Originally called 'Weeloona', the name is derived from a native word meaning 'Place of Winds' and the sound of the native curlew birds. Lawrence Wells explored the Wiluna region in 1892.
Prospectors Woodley, Wotten and Lennon discovered gold on St Patrick’s Day 1896, this discovery caused a gold rush which created the Wiluna township. Gold mining increased the town's population to over 9,000 by the middle of the 1930s. During World War II gold mining and the population was greatly reduced, by 1953 only 357 people remained and by 1963 the population was only 90. In recent years the town's population has stabilised at 300, including a large population of indigenous Australians. In 1981 gold mining made a resurgence which continues today. Agriculture is successful, producing quality cattle and sheep.
In 1906 Alfred Canning was commissioned to survey and build a stock route from Wiluna to Halls Creek. The Canning Stock Route took four years to complete and traverses 1,500 kms of desert. Being one of most isolated tracks on earth makes it a challenging 4WD experience.
Len Beadell was responsible for surveying the Gunbarrel Highway, which was completed in 1958. The highway was the first east-west road across the centre of Australia. Today it is a popular 4WD route which connects Western Australia to central Australia. Fuel stops are very few and far between because the road goes through isolated and unpopulated parts of the outback. Wiluna is at the edge of the desert and gateway to the Canning Stock Route and Gunbarrel Highway, 966 kms northeast of Perth.
Distance from Perth (km): 966
Area (sq km): 184,000
Length of Sealed Roads (km): 20
Length of Unsealed Roads (km): 1,833