Named for a mineral deposit that turned out to be jasper, Marble Bar has long been a byword for scorching temperatures. The Guinness Book of Records still shows that in 1924 Marble Bar recorded 160 days with a temperature in excess of 100°F (37°C). It's a record that still stands 90 years later. The Bureau of Meteorology shows that summer daily averages are 41°C or above every day with temperatures climbing as high as 48°C. If you've spent any time there you know that it gets seriously hot.
Marble Bar is also famous for it's iconic bush pub - The Ironclad Hotel which has graced as many postcards and tourist brochures as the Birdsville Hotel or Young and Jacksons in Melbourne.
Marble Bar has a resident population of around 500 but in 1891 more than ten times that number swarmed into the Pilbara town hoping to dig up the 'big one'. Gold had been discovered in 1890 and over time the Little Hero Nugget (9.5kg), Bobby Dazzler Nugget (13.8kg) and General Gordon Nugget (10.5kg) had been unearthed resulting in an inundation of prospectors to Marble Bar. Although the region gave up some spectacular nuggets it never held the quantities of places like Kalgoorlie or Ballarat. The gold rush was short-lived and the oppressive climate and solace landscape quickly drove the prospectors onto more promising fields.
The boom had lasted long enough to endow Marble Bar with a set of stunning Government Offices made from locally quarried stone and corrugated iron. The Mining Register for the Pilbara is still located in these offices and people seeking a 'Miners Right' must travel to the remote township in order to fill out the application.
33km from the Marble Bar townsite is Corrunna Downs Station with it's heritage listed homestead constructed with bricks made from ant hills. Termite mounds and ant hills have terrific compaction properties and tennis courts and clay-style ovens were often made using this easily sourced material. Corrunna Dows is also well known for it's secret airbase - twin runways built during World War 2 to hide Liberator and Wellington Bombers who engaged on long range missions into South Asia. Japanese bombing parties searched for the base may times during the war but failed to locate it. In 1915 Corrunna Downs was described as 'better equipped than any other station in the north west'. Viewing the homestead and old air base can be arranged by contacting the station direct.
Locals escape the heat by cooling off in two local rock pools on the Coongan River - The Marble Bar Pool and Chinaman's Pool, named for the Chinese market gardeners who supplied many goldfields towns with fresh vegetables.
The Comet Goldmine opened in 1936 finally closing in 1955. It now serves as a tourist centre and museum. The impressive 75 metre high smoke stack is claimed to be the tallest in the southern hemisphere.
The Marble Bar region is a 4WD paradise. Thousands of acres of spinifex covered red dirt and rugged rock with not a soul in sight. Be warned the terrain around Marble Bar is also a tyre destroying virtuoso.
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