Named after the nearby ‘Pirraburdoo’ lease (it was never an actual pastoral station), it is said that the name of the town refers to the white cockatoos which live in the area and which were a ready food supply for the local Aborigines. According to some experts ‘piru’ means meat and ‘pardu’ means feathers.
Iron ore from the huge open cut mine (which produces 17 million tonnes per annum) is crushed and screened at Paraburdoo before being railed to Tom Price and onto the port at Dampier where it is blended with ore from Tom Price. The journey from Paraburdoo to Mount Tom Price is difficult and six engines are used to pull the train up a continuously adverse 300 metre gradient. A typical train stretches over 2 km and has 200 cars carrying a total weight of 25 000 tonnes.
Paraburdoo was developed in the early 1970s to support Hamersley Iron’s local iron ore mining operations, and gazetted as a town in 1972. Most of the town’s residents are employed by Hamersley Iron’s mining operation and the supporting services. The airport for the region is situated 8 km from the town.