A short history of Brome:
European explorers discovered the area in the late 1600’s but did not consider the land of value to establish a colony.
Through a series of events it was discovered late in the 1800’s that the largest naturally producing pearl shells were locally found off the coast in this area of Western Australia and so lead to the development of the pearling industry.
1883 The state government acknowledged the large amount of pearl shell being exported from the locality and officially recognised the townsite of Broome, named by Sir John Forrest after Governor of Australia Sir Frederick Broome.
1889 An underwater telegraph cable was laid from Singapore to Australia. The site where the cable rose out of the water was named after it, Cable Beach, which was only a short distance from the Broome townsite.
Specialist divers and pearl luggers came from all around the world, the nationalities in prominence included Japanese, Europeans and Manilans (Filipinos).
Thursday 9th 2014
I haven’t been sleeping so well so I didn’t take a walk on the beach today. When Ma and I were ready today we caught a bus in to town. This time we chose to have our morning coffee at a cute cafe called Ra Ra’s and shared a slice of rosemary shortbread with it. We sat on cushions under Chakra flags and enjoyed the coolness before we started in the heat of the Kimberley.
Ma wanted to walk to the Museum today. She was feeling energetic since our big walk the day before. On the other hand I was feeling somewhat bad at having made her walk so much, so was pleased at her insistence today, the distance looked relatively decent to me but I didn’t mind. This walk was again close to the 5km mark and halfway there Ma agreed to call it even, neither of us would complain about the others walking ideas anymore.
The museum was awesome and very insightful. The history of Broome and the pearling industry was eye-opening. As someone who loves supporting equality and embracing other cultures, I am really interested in the oppressive settlers and earlier generations of Australia.
Did you know? European pearling masters wouldn’t send their own sons diving for pearl shells due to the disabilities and injuries they would incur, yet they had no qualms with allowing the Indigenous Australians or ‘fatalistic Asians’ to dive.
Did you know? European pearling masters would abduct local Indigenous people and hold them captive on rural sites slightly inland to sell to other masters, then force them to dive from first light to after sun down. When divers become too ill to dive they were discarded on isolated beaches to try to survive alone.
Pearl shells were mostly sold to make buttons in to, but could also be used for decorative purposes and as part of womens jewellery and adornments. Nowadays pearl shells are crushed to create the pearl effect in car paint, the shimmer in women’s make-up and (I think) something to do with sun cream.
Broome was bombed in World War 2 by the Japanese, although I cannot recall why.
At the museum we saw the largest domestic shell collection and mum was swooped by a magpie.
Some time later we found ourselves back at Cable Beach, dodging waves while our bathers filled with sand.. With that and the jellyfish everywhere it wasn’t long before we were actually back by the pool and relaxing until it was time to get ready for the Hen’s party.
Ry picked us up at 5.30pm, took us on a tour through Cable Beach Estate to pick up some of our old boarding school friends who lived locally. The party was at the Mangrove Hotel overlooking Roebuck Bay. The setting was wonderful and the evening was the perfect temperature. It was our first chance to catch up with Sho, the Bride-To-Be, since we arrived in Broome. She was looking so content and it was great to see her and catch with her.
Sho has a very large family and a lot of the ladies of it were at this party. Seeing the family, as well as the many dozens of ladies from my home town was joyous. I had a bit of an inner sadness throughout the evening as many people would begin talking to me and I wouldn’t recall them. Ma was good and would introduce them to me in a way that wasn’t rude or obvious to them what she was doing. One or two of the ladies, like Sho’s mother and good friends of Ma’s knew I have been having trouble and would take more time when speaking to me. Admittedly I am fairly much back to ‘normal’ or ‘the way I was’ yet the memories that aren’t here now are ones I will need to re-establish and so some people it was like meeting for the first time.
Ry stayed with me, or I stayed with her for the evening. I hope I didn’t get in her way, but I just so enjoyed her company and her familiarness as the afternoon turned into evening and my tiredness overcame me. We left after 8pm, Ry dropping us off on her way home. I heard later the party went on to the Roebuck Bay Hotel, and then Skyalla (the nightclub). It must have been a big one!!