Useless Loop, Western Australia

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Aerial view of the town's site with salt crystallisation ponds

Useless Loop is a town located on the Heirisson Prong on Denham Sound in the Southern Region of UNESCO World Heritage Site Shark Bay, Western Australia. The town of Denham is on the opposite shore of the sound and the more famous Monkey Mia near Denham. Useless Loop is a closed company town, with 70 employees and their families[1] servicing the Solar Salt Operation Shark Bay which was established in 1962 by Shark Bay Resources Ltd.[2] A joint venture was formed in 1973 with Mitsui & Co. Ltd which acquired full ownership in 2005, incorporated as Shark Bay Salt Pty Ltd.[3] In 2015, Useless Loop's salt exports were running at a rate of 1.4 million tonnes per annum.[1]

Useless Loop received the 2001 Banksia Award for Community Group Achievement and the 2001 Banksia Gold Award for its initiation of the Heirisson Prong Project in 1989 to protect and relocate the burrowing bettong, western barred bandicoot, and greater stick-nest rat, all endangered Australian mammals.[4]

The first half of Useless Loop's unusual name was bestowed upon it by French explorer Henri-Louis de Saulces de Freycinet, brother of the more famous Louis de Freycinet, during the Baudin expedition to Australia. Henri-Louis dubbed the area "Havre Inutile" ("Useless Harbour"), because he believed the inviting harbour to be entirely blocked by a sandbar.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b Bilton, Ross (7 March 2015). "Useless Loop 6537: Heart of the Nation". The Australian. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Shark Bay: World Heritage, Useless Loop". Denham & Monkey Mia Visitor Centre. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  3. ^ "History". Shark Bay Salt. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  4. ^ Kingsley, Danny (25 June 2002). "Endangered Animals Going Offshore". ABC. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  5. ^ "It goes by some very odd names [intriguing place names]". Australian Traveller. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  6. ^ Reynolds, Steve. "Nicolas Baudin's Scientific Expedition To The Terres Australes". Archived from the original on 15 October 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Western Australia. Environmental Protection Authority.(1999) Construction of additional crystalliser ponds, Useless Loop, Shark Bay, Shark Bay Salt Joint Venture : report and recommendations of the Environmental Protection Authority.Perth, W.A. : Environmental Protection Authority. Bulletin.Environmental Protection Authority, 1030-0120 ; 934

Coordinates: 26°07′50″S 113°25′00″E / 26.13056°S 113.41667°E / -26.13056; 113.41667