Cervantes is a town in Western Australia. It was named after a ship that was wrecked nearby. The ship, in turn, was named after Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote. There is little industry in the town beyond fishing. The pinnacles are nearby in Nambung National Park which makes for a small industry from tourism. Lake Thetis is a saline lake located nearby which contains stromatolites.
Like Jurien, which lies to the north, it has that temporary and transient feel of a place which hasn’t quite settled itself in. While it has more permanent and gracious holiday homes than Jurien there are still many houses built of fibro and permalum to cater for enthusiastic fishermen. The town’s fishing fleet nearly doubles in the rock lobster season. Like all of the coast on the Central West the town is surrounded by spectacular displays of wildflowers in the spring. The Nambung National Park is particularly impressive.
Cervantes is one of Western Australia’s newest towns. It was as recently as 1962 that the government removed 505 hectares from the northwest corner of the Nambung National Park to establish a town.
Cervantes takes its name from an American whaling ship which was wrecked off the coast in 1844. Apparently the Cervantes was anchored off Thirsty Point, the promontory which lies to the west of the town and separates Nambung Bay (to the south) from Ronsard Bay in the north, when a gale blew up and the ship was blown ashore on an island to the south of the point. The ship was not badly damaged but due to difficulty of repairs all the contents were sold on the site. The island was named Cervantes and, in 1963, it was given to the small township which had sprung up on the mainland.