Monthly Archives: August 2013

On the windows of one of the buildings at the Broome Museum, these Country Women’s Association tea towels on display also act as curtains to keep out the heat of the day.

CWA tea towels - Broome Museum

The museum, run by the local Historical Association, contains informative displays on the pearling industry, the impacts of World War II, and the provision of critical infrastructure such as the local telephone exchange, cinemas and pubs. The social history of this multicultural town is well documented with objects, ephemera, short film and documentary screenings.

There are many stories of the influence of women in Broome, including some who continued the family business of pearling on the death of their spouse.

Dorothea May Nelson - Pearler

It’s not just scones and jam and social networks that the CWA provides to its members. This excerpt comes via Trove Australia and The West Australian of 22 October 1932, demonstrating the financial support given to the work of the Flying Doctor Service in its early days of operation across the outback.

An interesting feature of these plants is that no technical knowledge of wireless or the Morse code is required by the operators, many of whom are women residing at the stations. The plant comprises a portable pedal generator, worked by the operator’s feet — similarly to the pedals of a bicycle – ear-phones, and a transmitting keyboard resembling that of a typewriter. If the operator desires to summon the flying doctor or to ask his advice on a medical problem she merely taps out her message on to the lettered toy board, and it is automatically translated into morse by a cam device on the instrument. The transmitters are designed to work on medium or short waves, so that if the message fails to get through on one wave, it can be transmitted on another. The doctors reply to the message is sent out by radio phone from Cloncurry by means of an engine-driven transmitter, and picked up on the earphones by the operator at the station. The amateur operators of the outposts keep in practice by sending everyday messages as well as calls for medical aid, and last year over 3,000 radiograms were handled in this way. Each outpost is communicated with daily, but in addition emergency calls can be put through to the watchers at the Cloncurry base at certain specified hours. The installation land maintenance costs of the wireless plants are contributed to by the station owners, although special concessions have been made in deserving cases. A number of plants have been provided by the CountryWomen’s Association where backblock dwellers were in financial difficulties. 

sunset on Cable

camel rides, a drum circle

big crowds at the bar

sunset at Cable Beachdrummers 1 - Cable BeachSunset Bar and Grill

four-wheel drives marshall

camel trains walk up the hill

a small child running


4wd traffic on Cable Beach sunset

Camel train 1 - Cable Beachgirl with camels

a cat on a leash

fence walk caught in silhouette

sunset on Cable

shadow cat at Cable Beach

Recipe for a lazy Sunday.

Breakfast at Zanders on Cable Beach and a visit to some of the points of interest in and around Broome. Must include stopping at a cafe for a watermelon, orange and ginger juice on ice.

I can confidently predict that watching camels on the beach may be on the list of things to do around sunset.

Cable Beach Sunday morningStreeter's Jetty Sunday morningStreeter's Jetty in use - Broomeend of the restored Streeter's JettyChinatown shops Sunday morningShopfront sign - Broome Sunday morning

The first Japanese person was interred in this cemetery in 1896.  There are 919 people buried here, many of whom were pearl divers who either drowned or died from diver’s paralysis, also known as the bends.  In 1908 and 1935, cyclones took a large number of men working on pearl luggers in 1908 and 1935.  Some of the stones, many of them large beach rocks, have shells left as small grave markers by visitors.

Japanese Cemetery Broome 2Japanese Cemetery Broome 1Japanese Cemetery Broome 4Japanese Cemetery Broome 5Japanese Cemetery Broome 6

Fashion on the field at country races is a delight to behold. It’s fair to say that pretty much anything goes and there was much to enjoy in the bold choices made by some. To explain the word thongs in this context for any American readers, in this case it means flip-flops.

No thongs or singletsThis is Shaun McGruddy on board Reprisal, the winner of the Cup. To the dear reader who advised me to look out for Shaun McGruddy, I took your advice. I looked out for him but neglected to follow through with the money. Today I was working with the number 4 which served me reasonably well in the first two races but deserted me as the afternoon went on.

Winning smile - Shaun McCruddyHere are a few more pictures of the equine beauties.

They're racing at Broome 1They're racing at Broome 2They're racing at Broome 3They're racing at Broome 4The two clerks of the course staged a thrilling home stretch run during the the Cup race much to the delight of the crowd.

I’m still trying to fathom whether the course announcer was oblivious to the fact that his microphone was on during two exchanges with the bloke apparently employed to look after the sound system. Let’s call the sound guy Gerry because that was apparently his name.

First we heard “Gerry, fix the sound!” as the feedback whistled across the air waves.

Later in the day, I thought we had accidentally fallen into the classic Alan / Steve shtick when Mr Announcer boomed the following:

“Gerry!  Gerry!  Gerry!”


“Turn the bloody speakers down, you’re driving everyone crazy!”

Entertainment was all around and any losses incurred were small ones. I backed a horse called Just James in the Cup Race on account of one of my dear ones, but alas Just James was not to be the pot of gold at the end of what was a most colourful day.

Dear ones, please don’t be alarmed if suddenly the words drop off the paper as I fall into the first real state of relaxation for more than seven weeks.  We are in Broome.  The van was fixed yesterday so we are no longer living with the risk of roof drop. All the work is out of the way. Today it was time to chill.

Lunch at Zanders on Cable Beach included a cold mango smoothie and this view.

where the fence line meets the horizonThe bathers and umbrellas were like hundreds and thousands on the beach.

Cable beach swimmers

The dune plants were busy restoring the stability of the sand beneath them.

dune flowers - Cable Beach

Over at the port, the commercial transactions on the jetty were taking place alongside stunning beaches, people fishing and birds sunning themselves on the rocks. It’s possible we may be here for sometime.

The Broome Cup is on tomorrow. We are planning an assault on our purses based purely on the names of the nags and the vibe of the thing. I will report the outcome as truthfully as I can bring myself to when the day is done.

Broome Port jetty

Broome seascape 2Broome seascape 1pelicans and friends

The sand flats and mangrove systems around Derby make spectacular views and patterns to capture. The tree-like shapes formed as the big tides recede are amazingly beautiful.Derby sand flats landscape from air 2Derby sand flats landscape from air 1

We were on a Cessna Caravan sea plane to see the famous Horizontal Falls, formed by the incoming and outgoing tides as they make their way through narrow gaps in the ranges.
Horizontal Falls 2Horizontal Falls 1

sea planeTalbot Bay narrow gap - Horizontal Falls

The tide lines are evident on this shot.  The dark line is the oyster line.  The tides routinely fall up and down to the top of the white line every day.

Tide lines - Horizontal FallsWe also met a few Tawny Nurse Sharks.Tawny Nurse Shark

and were reminded that this landscape is indeed very ancient.

Compression layers - Cyclone Creek

10 and 11 August

At this westerly end of the Gibb River “Road”, the gorge turn offs are closer in distance so we were setting up camp around lunchtime.  It was one of the hottest days we’ve had so far hitting 36 degrees around 1pm and not dropping from that until after three.

The Windjana Gorge campsite is a short walk from the gorge.  In the afternoon, you lose about 10 degrees temperature inside the gorge and it’s a relatively easy tramp in.

The pools along the gorge, not very deep in this driest of dry seasons, are home to freshwater crocodiles and a wide variety of birds, including a white faced heron, a night heron nestled in the brush across the water and a couple of black-fronted dotterels.

fish fossil - Windjana Gorge

Windjana Gorge reflectionsWindjana Gorge rockscape reflectionsfreshwater croc - Windjana Gorge

black-fronted dotterell 1Corella - Windjana GorgeNankeen Night Heron - Windjana GorgeWhite faced heron - Windjana Gorgedouble barred finch - Windjana GorgeWedgetail Eagle - Windjana GorgeFreshwater croc out of water - Windjana GorgeThese pics represent our two days at this site.  We drove up to Tunnel Creek Gorge on the second day.  It was also very cool as most of it is in a cave system, hence the name.  You need torches and wet walking gear.  My aversion to running into even harmless crocs as you walk through water in the dark had me stopping half way at the opening. This gorge is also home to many species of vociferous bats.

In other news, don’t ever think you can disappear into the wilderness and not run into people you know. It was fun to run into Charles and Ashley from my local hairdressing salon back home.  We’d spoken of our respective trips some months ago, but never expected to run into each other at Windjana Gorge. Courtesy of Charles and Ashley we are now in possession of a red claw trap for use in freshwater creeks AND the honeydew melon to go with it. Charles was very impressed with our support system for the strut on the van, particularly the fallback position of the portable toilet sitting on top of the wardrobe. You use what you have, don’t you.