Shark Bay is one of only a handful of regions in the world to meet all four selection criteria for World Heritage Listing. Denham, located 832 kms north of Perth lays on the western side of Peron Peninsula. Monkey Mia is 24 kms to the north-east of Denham on the east side of the Peron Peninsula.
Shark Bay was the site of the first recorded landing by white man ~ Captain Dirk Hartog on Australian soil back on the 25th October 1616. Captain Hartog left an inscribed pewter plate nailed to a post at Cape Inscription on Dirk Hartog Island. A replica is now on display at the Shire of Shark Bay.
In 1699 William Dampier the English explorer sailed into Shark Bay and named the region Sharks Bay due to the large numbers of sharks that were sighted. 159 years later, Captain H.H. Denham charted the whole of Shark Bay and the town has been named after the Captain.
Monkey Mia is named after the schooner (Monkey) that Ommanney the surveyor sailed in 1834 to evaluate the potential of the region as a better settlement than Albany down south. Mia is the aboriginal name for meeting place
By the late 1870’s Shark Bay had become a popular pearling region with pearling operators coming from as far away as China. Pearling as a viable industry shut down by the start of the Depression and today Denham is more well known for fishing and tourism
Denham is a small but friendly town with attractions such as safe swimming beaches, jettys for fishing, boat launching facilities and St. Andrews Anglica church ( constructed of Shark Bay shellblock).
With tourism growing and the dolphins at Monkey Mia attracting travellers from the world over, accommodation is of a good quality and variety to suit all budgets.
Since the 1960’s the bottle nose dolphins have been interacting with humans. Today, CALM in conjunction with the Shark Bay Shire controls the feeding and interaction by having set feeding times so that the dolphins are not dependent on food handouts. Swimming with the dolphins is NOT permitted within an area set by CALM, known as Dolphin Beach.