Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Day 16 – Broome

We had an early start and travelled the 400km to Broome arriving just before midday.  There isn’t much to tell about the drive.  Mostly long straights with your usual scrub and termite mounds.  I’d done my research and identified there was little point in attempting to freedom camp anywhere around Broome.  The local shire forbids it and there are rangers about to enforce the rules.  There are a number of holiday camping grounds in Broome and I’d selected the one furthest away from the ocean.  The sole reason for doing this was price…. Yes, it was the cheapest.  On arrival I paid for two nights on an unpowered site.  That won’t be an issue when our trailer is completed as I have two solar panels to recharge the trailer battery.  The camping ground was a step above The Gap at Alice Springs,  The showers and toilets were cleaner and the washing machines worked.  there was even a swimming pool.

Broome is the tropical tourist hub of North-West Australia with a permanent population of approximately 13,000.   May to August is the cool season with average temperatures of 36-38 degC.  Outside this the temperatures ranges between 41-45.

Pearling started here in the 1880’s.  In those early years local aborigines were enslaved and forced to diver for pearls.  Subsequently Javanese, Asians and Pacific Islanders were employed.  Japanese were particularly sought after.   Pearl diving is quite hazardous and Broome cemetery contains the graves of 919 Japanese divers.

Today all of Broome’s pearls are grown in cultured pearl farms although many have closed in the last couple of decades.  Mining and tourism are now Broome’s main source of income.  If you carefully study the locals you can see the racial mix of those early inhabitants. 

During WW2 Broome was repeatedly attacked by Japanese aircraft based in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).

Our arrival coincided with the regular monthly Saturday open market so we went to have a look.  We also wandered around Chinatown and stopped to photograph the Sun Picture Garden.

The Saturday Market







The Sun Picture Garden is the oldest operating picture garden in the world.


They were showing “Mamma Mia” which didn’t particularly interest me so I opted not to have a closer look at the premises.

However I was interested in the bronze statues commemorating the pearling industry.


The type of building construction was also interesting.  Most building were clad in horizontal sheets of corrugated iron.  Vertical supports were very strong and anchored deeply.  This is typhoon country where strong winds and torrential rain can reek havoc.


Jenny said...

Interesting, I didn't know about the pearl industry in Broome, only about the mining. Did you purchase some beautiful pearls to take home to Jan?

Tom and Jan said...

Dear Jenny,

I'm sure Robin would agree there is little point on detracting from my wife's beauty by placing colourful baubles and trinkets on her! Besides; they might get misplaced when she is gardening or washing the car. :-)