA AERO". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- WA Consumer Health Services Directory: Nickol Bay Hospital Dept of Health, WA Government
- Qantas spreads its wings to KarrathaThe Australian, 5 October 2007
- Bower S Bristow delivers WA Business News, 13 November 2002
- URL link to Karratha FM 93.7 - Today's Hot Country" http://local.fm/karratha/announcers.html
- W.A. TAB Racing Radio list of frequncies page http://www.ozbet.com.au/UI/ContentUI/AllContent.aspx?contentCode=Racing Radio Information&contentMenuType=About Content Menu
- "Pilbara News". The West Australian Regional Newspapers. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
- "Thank you and farewell". Pilbara Echo. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
Media related to Karratha, Western Australia at Wikimedia Commons