Still More Broome.
Parking, Broome Style
Many thanks to our good friends Greg and Janet Le Page who photographed this Toyota Landcruiser 'Troopy'
- which they found abandoned - and provided the idea for the heading. Sorry Broome drivers, just a joke.
The Naming Of Broome
Broome was named after a Governor of Western Australia, Sir Frederick Napier Broome, who is pictured right.
Did they never smile in those days? Or perhaps old Fred thought he had nothing to smile about. You see, when he first learned that the town had been named in his honour he was tickled pink. (Can you be tickled pink in black and white?) When he later learned that Broome was a shanty town with hardly any residents his joy turned to horror.
Sir Fred wrote to all his influential mates and demanded that the town be renamed. He was right out of luck and nobody backed him. Had he been alive today he would probably be as proud as a peacock to have such a progressive and popular resort town named after him.
In Broome is the famous Cable Beach which was so named because the first telegraph line to be laid between Australia and what is now Indonesia left the coast at Cable Beach. See, Fred, more of which to be proud.
Of course, if he'd seen some of the sights that we've seen on Cable Beach he might shudder in horror. Equally, if no-one was looking, he might race over there and get his kit off.
Long before the Port of Broome's deep water jetty was established the pearling luggers would dock at Streeter's Jetty near the Chinatown section of the town. Today the little jetty is almost closed in by mangroves though there is still a clear channel to the sea. The wooden walkway of the jetty left a lot to be desired, too. Pam and I walked separately in case our combined weight should be too much for it. Not, of course, that either Pam or myself is substantially overweight. Stop laughing!
Streeter's Jetty, upstaged by a bright red garbage bin. But what's that on the far end of the jetty?
Two empty casks of Renmano Premium Chardonnay, a hat and a pair of thongs (flip-flops in the U.K.).
There being no sign of a body we lost interest and went to the nearest pub.
The Japanese And Chinese Cemeteries
Many of the departed in the Japanese Cemetery lost their lives either in cyclones or due to the bends after they surfaced too quickly after diving for mother of pearl. Many divers lived in constant pain caused by the bends, the pain only receding when they returned to deep water.
All the headstones in the Japanese Cemetery faced west, whereas all the headstones in the Chinese Cemetery faced east. In both cemeteries the inscriptions were mostly in the native language of the deceased so not very enlightening to us.
In Pam's journal for June 2008 she mentions that we toured the Pioneer Cemetery in Derby where we found a memorial to one Patrick Mary Joseph Butler. If he got sick of dragging that name around with him, what must this poor Chinese have had to contend with? (On the right of the headstone pictured left.)
You'd live in dread of somebody - especially the police - asking for your name.
A Modification To Our Plan
We have modified our plan to take out Karratha and insert the three inland Pilbarra
iron ore mining towns of Newman, Tom Price and Paraburdoo (light blue arrows).
A Sundowner On Cable Beach
Our good friends Cindy and David Bell arrived at our caravan park in Broome for a few days in company with their friends, John and Margaret. (Cindy and I worked for the same company for many years, she in Sydney and I in Perth.) Cindy and David had met John and Margaret while travelling and struck up a strong friendship, as happens. On their first afternoon we all went down to Cable Beach to watch the sun set.
As the shadows grew long, we all relaxed with drinkies on Cable Beach.
L to R: Margaret and John, Cindy and David, Pam and . . . a glass of red.
Unfortunately our friends only stayed in Broome for four days so all too soon it was sad farewell time - the downside of meeting lovely people. However, before they left we all met up for a beautiful meal at a Thai restaurant . . .
L to R: David, Cindy, John, Margaret, Peter and Pam. The evening before our friends departed
we gathered to support our favourite cause, the Australian wine industry.
The Sun Princess calls at Broome
The Port of Broome was host to the giant cruise ship, the Sun Princess. She completely dwarfed Broome's little jetty.
We went to see the Sun Princess initially believing that she was the Oriana - but what's in a name. There was a procession of coaches running a shuttle service between the liner and various tourist attractions, including the town of Broome itself. On the seaward side of the ship the crew appeared to be carrying out a lifeboat drill as an orange and white lifeboat appeared from behind the bow from time to time.
We received an email from a kind lady, Libby Miller, of Adelaide. In her journal entry for 24th June Pam had asked,
What is a negative tide?
and Libby informs us that a negative tide height indicates the water level will be below the average low water line. Thanks, Libby, now it makes sense. And thanks for the invitation to meet you and your hubbie for a barbecue next time we're in Adelaide.
We spent five lovely weeks in Broome during which time we totally revised our earlier poor opinion of the town. It has changed quite drastically since our previous visit; building development is proceeding unabated. If we ever return, I doubt if we'll recognise the place.
Broome is a wonderful holiday destination during the dry season, especially for those that love the sun and the beach. However, there is not a great deal of historical interest to occupy those not besotted with the beach except the story of the pearl industry, and what a story that is! From the slavery, danger, high mortallity and intense hardship of the early years right through to the safe oyster 'seeding' techniques of today. You can visit the restored pearl luggers on display in Chinatown, the Willie Creek Pearl Farm and the Broome Museum, all rich sources of knowledge on the history of pearling.
The day came and we hitched up and hit the road once more, heading 613 kilometres south-west to Port Hedland, a town about which we have not heard a good word!
We decided to break the journey overnight at a roadhouse called Sandfire. It was well named as it turned out; the small caravan park is all sand and the roadhouse caught fire and burned down some time ago. The nearest fire engine would be two or three hours away. The roadhouse hasn't been rebuilt yet, however they are still in business, selling fuel from an office in a temporary transportable building.
The caravan park was a bit of a nightmare. We were told to go and find ourselves a site. There were several vacant sites but the reason they were empty was that the power outlets didn't work. Pam wandered around plugging in her hair dryer, trying to find a socket with power. Eventually we parked lengthways across the rear of other campers from where we were able to connect to both power and water.
There was a magnificent peacock strutting around the park making a noise like a truck horn. There were also loose geese which caused us to keep a wary eye on where we stepped. Just through a fence was a large bull. Somebody said there was also a camel there. Overhead was a squadron of quarreling white cockatoos making a deafening noise with their loud, coarse screeching. At least it was quiet at night though the peacock occationally honked. Or it might have been a passing truck.
One night was quite enough. The following morning we hit the highway to Port Hedland. Shortly before reaching Hedland we passed a strange sight . . .
All the termite mounds wore hard hats
How did this come about, I wonder? Perhaps somebody adorned one, then somebody else liked the idea and put a hard hat on an adjacent mound, and so on. However it started, there's about twenty mounds wearing hard hats now. I wonder what the termites think about all this?
What do you say to moving to a fresh page before we start on Port Hedland? Good idea? Okay then.
Footnote: This re-working of Page 77 was completed on 7th July 2013. It conforms to HTML5 and CSS level 3.