Broome

 

Famous for its pearl industry, and a stunning beach

ranked by Tripadvisor in the top twenty five of the world, this a town for hedonism. The salt marshes and mudflats host over 300 different species of birds

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Salt Marshes

There is something here for everyone. And when the there is a full moon then the “Staircase to the Moon” is a spectacular attraction

Went to mass this morning (Friday) 0630 at the smallest tin roof cathedral I’ve ever seen, and was surprised that communion wine is given by intinction (dipping the host). The priest afterwards explained to me that it is the custom in that diocese due to local outbreaks of leprosy. Suddenly the holy water in the stoup at the cathedral door didn’t seem so holy!

The altar backing in the Lady Chapel is  exquisitely  set in “mother of pearl” to reflect the local pearl diving industry.

Elsewhere in the church are numerous other examples of this type of inset.

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Our Lady Queen of Peace

Interesting  visit to the Broome Historical Museum where on display was the bellDSC01451 from the long lost ship the Roebuck captained by William Dampier (1651 -1715) The “Broad Arrow” clearly displaying its British Government ownership. The names live on in Roebuck Bay and the Dampier Penisular. Dampier explored much of Western Australia but his ship the Roebuck sprung a leak and sank near Ascension Island. Much of the work to discover its whereabouts was made by the West Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle.

Other exhibits concentrated on WWII and the Japanese bombings which were led by this person. Ironic considering that most of the pearling in Broome was carried out by Japanese personnel. There was severe loss of life especially among civilian evacuees from the Dutch West Indies who had just landed in Catalina Flying boats.DSC01464

The history pearl industry was well represented , but I was more interested in the violent history. Sad isn’t it?

It’s clear that Broome depends on tourism, but that happens mainly in the dry season, not now; the wet season. The photos above show a rather empty Broome, and while many of the holiday diversions  are closed (no camels on the beach), I found plenty to do and lots to see. The local people are Broome’s main asset being friendly and welcoming and always ready for a chat. The Saturday market was interesting with a number of stalls selling locally made clothes, jewellery and art. I bought a couple of pendants from a local lady who told me how she worked as a teacher, but now only filled in when asked and enjoyed life as a local freelance artist . Looking at my little hired car parked among all the four wheel drive monsters, I was reminded that this area is still bush and suffers extremes of weather. Still, none of that as yet other than a few heavy showers. Can you imagine your local Fire Service advertising itself as does the Broome DFES:

DFES coordinates the response to a wide range of emergencies including fire, cyclones, storms, floods, road crash, hazardous material spills, earthquakes and tsunami as well as undertaking search and rescue operations on land and water.

Earthquakes and tsunami!

Yesterday I spent my lunch hour on the city beach, that is the beach on the opposite of the peninsular to Cable Beach. Wow, what a prize this place is. Like most publicly owned Aussie beaches, it is immaculate. Litter bins, picnic benches, and free parking, everywhere. Perfect for the family, except I had the place to myself. The Indian Ocean stretches out as Roebuck Bay in the most exquisite turquoise I have ever seen. The perfect sand, and the gentle gradient of the beach into the water makes for the ideal holiday environment. Temperature then was 35C so perhaps too fierce for my Anglo Saxon skin!

Tomorrow I start the journey home to the UK sojourning for a few days first in Busselton. Then the flight back from Perth via Hong Kong to Heathrow.

I’ve really enjoyed it all so far, but would I do it all again ?  Well not this year anyway.

 

©John Walters 

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4 thoughts on “Broome

  1. Good to see your painful knee isn’t stopping you getting around – mind you the warm sun usually eases athritis!Could do with some of that warmth as it’s chilly here and when it’s not chilly it’s overcast and wet! I feel a warm holiday coming on!
    Australia really is such an amazing place – so much to see and do – and all in the sunshine!

    Like

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