Broome, Western Australia

Broome, Western Australia

:"For other places and usages, see Broome".Infobox Australian Place | type = town
name = Broome
state = wa

caption =
lga = Shire of Broome
postcode = 6725
pop = 11,547 (2006) [Census 2006 AUS|id=UCL502400|name=Broome (Urban Centre/Locality)|accessdate=2008-10-02|quick=on]
est = 1880s
stategov = Kimberley
fedgov = Kalgoorlie
dist1 = 2100
location1= Perth
maxtemp = 32.0
mintemp = 21.1
rainfall = 575.6
elevation = 19

Broome is a pearling and tourist town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, 2200 km north of Perth. The year round population is approximately 14,000, growing to around 30,000 during the tourist season. Fact|date=April 2007 Broome International Airport provides transport to several regional and domestic towns and cities.


Broome is situated on the traditional lands of the Jukun and Yawuru people.

The first European to visit Broome was William Dampier in 1688 and again in 1699. Many of the coastal features of the area are named by him. In 1879, Charles Harper suggested that the pearling industry could be served by a port closer to the pearling grounds and that Roebuck Bay would be suitable. In 1883, John Forrest selected the site for the town, and it was named after the Governor of Western Australia, Sir Frederick Broome.

In 1889, a telegraph undersea cable was laid from Broome to Singapore, connecting to England. Hence the name Cable Beach given to the landfall site.

The town has an interesting history based around the exploits of the men and women who developed the pearling industry, starting with the harvesting of oysters for mother of pearl in the 1880s to the current major cultured pearl farming enterprises. The riches from the pearl beds did not come cheap, and the town's Japanese cemetery is the resting place of more than 900 Japanese divers who lost their lives working in the industry. Many were lost at sea and the exact number of deaths is unknown.

The Japanese were only one of the major ethnic groups who flocked to Broome to work on the luggers or the shore based activities supporting the harvesting of oysters from the waters around Broome. They were specialist divers and, despite political pressure to expel them in support of the White Australia Policy, became an indispensable part of the industry until World War II.

Broome was attacked by Japanese aircraft on 3 March 1942. The air raid killed at least 88 people. Following the end of the war in 1945, the town and its pearling industry gradually recovered from the disruptions of wartime.

The West Australian mining boom of the 1960s, as well as the growth of the tourism industry, also helped Broome develop and diversify. Broome is one of the fastest growing cities in Australia.

At Gantheaume Point and 30 metres out to sea are dinosaur footprints believed to be from the Cretaceous Age approximately 130 million years ago. The tracks can be seen only during very low tide.

Cable Beach

Cable Beach is situated 7 km from town along a good bitumen road. The beach itself is 22.5 km long with beautiful white sand washed clean daily by tides that can reach over nine metres. Fact|date=September 2008 The water is crystal clear turquoise, and the gentle swells hardly manage to topple over as they roll up onto the almost perfectly flat beach. Caution, however is required when swimming from November through March as stingers are present during those months. Four wheel drive vehicles may be driven onto the beach from the car park. This allows people to explore the beach at low tide to a much greater extent than would be possible on foot. Sunset camel rides operate daily along the beach.

Cable Beach is home to one of Australia's most famous nudist beaches. The clothes optional area is to the north of the beach access road from the car park and continues to the mouth of Willie Creek, 17 km away.

Located directly east of Cable Beach over the dunes is Minyirr Park, a coastal reserve administered by a collaboration of the Shire of Broome and the Rubibi people.

Roebuck Bay

Being situated on a north/south peninsula, Broome has water on both sides of the town. On the eastern shore are the waters of Roebuck Bay extending from the Main jetty at Port Drive to Sandy Point, west of Thangoo station. Town Beach is part of the shoreline and is popular with visitors on the eastern end of the town. It is also the site of the famous stairway to the moon where a receding tide and a rising moon combine to create a stunning natural phenomenon. On stairway to the moon nights, a food and craft market is operated on Town Beach.

Roebuck Bay is of international importance for the millions of migratory waders or shorebirds that use it seasonally on migration through the East Asian - Australasian Flyway from their breeding grounds in northern Asia. They feed on the extensive intertidal mudflats and roost at high tide on the red sand beaches of the Bay. They can be seen in the largest numbers in summer, but many of the younger birds remain throughout the first and second years of their lives. The Broome Bird Observatory on the northern shore of Roebuck Bay was established by Birds Australia, and opened in 1990. The purpose of the observatory is to study the birds, learn how to protect them, and educate the public about them.


Although it is in the tropics, Broome technically has a low-latitude semi-arid climate (BSh). Like most parts of the Australian tropics, it has two seasons: a dry season and a wet season.

The dry season is from May through November with nearly every day clear and maximum temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius.

The wet season extends from December through March, with maximum temperatures of around 35 degrees Celsius, rather erratic tropical downpours, and high humidity. Broome's annual rainfall average is 550 mm, 75% of which falls from January through March.

Broome is susceptible to tropical cyclones, and these, along with the equally unpredictable nature of summer thunderstorms, play a large part in the erratic nature of the rainfall. For instance, in January 1979, Broome recorded just 5.4mm of rainfall while in the same month of 1997, it received 910.8mm.

Frost is unknown; however, temperatures during the cooler months have dropped to as low as 3.0 degrees Celsius.Fact|date=March 2008



*John Bailey, "The White Divers of Broome", Sydney, MacMillan, 2001. ISBN 0-7329-1078-1

External links

* [ Broome tourism]
* [ Broome Football History]
* [ Broome Environment, Flora and Fauna]
* [ Beach Webcam]
* [ Another Webcam]
* [ Broome Town Guide]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.