Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Broome's Laid-Back Charm

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Broome's Laid-Back Charm

Article excerpt


THERE is so much more to Broome than its world-famous Cable Beach.

You won't hear any argument that its white sand and turquoise waters are stunning but the town itself is my favourite. It manages to remain exotic and shimmering but as laid-back as an old thong and an Esky at the same time.

It is a tourist magnet with homely cafes and desirable outdoor restaurants, and a frontier town where locals boast about the number of snakes they have killed and how they turned their old Toyota into a camper and do you want a beer while they show you how they did it?

Broome and the surrounding Kimberley region of Western Australia are on so many bucket lists and a visit has never been easier with direct flights to Broome from every mainland capital city apart from Adelaide.

But you wouldn't fly all that way just to lie on Cable Beach and anyone who doesn't stray far from the up-market resorts behind the beach would never know what they are missing. Things like this ...


To get the most out of Broome you have to appreciate its history. A must read is John Bailey's The White Divers of Broome, the amazing tale of the failed and fatal experiment over 100 years ago to replace cheap but superb Asian divers on the fleet of pearling luggers with white men in copper helmets and diving suits.

It is a window into a time when Broome was, as the author describes it, "an Asian wild west". Its indigenous history clashed with a place of enormous wealth built on the price of mother-of-pearl, with the town's stores selling French champagne and oranges shipped from Italy.

On Dampier Terrace, where a century ago about 400 pearling luggers would come ashore, is the pearling museum alongside two restored luggers where you can imagine the hardship of living on board.

Tucked away in Barker St, the Old Convent campus tells the story of the nine Sisters of St John of God, who arrived from Ireland in 1907 to go on and minister to the Aboriginal women and children. …

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