Cape Leveque

Cape Leveque is a beautiful hidden pocket of the Kimberley, located on the tip of the Dampier Peninsula. The rugged beauty of the West Australian coast around Cape Leveque is quite unlike anything see elsewhere in Australia, bordering on desolate yet with an undeniable rugged charm. It is one of the only places in Australia where the desert meets the sea.

You have to endure the 200 odd kilometres along an unsealed, corrugated, bumpy old track from Broome to get there, but it is worth every bump and jolt. Red-brick coloured, jagged rock formations dot the coastline, orange sand dunes, pure white beaches and more shades of blue water than you ever imagined possible. Cape Leveque is a true visual feast.

Cape Leveque was a camping ground for ancient nomadic people of Northern Australia and probably is still being used today. Their huge middens over shadow the small caravan park resting on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Wild turtle and a multitude of sea birds nest on the shores and collect sea food off the exposed rocks at low tide along the shore down the coast to Broome in the Southern part of the peninsula. Whales come to give birth in the area and rest and play among the sheltered islands off the Dampier Peninsula.

Cape Leveque was named on 6th August 1801 by French explorer Nicolas Baudin. The name recalls Pierre Leveque (1746-1814), the hydrographer of Baudin's survey vessel 'Geographe', who drew the expedition's charts.

William Dampier's description from the Cygnet off Cape Leveque on 5 January 1688: "This part is all a low, even land with sandy banks against the sea ... the points rocky and so are some o the islands in the bay ... The soil is dry and sandy, destitute of water, except you make wells, yet producing divers sorts of trees."


Cape Leveque Light

The 13-metre tall lighthouse was erected at Cape Leveque in 1912. Its light characteristic is a group of three flashes that occurs every twenty seconds whereby the light source emits from a focal plane of 43 metres. The lighthouse marks the western entrance of King Sound.


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Where is it?

Cape Leveque is 240 kilometres (150¬Ými) (via the Cape Leveque Road) north of Broome.


Beagle Bay Church

On the way to Cape Leveque, you pass the Beagle Bay Sacred Heart Church built by German Pallotine monks in 1917. It is a beautiful building with an exquisite altar decorated with mother of pearl. The church, built during World War I, is an elegant stark white set against the dark red soil.

Lombadina Mission

Lombadina is an Aboriginal community steeped in Kimberley history. This tranquil oasis is situated about 200 km north of Broome on the Dampier Peninsula. Built in 1932, Lombadina Mission boasts perhaps the quaintest and most unique church in the whole of Australia. Constructed by the local Aborigines using mangrove wood, melaleuca wood for the frames, and a paperbark roof that delighted with its ingenuity and its well-loved appearance. It really was a "village" in the true sense of the word. There was a town square with sweeping old figs. Well-kept gardens dot the simple yet colourful homes. Unlike most other towns, there were no fences, no imposing high tech security grills on shops and no underlying impression of unease.


Kooljaman

In 1986 the government run Cape Leveque lighthouse was automated and the land was purchased by the Aboriginal Development Commission for the benefit of Aboriginal people. The Bardi people then chose to develop the area into a tourist complex, linking up traditional ways with the fast encroaching 21st century. The emphasis has been to develop a low key, low impact project that can be controlled by local people and of a size and extent that minimises the impact on the environment. A place where Aboriginal people can link in with the operation of a tourism venture, where visitors are able to experience the beauty of the local area and participate in the unique experiences and activities available.

The communities of Djarindjin and One Arm Point own Kooljaman. The future aim is for the complex to be wholly Aboriginal run and provide employment opportunities for community members. Currently the complex is managed by non-Aboriginal staff, under the guidance of a board of directors.

Aboriginal people may have come to this area between 5000-7000 years ago. The local inhabitants, the Bardi, are people of the sea. Turtle, dugong and fish make up a large part of their diet. Kooljaman is the Bardi Aboriginal name for Cape Leveque. Kooljaman is located 220kms north of Broome on the Dampier Peninsula.

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