USELESS LOOP is located in the southern Region of Shark Bay, Western Australia (and of course you knew we had stromolites over here in the West didn't you?).
Shark Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which also is home to the more famous *Monkey Mia. Useless Loop is a closed company town, servicing the Solar Salt Operation "Shark Bay Salt" which has been in operation since 1968 and whose salt is renowned as the purest in the world. Useless Loop has won awards in recent years due to its support of programmes to protect and relocate Australian endangered mammals including the Burrowing Bettong.
Aerial view of the town with salt crystallisastion ponds:
The first half of Useless Loop's unusual name was bestowed upon it by French explorer Henri-Louis de Sauices de Freycinet, brother of the more famous Louis de Freycinet. during the Baudin expedition to Australia. Henri-Louis dubbed the area "Havre Inutile" (Useless Habour"), because he believed the inviting harbour to be entirely blocked by a sandbar.
*Monkey Mia is a popular tourist destination located about 800km (498 miles) north of Perth, Western Australia. The reserve is 25k northeast of the town of Denham in the Shark Bay Marine Park and World Heritage Site. The main attraction is the daily feeding of the bottlenose dolphins that have been coming close to shore for more than forty years. Rangers from the Department of Environment and Conservation carefully supervise the process.
Mia is the Aboriginal term for home or shelter, while the Monkey part of the name is allegedly derived from a pearling boat called Monkey that anchored at the now Monkey Mia in the last 19th century, during the ays when pearling was an industry in the region.
In the November, 1990 the waters adjoining Monkey Mia were declared a Marine Park. In recent years, more attention has been given to the Aboriginal roots of the area and their knowledge of the local land. For visitors, the most visible evidence of this change of culture are the culture walks, where visitors are taught to respect the land.