Marble Bar the Hottest Town in Australia

In a country that has a reputation for being one of the hottest on Earth, it takes a lot to be considered the hottest town in Australia, but Marble Bar, a small mining town in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, certainly deserves that accolade.

Officially, the town set a world record for the most number of consecutive days with a maximum temperature above 37.8 Centigrade, which is 100 on the Fahrenheit scale.

Weather records shat between 31 October, 1923 and 7 April, 1924, a period of 160 days, the maximum temperature remained above the old 100 degree mark, as it was measured then, long before Australia adopted the decimal system.

Marble Bar is not just the name of the town, but a huge Jasper formation that was at first mistaken for marble, hence its name. Prospector Francis Jenkins discovered alluvial gold at Marble Bar in 1891 and in the 1930s there was another Marble Bar gold rush. At its peak the town had a population of about 5,000 but only 350 remain in the town these days.

Although it is a small town, it does have some very good heritage buildings, which were constructed out of local sandstone, and the town also has a well known pub called the Ironclad Hotel which was built out of corrugated iron and which has now been listed as a heritage building.

Another place of interest is the Comet Gold Mine which is now a museum with displays of rocks, minerals and local gemstones. It also has the highest smoke stack in the southern hemisphere and underground mine tours take place daily.

The area around Marble Bar contains some of the world’s oldest rocks, in fact, minerals within the rocks have been dated as being about four and a half billion years old, which does make them the oldest rocks yet found.

At a place not far from Marble Bar, which is jokingly called the North Pole because of the heat, there is fossilised evidence of the world’s first living organisms, called stromatolites, which were the first known living organisms to produce oxygen and thus were partly responsible for the Earth being able to sustain life; although this process did take many millions of years before the world did become habitable for more complex organisms.

Living stromatolites can still be seen today in Shark Bay, Western Australia, where the hot weather and extremely saline water provide the atrocious conditions they need to survive.
Many people believe that the climate at Marble Bar is also atrocious, but the residents are hardy and tough, and the town itself is a true gem.

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