Travel guide and general information for the Kimberley Region of WA,
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Broome is a pearling and tourist town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, 2,200 km (1,400 mi) north of Perth. The permanent population is estimated at 14,436, growing to over 45,000 per month during the tourist season. Broome International Airport provides transport to several domestic destinations.
Broome is situated on the traditional lands of the Yawuru people.
It is often mistakenly thought that the first European to visit Broome was William Dampier in 1688, but he only visited the north of what was later named the Dampier Peninsula. In 1699 he explored the coast from Shark Bay to La Grange Bay, from where he headed north leaving the Australian coast. Many of the coastal features of the area were later named for him. In 1879, Charles Harper suggested that the pearling industry could be served by a port closer to the pearling grounds and that Roebuck Bay would be suitable. In 1883, John Forrest chose the site for the town, and it was named after Sir Frederick Broome, the Governor of Western Australia from 1883 to 1889.
In 1889, a telegraph undersea cable was laid from Broome to Singapore, connecting to England. Hence the name Cable Beach given to the landfall site.
The town has an interesting history based around the exploits of the men and women who developed the pearling industry, starting with the harvesting of oysters for mother of pearl in the 1880s to the current major cultured pearl farming enterprises. The riches from the pearl beds did not come cheaply, and the town's Japanese cemetery is the resting place of 919 Japanese divers who lost their lives working in the industry. Many more were lost at sea, and the exact number of deaths is unknown. The Japanese were only one of the major ethnic groups who flocked to Broome to work on the luggers or the shore based activities supporting the harvesting of oysters from the waters around Broome. They were specialist divers and, despite being considered enemies, became an indispensable part of the industry until World War II.
Each year Broome celebrates this fusion of different cultures in an annual cultural festival called Shinju Matsuri (Japanese for festival of the pearl) which celebrates the Asian influenced culture brought here by the pearling industry.
Broome was attacked at least four times by Japanese aircraft during the Second World War, and the worst attack was the 3 March 1942 air raid in which at least 88 people (mostly civilians) were killed.
In 1950, Broome was the setting for Arthur Upfield novel "The Widows of Broome", 12th novel featuring Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte ('Bony')
The West Australian mining boom of the 1960s, as well as the growth of the tourism industry, also helped Broome develop and diversify. Broome is one of the fastest growing towns in Australia.
At Gantheaume Point and 30 m (98 ft) out to sea are dinosaur footprints dated as Early Cretaceous in age (approximately 130 million years ago). The tracks can be seen only during very low tide. Plant fossils are also preserved extensively in the Broome Sandstone at Gantheaume Point and in coastal exposures further north.
Address: 1 Hamersley St, Broome WA 6725
Phone:(08) 9195 2200
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If you are planning to undertake this trip YOU MUST SEEK OUT other authoritative advice and information - eg visitor centres
Outback travel can be a very exciting adventure but it also can be very hazardous especially off road and in remote and isolated areas.
Your Outback trip should only be undertaken after lengthy and careful planning, plus having plenty of water, fuel, food, working communication devices etc
Understand the distances between fuel stops by ringing ahead and checking with the roadhouses, cattle stations and visitor centres - that what you want is at the next stop.
Understand what is the best time of year to travel and what is not, understand your vehicle and its capabilities and how to repair it plus have spare tyres (Min 2 extra)
The owners of this website shall not be held responsible for any damage, injury or death that you may experience during any trip on or off the roads of the Kimberley
You are responsible for your own actions.