The title “World’s most dangerous town” might make you think of a suspenseful movie setting or a thrilling adventure. But hold on, this isn’t your typical abandoned town waiting for curious explorers. Nope, this one’s been wiped off the map, quite literally, and for a darn good reason.
Picture this: the UK’s most dangerous town has around 139.6 crimes per 1,000 people. That’s pretty intense, right? Well, brace yourself because just taking a breath in the air of this deserted Aussie settlement could be lethal. Talk about a serious danger zone!
They’ve even made it a punishable offense to step foot in this ghost town. I mean, who’d want to, right? Australian authorities went to extremes, erasing Wittenoom from the maps to keep thrill-seeking tourists at bay.
Despite the “hands-off” warning, some adventurous souls labeled it a ‘bucket-list’ destination. I get it; humans always seem to want what they can’t have. But truth be told, the town’s last resident packed up and left in May, making way for bulldozers set to wipe the place off the face of the Earth.
Can you believe this place was once a bustling town with over 800 souls calling it home? Fast forward to 2015, and only six people remained. And in the last year, there was just one resident left, an 80-year-old named Lorraine Thomas.
Now, here’s the kicker: why all the fuss about this seemingly mundane speck on the map? Well, it’s because this place, once a thriving mining town in the Pilbara region, is sitting right smack in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest contaminated site. Yes, you heard that right, contaminated!
Back in the 1930s, Wittenoom was a hot spot for blue asbestos. Thousands hustled there for work in the mines, turning it into a typical town over the decades. But here’s the grim reality: the mining life was slowly killing off the locals.
The mines shut down in ’96 due to money issues, but the toll it took on human lives far outweighed any profit. More than 2,000 workers and residents fell victim to breathing in those deadly blue asbestos fibers.
Now, even today, the air there could send shivers down your spine, toxic as ever. The government had to step in, demolishing buildings, sealing off waste dumps, and cutting off power to keep people away.
Cleaning up the mess would’ve cost millions back in the day, and now, it’s even pricier. The land remains a danger zone due to the constant risk of asbestosis. Despite efforts to tidy up, a whopping three million tons of asbestos leftovers are still hanging around.
And guess what? Some folks just can’t resist the forbidden fruit. Daredevil tourists keep sneaking in, prompting calls from former residents and officials to amp up security measures.
Robin Chapple, a former Wittenoom resident and retired Western Australia Greens MP, made it clear: “If you keep on covering something up long enough, everybody will want to go and see it.” He urged officials to take responsibility and clean up the hazardous mess they allowed to flourish.
So, there you have it: a cautionary tale of a once-thriving town turned deadly. A reminder that sometimes, the most alluring places can also be the most perilous ones.