Bark canoe and mangrove raft

Aboriginal watercraft

The Saltwater people of the Kimberly made this canoe, from locally sourced bark. It was suited to the calmer waters of the north Kimberley inlets and bays, whereas the more stable raft was adapted to navigate the treacherous tidal currents of King Sound. This canoe was rescued from a beach near Kalumburu Mission and donated to Wharfinger House Museum – the closest museum at that time. This is a galwa or biyalbiyal raft made by the tide-riders of King Sound – the Jawi and Bardi people. Many came to live in Karmulinunga Community – a town reserve on the edge of the marsh, but they never forgot the blue waters of their home country.

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Wharfinger House Museum

Muddy waters

Situated on the edge of the Derby marsh, surrounded by the iconic boab trees of this region, stands the Wharfinger House Museum. Built in the 1920s, it is situated in the former home of the manager of...


3 Elder Street
Derby WA 6728

Open Hours

Accessible by collecting the key from the Derby Visitor Centre at 30 Loch St

More from the Wharfinger House Museum

Connecting the Kimberley to Australia

Hands on! This is one of the most popular items on display. Many may have forgotten that Derby, not Broome, was the regional administrative centre for the West Kimberley, including host to the...

Innovator and leader

One of the museum’s most dedicated supporters is Sam Lovell OA—songman, drover, croc hunter, stockman, saddler, gardener, road maker, tour guide and passionate resident of Derby and the West Kimberley...

While you're in the area

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