Saturday, September 8, 2018

Broome - 1 Sep 2018

A glorious day here to start Spring -- clear blue skies and 26C.  My first task was to taxi in to the International terminal at the airport where Thrifty car rental have their depot.  I took possession of a near-new Pajero Sports, the largest car I have ever driven, and a diesel to boot.  It is a joy to drive once one gets used to its length and width .. And try to remember that the trafficators are on the right.

McDonalds was nearby so provided an easy breakfast.  I drove around Chinatown to get a feel for the central town, then headed to the town's 2 museums for a history lesson.  Both are well set out and a fund of information.  The town museum concentrates on the history of Broome's pearling industry with lots of photos and memorabilia on show.  At first it was the pearl-shell that was valued, used especially in Europe to make buttons and knife handles.  Once cheap plastics took over the pearls themselves became the focus.  The living and working conditions of the divers were pretty terrible, resulting in many deaths and crippling injuries.

The second museum is in the old convent of the St John of God Sisters, and it is a superb record of the nuns' work in Beagle Bay and Broome over many decades.  They were predominantly concerned for care and education of aboriginal children, but also worked in hospitals and with other Christian church agencies.  The photography and information banners at a this museum are as good as any I have ever seen.  As is common, no photography allowed at either place!

The Catholic cathedral was next door to the SSJG property, so I paid a visit there.  A couple of interesting aboriginal paintings, but no explanation of their meaning.  The icon of the church's patron, Out Lady Queen of Peace, is an interesting mix of artistic styles.

Broome must be the roundabout capital of Australia.  You hardly drive a few hundred metres without zigzagging through one.  It certainly keeps the speed of traffic down.  The streets allow next to no parking or stopping along the kerb.  You have to look for parking bays that are set in the wide footpath area.  Quite a problem if you need stop suddenly to consult a map or navaid.

After lunch and a nap I headed over the do a wander through the town's cemeteries.  A good source of history.  The Japanese cemetery is laid out neatly with crushed white granite.  There are over 700 graves there, mostly of pearl divers killed on the job.  There is a small Malay and Muslim plot too and a nicely gated Chinese cemetery.  Unfortunately there is no historical information attached to it.

Late afternoon now, and I headed to Cable Beach -- so named because the undersea telegraphic cable from Java came ashore there.  Parking was a search as hundreds of visitors crowded the area to watch the sun go down off Cable Beach.  A perfect evening for it, with clear blue sea and a cloudless sky.  I thought I'd see the famous camel ride at sunset -- but it was apparently along a different stretch of the beach.  I did the see camels returning home past my resort a littler later riderless.

As is my wont, I headed in to the local RSL for dinner -- only to find that it was closed for a private function.  So I found a nice seafood cafe nearby and settled for the local barramundi.  Across the road is the world's longest operating "picture gardens" . An open air cinema in garden setting showing the very latest releases.  From the number of cars parked nearby I think they had a reasonable patronage tonight.  

Something that strikes me is the large area of scrub that splits the town up into several distinct sections.  It was explained to me that they are tidal flats that fill up with extra high tides.  By giving the tidal water a place to spread out, they save the residential areas from flooding.  In summer they do have the disadvantage of breeding sandflies and bringing an occasional crocodile into the area.

Tomorrow I head off for Derby.  Today's photos can be found Here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good looking'll be wanting to upgrade when you get back to Brissie. Nice sunset over the ocean....Pat

Post a Comment