Friday, August 13, 2010

Week 33/52 - Slow down to Broome time on the beach

Hello everyone and welcome to Week 33 of my 52 week tour Downunder Western Australia.

After travelling all across the bottom two thirds of Western Australia for the last 32 weeks I am sure you are ready for some downtime, so our next destination, Broome is the perfect place - they don't call it "Broome time" for nothing. Time to sit back, unwind and relax on the beach under an beach umbrella before we start our tour of the Kimberley.

Broome is a long way from our last destination Nullagine - so we have to camp along the way at the De Grey River just north of Port Hedland - here is a photo of the bridge over the De Grey at sunset.

From Western Australia
And so to Broome. Often called the southern gateway to the magnificent wilderness region of the Kimberley, Broome and its famous 22 kilometre long beach, Cable Beach, is a magnet for both Australian and international visitors wanting to catch the winter sun and balmy nights.

Founded in the late 1880's as a pearling port, Broome has a multicultural population - Aboriginal, Koepanger, Malay, Japanese, Chinese and European cultures mingle here giving Broom a vibrant personality and soul all of its own.

But first the beach - A must do is to sit on the beach at sunset with a few friends and a few drinks......It is a great way to slip into "Broome time"...........

The lines you can see on the beach are from the tides - The tides here rise and fall around 10-11 metres every day. It is amazing to see. You can drive your vehicle onto the beach. You can also take a ride on a camel along the beach.

From Western Australia
Like they say - life is a beach - and this is Cable Beach......22 kilometres of stunning white sand......

From Life Images by Jill
Pearls have shaped the history of Broom since European settlement in the mid 1800's. These are opened pearl shells. There are many pearl shops in Broome where you can buy beautiful pearl jewellery, and also many artists and photographers galleries.

From Western Australia
Indigenous people lived in Broome for at least 27 thousand years prior to the arrival of Europeans. When pearl shell was first discovered by European settlers in 1800's, Mother of Pearl shell was in great demand in Europe and America for making buttons, inlays, etc. Diving initially was carried out by local indigenous people who free-dived. Occasionally natural pearls were found in the shells, and as the news spread divers were brought in from Japan, and deck hands and labourers from Malaysia. Phillipines and Koepang. Broome grew. The owners of the pearl fleets were Europeans and the shopkeepers were mostly Chinese.

In this photo you can see an old pearling lugger. In its heyday up to 400 people luggers lined the shores of Roebuck Bay.

From Western Australia
This is Streeters Jetty where the pearling luggers used to come to shore through the mangroves. When I was in Broome 25 years ago the luggers were still coming into this jetty. However times and boats, and the pearling industry has changed so I was dissapointed to see that the luggers don't come to this jetty now. However you can take a tour out to one of the pearl farms in the unpolluted water near Broome.

From Western Australia
Divers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries used cumbersome full diver suits, copper helmets and lead weighted boots to dive in much much deeper waters. It was dangerous work and many divers died during this period of history, and were never to return to their homelands. You can see some of their last resting places in the Japanese cemetery in Broome. It is a quite contemplative place to walk through.

From Western Australia
Here is Broome jetty. Lots of people come here to fish. The height of the jetty is to accommodate the height of the tides.

From Western Australia
This is the Sun Theatre - which may be the world' oldest picture garden - ie outside picture theatre. Constructed at the turn of the century on a site owned by the Yamsaki family, the double-fronted tin structures was initially an Asian emporium. In 1913, Master Pearler Ted Hunter purchased the building and commissioned architect Claude Hawkes, to design and construct a picture theatre that would seat up to 500 people. Sun Pictures officially opened on December 9th 1916 with a silent movie, English Racing Drama ‘Kissing Cup’ with supporting ‘Bachelor Brown’ Comic. The Theatre has had numerous owners, and in 1995 the building is placed on the State Register of Heritage Places. You can still see movies at the Sun Theatre today.

From Western Australia
And another photo of Cable Beach.........

From Western Australia

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Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this tour around Western Australia. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for taking the time to comment.