Pannawonica takes its name from nearby Pannawonica Hill, or the “hill that came from the sea”.
Pannawonica is a ‘closed town’, built in 1970 to house the employees of Robe River Iron. Visitors are welcome to visit Pannawonica for supplies and to refuel, and facilities include a supermarket, post-office and pub.
The traditional story is that Pannawonica Hill was once an island over which two local groups were in dispute, until a sea spirit decided to resolve the dispute by moving the hill inland. As the hill was dragged over the land it left a deep indentation which became the Robe River.
The area around Pannawonica area is part of a 2500 million year old formation containing the Hamersley Group of rocks, formed by chemical sedimentation of minerals in an ocean environment.
Pannawonica is situated 47 kilometres off the North West Coastal Highway, between the Onslow turnoff and Fortescue Roadhouse.
On your way to Pannawonica, keep an eye out for the “Boot Tree” – it’s something of a tradition that when people leave Pannawonica permanently, they leave their boots behind, hanging from the branches of this tree. Along the Robe River, shaded swimming holes with picnic areas are a haven for locals.
Each September the town comes to life with the annual Pannawonica Rodeo/Robe River Rodeo.
Pannawonica is also the western gateway to Millstream Chichester National Park, approximately 1.5 hours from Pannawonica along the unsealed Millstream -Yarraloola road. If travelling this road, it is recommended that you notify the Pannawonica Police or the Millstream Ranger of your intention to travel, and please note that the road is not suited to busses, caravans, trailers or two wheel drive vehicles.