Located in Western Australia’s Shire of Roebourne, Wickham is a fascinating historic town boasting pristine sandy beaches and excellent fishing spots. The town was named after the captain of the ‘HMS Beagle’, John C. Wickham, who surveyed the North West Coast in 1840. Wickham has since become a prominent mining town with a population in excess of 1,600 people. Wickham was established in 1970 by Cliffs Robe River Iron Associates with the aim of creating a processing plant for the iron ore mined at nearby Pannawonica, a port at Cape Lambert from which to ship the produce and a town to house the associated employees.

Aboriginal History

In the late 1960s, many Torres Strait Islanders made the long journey to the Wickham area to work as fettlers, building railway lines between remote mines in the desert and ports such as Port Hedland. Over the years, the Torres Strait Islanders created a unique community, but as demand for fettlers decreased, the community slowly dispersed and many eventually returned to the Torres Strait. Today, only a few families remain and maintain the Torres Strait Island traditions.

Tom Saylor was one of the first Torres Straight Island settlers. He and his son Thomas returned to the islands after over 25 years to reconnect with their Torres Strait heritage. A short documentary film, made by Kelrick Martin in 2006, tells the tale of Tom and Thomas, and some of Tom’s lino cut artworks can be seen at the Nickol Bay Hospital.


  • Visit the beautiful Boat Beach and the Port Walcott Yacht Club, situated near the town (access is off Walcott Drive) for excellent swimming and snorkelling. A boat ramp also offers fisherman the opportunity to get out in the water and try their luck.
  • Enjoy fine views of the town and surrounding region from Water Tank Hill lookout (off Walcott Drive). At sunset this stop provides a view like no other.
  • Wickham Drive is home to one of Robe River’s Giant Haul Pac and Locomotive  –  both of which are great photo opportunities.
  • Marvel at the huge 2.7 kilometre open sea wharf at Cape Lambert. One of the highest and longest open-ocean wharves in Australia. The wharf is capable of loading four major iron ore carriers at the same time. The Roebourne Visitor Centre’s Resource Tour visits the Rio Tinto Cape Lambert operations and port facilities, as well as the towns of Roebourne and Cossack. Visit our Tours page for more details.
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