Things To See And Do
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 during very low tide. Gantheaume Point was named by the French explorer Nicolas Baudin who passed the area in 1801. His investigation of the area was so cursory that he saw the pindan through his telescope, thought it was separated from the mainland, and named it Gantheaume Island. It wasn't until Phillip Parker King passed along the coastline in August 1821 that Baudin's error was corrected. It was King who named the bay Roebuck after Dampier's ship.
The Japanese Cemetery at Broome (which is the largest Japanese cemetery in Australia) dates back to the very early pearling days and bears witness to the close ties Japan established with Broome in the early twentieth century. The first recorded interment in this cemetery is 1896. Literally hundreds of young Japanese divers died either from the bends (divers paralysis) or from drowning. A large stone obelisk in the cemetery recalls those who were drowned at sea in the 1908 cyclone. The cyclones of 1887 and 1935 each caused the deaths of at least 140 men.
To give some idea of the scale of deaths resulting from the bends it is worth noting that the cemetery has the graves of 33 men who died of divers paralysis in 1914. There are 707 graves (919 people) with most of them having unusual headstones of coloured beach rocks. The cemetery which has been immaculately restored is on Port Drive on the way out to Cable Beach.
Broome Crocodile Park and Pearl Coast Zoo
There are a number of sites of particular interest to the visitor to Broome. Among the more significant are the Broome Crocodile Park on Cable Beach Road near the Cable Beach Resort. The brainchild of well known adventurer and wildlife documentary maker, Malcolm Douglas, it has been established as a research station as well as a place where the public can be educated about the dangers of crocodiles. The crocodiles in the park are predominantly 'problem' animals which have been transported from all over northern Western Australia.
It is located just around the corner from the Pearl Coast Zoo (a private zoo owned by Lord McAlpine) which, like all good modern zoos, is an environment where the human visitor doesn't feel as though they are gawping at animals behind steel bars or penned into tiny cages. The zoo's emphasis is on animals of the Kimberley area.
Roebuck Bay, adjacent to Broome, 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.
On 3 March 1942 Broome was attacked by nine Japanese Zero fighters which destroyed 16 flying boats (which had brought Dutch refugees from Timor and Java) and 7 aircraft on Broome airstrip. It has been estimated that 70 people were killed in the raid. Three of the flying boats can still be seen in Roebuck Bay at very low tide. A further raid occurred on 20 March 1942.
Cable Beach (7¬İkm): its name recalls the Java-to-Australia undersea telegraph cable which reaches shore here. 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. Daily sunset camel rides along the beach are a popular attraction.
Broome Bird Observatory
Sited in pindan woodland close to the northern shore of Roebuck Bay, it was established by Birds Australia in 1988, and formally opened in 1990. The purpose of the observatory is to study the birds, learn how to protect them, and educate the public about them.
Broome Historical Museum
Visitors interested in exploring the remnants of the history of the town should start and the Broome Historical Museum in Saville Street at the southern end of Dampier Terrace which has an excellent range of memorabilia relating the town's pearling past. The Broome Heritage Trail brochure is an excellent guide to some of the town's more unusual historical attractions.
One of the most interesting is the Sun Pictures building in Carnarvon Street which was built in 1916. Thought to be the oldest open air cinema in the world it is now owned by Lord McAlpine. It showed silent movies until 1933. It still operates and is a pleasant and unusual way to spend an evening in Broome.
The jetty was named after Edwin William Streeter, the owner of the adjacent land and operator of the business that used the jetty. It was built in the late 1890s and was used to moor pearling luggers. The jetty was thought to have been rebuilt in 1946 and reconstructed in 1966, but deteriorated due to lack of maintenance. Following extensive lobbying in 1998 from the community and vested interest groups, the Shire of Broome convinced Paspaley Pearls Pty Ltd to relinquish ownership and allow control of the jetty to pass to the shire.
Broome Courthouse Markets, every Sunday April to October
Staircase of the Moon viewing (see calendar)
August: Broome Cup
August: Opera Under The Stars
September: Shinju Matsuri Festival
November: Mango Festival