Carnarvan is the next centre travelling south after Exmouth and Coral Bay, and again also after another long drive. Carnarvan is also the most western major centre in Australia, and what a nice commercial centre it is. Carnarvan is an ‘oasis’ town with the production of many agricultural products in the immediate area.
The town was founded in 1883, initially as a port and supply centre for the surrounding region, and is the administrative centre for the Shire of Carnarvon, the town site was officially gazetted on 4 June 1891. It was named after Henry Herbert, 4th Earl of Carnarvon, Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies.
During the 1960s, NASA set up a tracking station nearby to support the Gemini and Apollo space program. The tracking station was closed in the mid 1970s. Only the foundations of what was an historical site remain. See also OTC Satellite Earth Station Carnarvon.
Carnarvan is also the closest major centre to that area in the Indian Ocean where the HMAS Sydney 11 was sunk with the total loss of life in 1942. The Memorial Avenue in Carnarvan is a worthy acknowledgement to this awful tragedy.