Eucla to Kununurra
The photos and items that follow are what I have gathered in five years of travelling on the road. This part is of Western Australia and I will start from the South Australian/Western Australian Border heading west across the Nullarbor Plains to Perth then heading north to Broome, Derby, Wyndham and Kununurra. When travelling Australia it is always good to check the weather as well as road conditions. Wind is a major factor in travelling long distances, having a head on wind can increase the vehicles fuel consumption. An example is our vehicle normally uses 13.5 litres per 100 kilometres, put a head wind it can go as high as 19.5 litres per 100 kilometres.
We planned our journey across the Nullarbor for mid January/February time as this is the usual period sailors sail from Tasmania to Perth because winds are usually southeast to northeast therefore you have a tail wind other periods of the year winds in this area are southwest to westerly. If you have to travel with unfavourable winds pick your time of day, many times the winds are calm until around 0930 hours in the morning and calm again in the afternoon, so travel in the calmer times.
Fuel is another thing to be considered in some of these isolated towns fuel can be expensive, these days one can download a fuel app program on the smart phone and plan your fuel stops, it is surprising the difference in prices, some of the smaller towns have the cheaper fuel, we also carry 40 litres in four containers to go past the expensive places. Prices can range from $1.40 to $2.02 for diesel. Do your homework before setting out on any long trip.
Crossing the border also takes you to a new time zone, WA is one hour thirty minutes earlier than SA and the NT. However, in the southern part of the state they change the time gradually as you travel to Perth, but in the north part of the state the time changes at the border.
The border check point is for the purpose of stopping fruit and vegetable disease from spreading across the border into WA. If you have such items you can put them in the rubbish bins before crossing, give them away to people travelling in the other direction or cook them up and store them.
Eulca is basically a place that services the border, there is some houses with a population of 53. It was originally set up as a repeater station in 1877 and the old ruins of the telegraph station is almost buried in sand as the sand dunes shift. There is a motel, restaurant and service station.
There is a free camping area near the old Eucla Telegraph Station ruins for those that have a self contained caravan or motorhome.
The first report on 26 December 1971 was by professional kangaroo shooters from Eucla in Western Australia, near the border with South Australia. They claimed to have seen a blond, white woman amongst some kangaroos, and backed their story with grainy amateur film showing a woman wearing kangaroo skins and holding a kangaroo by the tail. After further sightings were claimed, the story was reported around the world, and journalists descended upon the town of Eucla which had a population of 8 people at the time. The incident was eventually revealed as a hoax, initiated as a publicity stunt. The girl on film turned out to be a 17-year-old model named Janice Beeby. She did appear in a photograph taken later, as an evidence of the Nullarbor Nymph, but the woman in the original photograph used by the media to perpetuate the hoax was Geneice Brooker, the partner of Laurie Scott; he was one of the kangaroo shooter hoaxers. Scott admitted to the Sunday Mail in 1972 that the hoax was created by a passing publicist who happened to be in the Eucla Hotel and had contacts within the media.
Leaving Eucla area heading towards Norseman.
Whilst talking on aircraft above, you should be mindful that you may not see a highway patrol car because in this part of the country they have them fella’s in the air. You can be booked for speeding and know nothing of it until it arrives in the mail.
There are a couple of places across the Nullarbor that have water for travellers these large tanks have a large roof over them that catch the rain water and fill the tanks. Take what you need but don’t waste any.
When we travel we don’t do great distances these days, earlier days we did because I was working and we only had a few weeks leave, it was nothing to drive 1,000 kilometres in a day once we drove 1,400 kilometres from Broken Hill to Glendambo. Being retired why rush we have plenty of time, one time we did a whole 36 kilometres in a day.
After leaving Eucla we drove 165 kilometres to the Moodini Bluff Rest Area stopping along the way Mundrabilla.
Norseman provides a free RV campsite for self contained units, in other words you should have a bathroom and toilet on board, you can stay for 48 hours, the ground can be a bit tricky if it is wet but it is a very good area.
We left Norseman and headed north to Kalgoolie and Coolgardie and will drive back to Norseman to go to Esperance.
In the winter of 1893, prospectors Patrick (Paddy) Hannan, Tom Flanagan, and Dan Shea were travelling to Mount Youle, when one of their horses cast a shoe. During the halt in their journey, the men noticed signs of gold in the area around the foot of what is now the Mount Charlotte gold mine, located on a small hill north of the current city, and decided to stay and investigate. On 17 June 1893, Hannan filed a Reward Claim, leading to hundreds of men swarming to the area in search of gold, and Kalgoorlie, originally called Hannan’s Find, was born.
Kalgoolie offers a free RV campsite forself contained caravans and motorhomes.
Hay Street Kalgoorlie is the home to one of the world’s oldest working brothels. Questa Casa has been in known operation for 115 years and is possibly the worlds oldest working brothel. Also known as “THE PINK HOUSE”, Questa Casa is the only remaining brothel from Kalgoorlie’s gold rush era. The historical brothel offers tourists the unique opportunity to experience life from a bygone era.
Kalgoolie Super Pit – mine
We had to visit the Super Pit mine it is quite incredible.
Coolgardie town was founded in 1892, when gold was discovered in the area. Australia had seen several major gold rushes over the previous three decades, mostly centred on the east coast, but these had mostly been exhausted by the 1890s. With the discovery of a new goldfield, an entire new gold rush began, with thousands flocking to the area. By 1898, Coolgardie was the third largest town in the colony, with an estimated population of 5,008. At its peak, 700 mining companies based in Coolgardie were registered with the London Stock Exchange. The town also supported a wide variety of businesses and services, including the railway connection between Perth and Kalgoorlie, a swimming pool (first public baths in the state), many hotels and several newspapers.
Coolgardie offer a free RV Campsite at the Railway Station for self contained units for a 24 hour stay.
From Coolgardie we travelled back to Norseman and stayed at the free RV camp before heading southward towards Esperance, on the way we stayed at a free RV camp at Gibson’s Soak Hotel.
Gibson Soak was named after Billy Gibson, who reportedly stumbled across the soak while searching for stock. A decision to create a town was made around 1910 with the proposal to construct a railway between Norseman and Esperance. The town was gazetted in 1921
European history of the region dates back to 1627 when the Dutch vessel Gulden Zeepaert, skippered by François Thijssen, passed through waters off the Esperance coast and continued across the Great Australian Bight.
French explorers are credited with making the first landfall near the present day town, naming it and other local landmarks while sheltering from a storm in this area in 1792. The town itself was named after a French ship, the Espérance, commanded by Jean-Michel Huon de Kermadec. Espérance is French for “hope”.
In 1802, British navigator Matthew Flinders sailed the Bay of Isles, discovering and naming places such as Lucky Bay and Thistle Cove. Whalers, sealers and pirates followed, as did pastoralists and miners, keen to exploit the free land and cash in on the gold boom in the gold fields to the north.
The first European settlement of the Esperance townsite area was by the Dempsters, a pioneer family of Scottish descent, in the 1860s. The Dempster brothers, Charles, Edward, Andrew and James, were granted 304,000 acres (123,000 ha) of land in the area, first settling in 1864. They initially brought sheep, cattle and horses overland from Northam, but in 1866 they shipped stock to the Esperance area from South Australia. They built Esperance’s first landing, but only one ship made the Adelaide to Esperance voyage in the first year.
The town jetty was also built through the 1890s, following the discovery of gold in the eastern goldfields region. At this point, Esperance became the “gateway to the Goldfields.” Today this jetty is in poor repair and the council has made the decision to demolish it and there are some locals protesting and trying to save it.
In 1979, pieces of the space station Skylab crashed onto Esperance after the craft broke up over the Indian Ocean. The municipality fined the United States $400 for littering. The fine was paid in April 2009, when radio show host Scott Barley of Highway Radio raised the funds from his morning show listeners, and paid the fine on behalf of NASA.
The following pictures are taken on the Esperance coastal drive, the sights are wonderful and I know when we sailed around Australia I was amazed of the amount and the beauty of the islands in this area.
Duke of Orleans Bay
We travelled to Duke of Orleans Bay because we anchored in the area when we sailed around Australia and wanted to take a closer look, we stayed at the Caravan Park there.
Duke of Orleans Bay is part of Cape Arid National Park is an national park located in Western Australia, The park is situated 120 kilometres east of Esperance and lies on shore of the south coast from the eastern end of the Recherche Archipelago. The bay at its eastern side is Israelite Bay, a locality often mentioned in Bureau of Meteorology weather reports as a geographical marker. The western end is known as Duke of Orleans Bay this bay is approximately 50 kilometres east of Esperance.
Lucky Bay is 48 kilometres by road east of Esperance and is a National Park, it is well visited and the camp ground is often full. It is possible to day visit and it is well worth a stay here.
Matthew Flinders had sailed into the hazardous Archipelago of the Recherche, and found his ship surrounded by islands and rocks with nightfall coming on. He named this area “Lucky Bay” when his vessel HMS Investigator took refuge after a summer storm. Recounting the adventure, he wrote the following:
“The chart alone can give any adequate idea of this labyrinth of islands and rocks…. Seeing no probability of reaching a space of clear water in which to stand off and on during the night, and no prospect of shelter under any of the islands, I found myself under the necessity of adopting a hazardous measure; and with the concurrence of the master’s opinion, we steered directly before the wind for the main coast, where the appearance of some beaches, behind other islands, gave a hope of finding anchorage. At seven in the evening we entered a small sandy bay; and finding it sheltered everywhere except to the south-westward, in which direction there were many islands and rocks in the offing to break off the sea, the anchor was dropped in 7 fathoms, sandy bottom. The master sounded round the ship, but nothing was found to injure the cables; and except the water being shallow in the north-west corner of the bay, there was no danger to be apprehended, unless from strong south-west winds. The critical circumstance under which this place was discovered induced me to give it the name of Lucky Bay.
As you can see why Lucky Bay is so popular. There is a walking track over the ridges to Thistle Cove from Lucky Bay and well worth the walk with picturesque views.
The photo below was taken from our catamaran when we sailed around Australia, this was in October 2013, this is a photo of the islands around Lucky Bay area and Lucky Bay.
Hopetoun is a town on the south coast of Western Australia in the Shire of Ravensthorpe. Located on Mary Ann Harbour, Hopetoun is 160 kilometres west of Esperance. Hopetoun is an attractive seaside village located on the shores of Mary Ann Harbour. It is popular as a low key get-away-from-it-all tourist destination and its holiday appeal has been greatly enhanced by whale watching, the presence of seals and dolphins and the untouched nature of the beaches and headlands in the area. It is impossible to overstate the beauty of glorious and pristine area. To many people this stretch of coastline is the most beautiful in Australia with its white sand beaches and gently rounded rocky foreshores.
The harbour, and the subsequent settlement, were named Mary Ann after a cutter named Mary Ann. The cutter had been named John Thomas, a whaling master, after his eldest daughter. When the town was surveyed in 1900 its name was changed to Hopetoun in honour of Australia’s first Governor General, Lord Hopetoun.
Rabbits were introduced to Australia by the First Fleet in 1788, but they became a problem after October 1859, when Thomas Austin released 24 wild rabbits from England for hunting purposes, believing the introduction of a few rabbits could do little harm and might provide a touch of home, in addition to a spot of hunting.”
The rabbits proved to be extremely prolific, and spread rapidly across the southern parts of the country. Australia had ideal conditions for an explosion in the rabbit population, including the fact that they had virtually no local predators.
By 1887, losses from rabbit damage compelled the New South Wales Government to offer a £25,000 reward for “any method of success not previously known in the Colony for the effectual extermination of rabbits”. A Royal Commission was held in 1901 to investigate the situation.
From 1901, the fence was constructed by private contractors, but in 1904, the project became the responsibility of the Public Works Department of Western Australia, under the supervision of Richard John Anketell. With a workforce of 120 men, 350 camels, 210 horses and 41 donkeys, Anketell was responsible for the construction of the greater part of No. 1 Fence and the survey of its last 110 kilometres.
Following the introduction of myxomatosis to control rabbits in the 1950s, the importance of the rabbit-proof fence diminished.
Fitzgerald (Old School Site)
Fitzgerald Old School site is located 59 kilometres from Ravensthorpe.
This area is now a free campsite for travellers and it is a good site but there are no facilities so you have to be self contained.
We travelled toward Albany but spent the night at Wellstead Bush Camp at a small cost of $10 per night with power and water, toilets and showers. This camp is 97 kilometres east of Albany. Next day we drove to Albany.
The Albany settlement was founded on 26 December 1826, as a military outpost of New South Wales as part of a plan to forestall French ambitions in the region. To that end, on 21 January 1827, the commander of the outpost, Major Edmund Lockyer, formally took possession of the western third of the continent for the British Crown.
The settlement was initially named Frederick Town in honour of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. In 1831, the settlement was transferred to the control of the Swan River Colony and renamed Albany by Lieutenant-Governor James Stirling.
During the last decade of the 19th century the town served as a gateway to the Eastern Goldfields. For many years, it was the colony’s only deep-water port, having a place of eminence on shipping services between Britain and its Australian colonies. The opening of the Fremantle Inner Harbour in 1897, however, saw its importance as a port decline, after which the town’s industries turned primarily to agriculture, timber and later, whaling.
Today as a city it is the southern terminus for tourism in the region, and the state’s South West, which is known for its natural environment and preservation of heritage. The town has a role in the ANZAC legend, being the last port of call for troopships departing Australia in the First World War. Also an auxiliary submarine base for the US Navy’s 7th Fleet was developed during the Second World War in the event the submarine base at Fremantle was lost. Also in the harbour was an RAN Naval Installation which provided for alongside refuelling from four 5000 ton fuel tanks.
In 1914, King George Sound was the last Australian anchorage for the fleet taking the first Australian and New Zealand soldiers, later to become known as Anzacs, to Egypt. A memorial to the Anzacs of the Desert Mounted Corps has been established on top of Mount Clarence. Albany was where the first commemorative dawn service was held on Anzac Day, 25 April 1923. The contribution of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, president of Turkey from 1923 until 1938 is recognised by naming the entrance into Princess Royal Harbour as Atatürk Entrance.
We stayed at a caravan park at Oyster Bay for a few days to catch up on washing clothes and a few maintenance items.
A day in the city of Albany, love these old buildings.
The old railway station is now the information centre.
After a few days we headed further west and stayed two days in Shannon National Park approximately 188 kilometres west of Albany, has showers and toilets cost is normal small national park fees, seniors $7.
Greenbushes was founded as a mining town in 1888 following a surveyor’s discovery of tin in 1886. Greenbushes was named after the bright green bushes that contrasted against the grey eucalyptus trees.
Greenbushes’ two major industries are mining, producing tantalite concentrates, lithium minerals, tin metal and kaolin; and timber milling. The Greenbushes mine, located to the south of the town, has produced lithium concentrate since 1985.
It is a fairly quiet town and offers a free RV campsite that has toilets at the sporting complex, please leave a donation.
From Greenbushes we headed the Thomas Brook Winery who offers free wine tasting and a free campsite on nice green lawns, again you have to be self sufficient.
We had a nice time here leaving with a carton of wine that we bought, but that is the way we prefer things we stay at small towns, hotels and places like here that offer free camping and we spend the money that helps small places. We do go into caravan parks every so often to but at $35 – $55 per night we rather spend the money in places that offer more than a little electricity and water.
Perth and surrounding areas.
Perth was the first full-scale settlement by Europeans in the western third of the continent. The British colony would be officially designated Western Australia in 1832 but was known informally for many years as the Swan River Colony after the area’s major watercourse. On 4 June 1829, newly arriving British colonists had their first view of the mainland, and Western Australia’s founding has since been recognised by a public holiday on the first Monday in June each year. Captain James Stirling, aboard Parmelia, said that Perth was “as beautiful as anything of this kind I had ever witnessed”. On 12 August that year, Helen Dance, wife of the captain of the second ship, Sulphur, cut down a tree to mark the founding of the town. The town was named after the Scottish Perth.
Fremantle is affectionately known as Freo. (Freeoh)
Martha Rendell (10 August 1871 – 6 October 1909) was the last woman to be hanged in Western Australia. She was convicted of murdering her de facto husband’s son, Arthur Morris, in 1908. She was also suspected of killing his two daughters, Annie and Olive, by swabbing their throats with hydrochloric acid. Although the children died slow and agonising deaths, they had been treated by a number of doctors during their illness, only one of whom expressed any doubts about their deaths.
Rendell’s crimes aroused considerable public outrage at the time; the press portrayed her as a “scarlet woman” and “wicked stepmother”. She was hanged at Fremantle Prison on 6 October 1909. She is buried at Fremantle Cemetery, in the same grave where serial killer Eric Edgar Cooke was interred more than half a century later. Martha Rendell was the last woman executed in the state of Western Australia.
An illusion appears on one of the prison windows which can only be seen on the outside of the window; when inside the church looking out the glass is smooth and even, with no unusual shape or texture. An urban legend has it that this illusion is the portrait of Rendell, who watches over the prison. The fact is that that pane of glass has an imperfection that with the outside light give the illusion.
Ship Wreck Galleries Museum at Fremantle is well worth a visit and allow some time to see everything.
Captain James Cook did not discover Australia he discovered the east coast he had the following chart which were a number of other Captains that had come this way, for this information go to. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_exploration_of_Australia
If you have not heard or read about the ship Batavia it is well worth a read, some information can be found at this site. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batavia_(ship)
Batavia was wrecked when they hit the reefs at the Abrolhos Islands off the coast of Western Australia near Geraldton, and whilst the Captain and some crew went for help in a long boat Jeronimus Cornelisz who was left in charge of the survivors set a plan to get rid of some survivors.
Cornelisz’s first deliberate act was to have all weapons and food supplies commandeered and placed under his control. He then moved a group of soldiers, led by Wiebbe Hayes, to nearby West Wallabi Island, under the false pretence of searching for water. They were told to light signal fires when they found water and they would then be rescued. Convinced that they would be unsuccessful, he then left them there to die, taking complete control of the situation.
Cornelisz never committed any of the murders himself, although he tried and failed to poison a baby (who was eventually strangled). Instead, he coerced others into doing it for him, usually under the pretence that the victim had committed a crime such as theft. It has been suggested that Cornelisz sought “novelty and stimulation” after having ordered numerous murders by ordering more “perverse atrocities”
The other place to go is the Maritime Museum which is more to do with other vessels other than shipwrecks.
Australia II is an Australian 12-metre-class America’s Cup challenge racing yacht that was launched in 1982 and won the 1983 America’s Cup for the Royal Perth Yacht Club. Skippered by John Bertrand, she was the first successful Cup challenger, ending a 132-year tenure by the New York Yacht Club. Most Australians would have got up in the middle of the night to watch the race I know I did in Alice Springs at around 3 am, friend Gloria and I watched the race and made a big dent in a bottle of port to celebrate.
Australia II design featured a reduced waterline length and a short chord winged keel which gave the boat a significant advantage in manoeuvrability and heeling moment (lower ballast centre of gravity) but it was a significant disadvantage in choppy seas. In 2009, Dutch naval architect Peter van Oossanen claimed that the winged keel was actually designed by him and his group of Dutch designers, and not Ben Lexcen. The suggestion that the vessel was not designed by Australians has been refuted by both John Bertrand and project manager John Longley. Furthermore, it is well established that Lexcen had been experimenting with wing adaptations to the undersurface appendages of boats before, including his 1958 skiffs Taipan and Venom, although in the latter application they were not determined to be effective and not further adopted. In 1983 Lexcen commented on the controversy: “I have in mind to admit it all to the New York Yacht Club that I really owe the secret of the design to a Greek guy who helped me out and was invaluable. He’s been dead for 2000 years. Bloody Archimedes…
In June 1899 the Carlisle Castle was wrecked with total loss of crew. Soon after, six lives were lost when the City of York was also wrecked. Both losses were attributed to inadequate service provided by the Rottnest-Fremantle pilot boat.
The frequent shipwrecks increasingly damaged Fremantle’s reputation to provide an effective pilot service to guide vessel into the harbour. In 1902 Harbour and Lights lodged an order for a purpose-built pilot vessel that could accompany incoming vessels, regardless of weather conditions, and ensure that the local pilot could be put aboard to guide the vessels into the safety of the Fremantle port.
Lifeboats and pilot boats must be steady and easily managed when carrying out rescues and moving along-side other vessels. The new pilot’s design was based on the Royal National Lifeboat Institutions standards compiled by James Peake who was an exceptional naval architect for his time. The length of Lady Forrest’s hull was directly related to the distance between two wave crests (this distance determines wave motion). This ratio of length to wave motion was calculated to increase the vessel’s stability and minimise pounding when facing head seas.
Named after the wife of the first Premier of W.A., people were initially disappointed with their new acquisition. This initial doubt soon subsided by a proven track record of 64 years chaperoning vessels in all conditions. M.V. Lady Gairdner was commissioned in 1959 and the Lady Forrest became a stand-by pilot.
In 1967 Lady Forrest was withdrawn from service and donated to the Western Australian Museum in 1970.
HMAS Ovens was an Oberon-class submarine of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). She was one of six Oberon’s built for the Royal Australian Navy by the Scottish Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, and entered service in 1969. The vessel was named for Irishman and Australian explorer John Ovens (1788-1825) and for whom the Victorian river Ovens was named. During her career, Ovens was the first RAN submarine to deploy with the ANZUK force, and the first RAN submarine to fire an armed Mark 48 torpedo, sinking the target ship Colac. The boat was decommissioned in 1995, and is preserved at the Western Australian Maritime Museum as a museum ship.
When I was in the Navy I had a mate that did his Petty Officers course with me, he was a submariner, his sub was in dry dock over on Cockatoo Island, I had to do rounds as duty Chief on the island on other craft checking on ship keepers, I bumped into this mate, Knobby and he asked if I wanted to go aboard the submarine for a look. I told him no, I didn’t want anyone to see me go aboard in case they thought I might like them.
Above is the mess where sailors spend their free time and sleep time. Submariners hot bunk it, this means that there is not a bunk for every crew member, so when a sailor goes on watch, the sailor coming off watch jumps into the bunk that has been vacated.
Rockingham – Cape Peron
Cape Peron is south of Fremantle.
Cape Peron is a headland at Rockingham, at the southern end of Cockburn Sound in Western Australia. It contains the suburb of Peron. Locally known as Point Peron, the cape is noted for its protected beaches, limestone cliffs, reefs and panoramic views. Officially, “Point Peron” is the designation of a minor promontory on the south side of the cape’s extremity.
The feature was named after the French naturalist and zoologist François Péron, who accompanied the expedition of Nicolas Baudin along the western coast of Australia in 1801.
A causeway has been constructed between Cape Peron and Garden Island to carry vehicle traffic between the mainland and the island. Since the island houses a major naval base, access is restricted by the military.
The wreck of the RMS Orizaba (1886–1905) lies just north, between the cape and Garden Island.
Como – Perth
Whilst in Perth we went to Como to have lunch with a great mate and his partner. Bill and Gail, Bill and I have been friends since 1965 when we both joined the Royal Australian Navy.
We stayed with Nancy’s relatives, parked in their driveway whilst in Perth and Nancy’s great nephew James took us for a flight from Perth over Rottness Island.
Rottnest Island was inhabited by Aboriginal people until rising sea levels separated the island from the mainland of Western Australia about 7000 years ago. The island features in Noongar Aboriginal mythology as Wadjemup, meaning “place across the water where the spirits are”. Aboriginal artefacts on the island have been dated from 6500 to more than 30000 years ago. However, recent evidence (1999) suggests human occupation significantly before 50000, possibly as early as 70000 years ago.
There were no people on the island when European exploration began in the 17th century, and the Aboriginal people on the mainland did not have boats that could make the crossing, so the island had probably been uninhabited for several thousand years.
Rottness Island can be expensive to visit and stay there one of the reasons we did not go, we anchored there in 2013, and there are charges to do that and more to go ashore.
Leaving Perth Heading North
Hillarys is a northern area of Perth which has an aquarium. The aquarium opened on 13 April 1988 as Underwater World, Perth. It was acquired by the current owners, Coral World International and Morris Kahn, in 1991, and changed its name to AQWA The Aquarium of Western Australia on 1 January 2001.
AQWA (then Underwater World, Perth) opened with only two aquariums, the feature walk-through aquarium, now known as the Shipwreck Coast, and the Touch Pool. It now includes more than 40 exhibits and is the 10th largest aquarium in the world.
Two Rocks is an outer suburb at the northern edge of Perth, the state capital of Western Australia, located 61 kilometres north of the city’s central business district. It is part of the City of Wanneroo local authority and represents the furthest northern extent of the Perth metropolitan area.
The suburb of Two Rocks takes its name from two prominent rocks offshore from Wreck Point. It was approved as a suburb name in 1975
Lancelin is a small fishing and tourist town 127 km north of Perth, Western Australia. It is within the Shire of Gingin at the end of Wanneroo Road, and a few kilometres from the start of the Indian Ocean Drive.
Lancelin is close to the shipwreck site of the Vergulde Draeck or Gilt Dragon that was wrecked on rocks close to shore in 1656. The town has a permanent population of over 600, and swells to 2,500 during the peak holiday period around Christmas – New Year.
Regans Ford – Windmill Roadhouse
The Windmill Roadhouse is on the inland highway, Highway One’
The area contains thousands of weathered limestone pillars. Some of the tallest pinnacles reach heights of up to 3.5m above the yellow sand base. The different types of formations include ones which are much taller than they are wide and resemble columns, suggesting the name of Pinnacles, while others are only a meter or so in height and width resembling short tombstones. A cross-bedding structure can be observed in many pinnacles where the angle of deposited sand changed suddenly due to changes in prevailing winds during formation of the limestone beds. Pinnacles with tops similar to mushrooms are created when the calcrete capping is harder than the limestone layer below it. The relatively softer lower layers weather and erode at a faster rate than the top layer leaving behind more material at the top of the pinnacle.
We walked all over the Pinnacle area as on cars can enter large vehicles and vehicles towing trailers or caravans are not permitted. There is large carparks where caravans can be left so you can take the car.
Cervantes is a town in Western Australia off Indian Ocean Drive about 198 kilometres (123 mi) north-north-west of the state capital, Perth in the Shire of Dandaragan local government area. At the 2011 census, Cervantes had a population of 467. The town was named after a ship that was wrecked nearby. The ship, in turn, was named after Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote.
The principal industry in the town is fishing. The Pinnacles are nearby in Nambung National Park which makes for a small industry from tourism.
Banksia Reserve is a free overnight stop a few kilometres off the highway north of Cevantes.
Jurien Bay is a coastal town in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, 220 kilometres north of Perth.
The coastline around Jurien Bay was first known to Europeans in the 17th century. In 1801–03, an expedition under the command of Nicolas Baudin sailed along the Western Australian coast. Louis de Freycinet, a cartographic surveyor on the expedition, named Jurien Bay after Charles Marie Jurien (1763–1836) of the French naval administration. The area was visited by a number of English explorers from 1822 onwards. The bay was first surveyed by Captain James Harding, the harbourmaster of Fremantle, in 1865, with a more extensive survey made by Staff Commander W. E. Archdeacon R.N. in 1875.
Just north of Jurien Bay is some wetlands with bird life.
There is a campsite near Milligan Island that we stayed it cost $15 per night it has the usual long drop toilets, but other than that you have to be self sufficient, great spot large camp sites and the island is worth seeing plus the beach is great.
Cliff Head has a free camping area located south of Dongara, again must be self sufficient there are the long drop toilets and nice beach.
Dongara – Port Denison
Dongara is a town 351 kilometres (218 mi) north-northwest of Perth, Western Australia on the Brand Highway. The town is located at the mouth of the Irwin River. The area has been marketed as the ‘Rock lobster capital of Australia’.
Dongara is the seat of the Shire of Irwin. At the 2016 census the shire had a population of 3,569, with 2,782 residing in the contiguous towns of Dongara and Port Denison. European settlement around the estuary began in 1853 when a harbourmaster, Edward Downes, was stationed there to look out for passing ships. He was employed by Lockier Burges, Edward Hamersley, Samuel Pole Phillips and Bartholomew Urban Vigors’ Cattle Company, which was granted 60,000 acres of pastoral leases about 15 kilometres inland. By the 1860s, ex-convict small farmers were occupying the local river flats, and a flour mill (the Irwin or Smith’s Mill) was operating. A townsite was surveyed, and in 1871 it became the seat of a local council established that year (now the Irwin Shire Council), and site of a police station and public school.
Geraldton is a coastal city in the Mid West region of the Australian state of Western Australia, 424 kilometres north of the state capital, Perth. At June 2018, Geraldton had an urban population of 37,648.
The Port of Geraldton is a major west coast seaport. Geraldton is an important service and logistics centre for regional mining, fishing, wheat, sheep and tourism industries.
The battle between the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney and the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran was a single ship action that occurred on 19 November 1941, off the coast of Western Australia. Sydney, with Captain Joseph Burnett commanding, and Kormoran, under Fregattenkapitän (Commander) Theodor Detmers, encountered each other approximately 106 nautical miles (196 km; 122 mi) off Dirk Hartog Island. Both ships were destroyed in the half-hour engagement.
From 24 November, after Sydney failed to return to port, air and sea searches were conducted. Boats and rafts carrying survivors from Kormoran were recovered at sea, while others made landfall north of Carnarvon: 318 of the 399 personnel on Kormoran survived. While debris from Sydney was found, there were no survivors from the 645-strong complement. It was the largest loss of life in the history of the Royal Australian Navy, the largest Allied warship lost with all hands during World War II, and a major blow to Australian wartime morale. Australian authorities learned of Sydney’s fate from the surviving Kormoran personnel, who were held in prisoner of war camps until the end of the war. The exact location of the two wrecks remained unverified until 2008.
For more pictures of this wonderful memorial go to website, https://www.hmassydneymemorialgeraldton.com.au/symbolism/
Many European mariners encountered, or were wrecked on, the Houtman Abrolhos islands 60 kilometres west of Geraldton during the 17th and 18th centuries. Although two mutineers from the Batavia were marooned on the mainland in 1629 there is no surviving evidence that they made landfall at or near the site of the current town.
The wreck of the Batavia, flagship of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) fleet on her maiden voyage, on Morning Reef of the Houtman Abrolhos on 4 June 1629, and the events surrounding the subsequent mutiny, rescue and punishment of her crew are of great historical significance to the region.
I mentioned the Batavia earlier under Perth heading but there is more here as the Batavia incident occurred off the coast of Geraldton so we have more here.
The sandstone arch at the maritime museum in Geraldton, Perth’s Shipwreck Museum has a replica made from timber, it appears a deal was made, Geraldton kept the original arch and Perth got the section of Batavia’s hull that was recovered.
Point Moore Lighthouse – Geraldton
The Moore Point Lighthouse was the first all steel tower built on the mainland of Australia. It is also the oldest surviving Western Australia lighthouse under Federal control.
The foundation were originally laid for the Moore Point Lighthouse in 1877, but were found to be in the wrong place. Following this discovery they were relocated to the current site 5 kilometres from the centre of Geraldton.
The tower was a prefabricated steel tower by Chance Bros. of Birmingham, and brought to Australia in segments from England aboard the ‘Lady Louisa’. It was bolted together on the new foundations.
The light was first exhibited in 1878. There was also a subsidiary light giving two beams but this has since been removed. The original original kerosene wick lamp was replaced by an incandescent-mantle lamp in 1911. A further conversion to electricity was undertaken in 1958. The light was significantly upgraded in power in 1962 when the candelas was raised from 90,000 to 320,000. The character was altered to the current configuration at the same time. The light was further upgraded in 1985.
The tower’s day mark of four red, and three white bands was added in 1969.
The Moore Point lighthouse is the oldest surviving Commonwealth lighthouse in Western Australia. It was also the first the first steel tower on the mainland of Australia.
The Houtman Abrolhos (often informally called the Abrolhos Islands) is a chain of 122 islands, and associated coral reefs, in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia. Nominally located at 28°43′S 113°47′E, it lies about eighty kilometres west of Geraldton, Western Australia. It is the southernmost true coral reef in the Indian Ocean, and one of the highest latitude reef systems in the world. It is one of the world’s most important seabird breeding sites, and is the centre of Western Australia’s largest single-species fishery, the western rock lobster fishery. It has a small seasonal population of fishermen, and a limited number of tourists are permitted for day trips, but most of the land area is off limits as conservation habitat. It is well known as the site of numerous shipwrecks, the most famous being the Dutch ships Batavia, which was wrecked in 1629, and Zeewijk, wrecked in 1727.
We stopped at Northampton for ANZAC Day 2018, it is a small town and we try and support the smaller communities. It was probably one of the quietest ANZAC Days I have had. I use this day to remember mates that were lost whilst serving not just through war, I also remember those that were lost in vehicle accident and natural causes. I also like to remember the mates that are still alive that served with me and naturally show respect that gave the ultimate price during all wars. Lest We Forget.
Billabong Roadhouse is a pit stop between Geralton and Carnarvon, you can get a good feed there, budget accommodation and they also offer a free campsite for travellers.
Shell Beach is a beach in the Shark Bay region of Western Australia, located 45 km south-east of Denham.
Situated on the northeastern side of the Taillefer Isthmus along the L’Haridon Bight, the beach is covered with shells for a 60 km stretch to a depth of 7–10 m. It is one of only two beaches in the world made entirely from shells. The beach was named because of the great abundance of the shells of the cockle species Fragum erugatum. The seawater in the L’Haridon Bight has a high salinity due to local climate of the area.
The shells have formed a limestone that is known as coquina. Before Shark Bay became a World Heritage Site, the coquina was mined and used for the construction of a number of buildings in Denham.
The poster above of the Shark Bay area shows location of Billabong Roadhouse (You are here) the Red dot on the Denham Road is Shell Beach and the Green dot is Nanga Resort.
Nanga Resort and Caravan Park
Nanga Resort caters for all types of accommodation and is a very nice part of the coast. For more information, http://www.nangabayresort.com.au/
Eagles on the road
As you can see from these photos that it takes a while for these large birds to take off from the ground, so if you see them ahead please slow down, even better stop and drag the carcass off the road so they can’t get hit when feeding.
Carnarvon is a coastal town situated approximately 900 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia. It lies at the mouth of the Gascoyne River on the Indian Ocean. The popular Shark Bay world heritage area lies to the south of the town and the Ningaloo Reef and the popular tourist town of Exmouth lie to the north.
During the 1960s, NASA set up a tracking station nearby to support the Gemini and Apollo space programs. The tracking station was closed in the mid-1970s. Only the foundations of the historical site remain. The site is adjacent to the OTC Satellite Earth Station Carnarvon.
Exmouth is a town on the tip of the North West Cape in Western Australia. The town is located 1,270 kilometres north of the state capital Perth.
The town was established in 1967 to support the nearby United States Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt. Beginning in the late 1970’s, the town began hosting U.S. Air Force personnel assigned to Learmonth Solar Observatory, a defence science facility jointly operated with Australia’s Ionospheric Prediction Service.
Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt is located on the northwest coast of Australia, 6 kilometres north of the town of Exmouth, Western Australia. The town of Exmouth was built at the same time as the communications station to provide support to the base and to house dependent families of U.S. Navy personnel.
The station provides very low frequency (VLF) radio transmission to United States Navy and Royal Australian Navy ships and submarines in the western Pacific Ocean and eastern Indian Ocean. The frequency is 19.8 kHz. With a transmission power of 1 megawatt, it is the most powerful transmission station in the Southern Hemisphere.
n 1618, Dutch East India Company ship Mauritius under command of Supercargo Willem Janszoon, landed near North West Cape, just proximate to what would be Exmouth, and named Willem’s River, which was later renamed Ashburton River.
The location was first used as a military base in World War II. US Admiral James F. Calvert in his memoir, Silent Running: My Years on a World War II Attack Submarine, and US Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood in Sink ‘Em All, his narrative of Allied submarine warfare, describe its history. After the retreat from Java in March 1942, Allied naval forces had need of a forward base for replenishing submarines, then the sole form of offensive warfare against the Japanese. Both Darwin, Northern Territory, and Broome, Western Australia, were too exposed to air attack, so a 500-ton unmotorized lighter was placed as a refueling barge near the mouth of Exmouth Gulf, where the Allies were already maintaining a seaplane tender.
Code-named Potshot, the spartan base was also developed as an advanced base and rest camp for submariners using the tender USS Pelias. An airfield (now RAAF Learmonth) was constructed to provide fighter defense for the base. Z Special Unit used Potshot as a staging base for Operation Jaywick, a raid on Japanese shipping in Singapore Harbour, in September 1943.
Ningaloo Reef area.
Robe River Roadside Rest Area
Devils Creek Gas Plant
Devil’s Creek Gas Plant has a fresh water tap where you can fill up for the cost of a donation which goes to the Flyind Doctor Service.
Dampier is a major industrial port in the Pilbara region in the northwest of Western Australia. It is located near the city of Karratha and Port Walcott.
Dampier Port is part of the Dampier Archipelago and is primarily a port for the export of iron ore from Rio Tinto mines, LNG and salt. The port services petrochemical, salt, iron ore and natural gas export industries. Rio Tinto exports large volumes of iron ore, especially Pilbara blend through the port.
The town derives its name from its location on Dampier Island 3 km off the Pilbara Coast and part of the Dampier Archipelago, both named after the English navigator William Dampier. In 1963, the island became an artificial peninsula when it was connected to the mainland by a causeway for a road and railway. In 1979, Dampier Peninsular was renamed after Mt Burrup, the highest peak on the island, which had been named after Henry Burrup, a Union Bank clerk murdered in 1885 at Roebourne.
The town was built from 1965 onwards, to serve the railway transporting iron ore from Tom Price and Paraburdoo. By 1968, the further expansion of Dampier had been constrained by geographical factors and a new town of Karratha was established on the mainland as a result.
In 1699, Dampier, in command of the 26-gun warship HMS Roebuck on a mission to explore the coast of New Holland, following the Dutch route to the Indies, passed between Dirk Hartog Island and the Western Australian mainland into what he called Shark Bay. He then followed the coast northeast, on 21 August 1699, reaching the Dampier Archipelago, which he explored, naming Rosemary Island. He continued to Lagrange Bay, just south of what is now Roebuck Bay, before sailing for Timor.
The Roebuck’s voyage was the British Navy’s first expedition devoted to science and exploration—a harbinger of Samuel Wallis’s, Philip Carteret’s, and James Cook’s voyages to the Pacific in the next century and numerous expeditions in the North Atlantic in search of a Northwest Passage. Dampier’s orders included bringing back specimens from places he visited and “willing” inhabitants; among the crew was someone skilled in drawing. However, several factors complicated his mission: by leaving late (the ship departed on January 14, 1699, several months before the publication of Dampier’s second book), he lost the opportunity to take the preferable route around Cape Horn despite stopping in Brazil; as a non-Navy man, he immediately encountered difficulties with the sailors. Moreover, doubts about the soundness of the ship began to surface.
So the Roebuck approached New Holland from the west instead of the east, reaching the continent on August 1, 1699. They first made landfall at today’s Shark Bay, then proceeded northward for a month, during which time Dampier made a thorough scientific record of the area’s flora and fauna. His only encounter with Aborigines turned into a frightening skirmish in which he probably killed a man with his gun. In September, the ship sailed to Timor and then around the northern coast of New Guinea, where it encountered menacing natives every time the crew attempted a landing. On March 24, they entered a strait at the easternmost part of New Guinea that no voyager had previously noted; to the east was more land. Dampier had discovered new territory, which he called Nova Britannia, or New Britain. He could have sailed southward to fulfil his original plan of surveying the eastern coast of New Holland, but the Roebuck was worm-eaten, and the men were anxious to get home.
Swedish-born mariner Peter Hedland was the first European to note the harbour’s existence and the possibility of using it as a port. Peter Hedland arrived in the area in April 1863 onboard his boat Mystery, which he had built himself at Point Walter on the banks of the Swan River. He named the harbour Mangrove Harbour and reported that it would make a good landing site with a well protected harbour, and that there was also fresh water available. However, the port was initially regarded as unusable, due to a sandbar that frequently sealed the entrance and thick mangroves round the shore; further, the narrow entrance made the harbour difficult to enter in bad weather.
Port Hedland (Kariyarra: Marapikurrinya) is the second largest town in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, with an urban population of 14,320 at June 2018 including the satellite town of South Hedland, 18 km away. It is also the site of the highest tonnage port in Australia.
Port Hedland has a natural deep anchorage harbour which, as well as being the main fuel and container receiving point for the region, was seen as perfect for shipment of the iron ore being mined in the ranges located inland from the town. The ore is moved by railway from four major iron ore deposits to the east and south of the Port Hedland area. The port exported 519,408,000 tonnes of iron ore (2017-2018).
De Grey River Roadside Camp Area
Sandfire is a location and roadhouse on the Great Northern Highway in Western Australia between Port Hedland and Broome. It is on the western edge of the Great Sandy Desert, and east of Wallal Downs and Mandora Station. It is inland, and located 20 km from the coast in the region of the Mandora Marsh and the Eighty Mile Beach, 45 km north of the Kidson Track turnoff. The area surrounding the roadhouse is of high cultural significance to the Nyangumarta people, who hold native title over the area.
It is only one of three fuel stations (the others being Pardoo and Roebuck roadhouses) in the 610 km between those two towns
In April 2007, the Sandfire Roadhouse was extensively damaged by fire, leaving a $1.5 million damage bill. It was damaged again in December 2009. In the 2011 and 2012 cyclone seasons the location was included in warnings.
The petrol station, restaurant, bar, caravan park and motel accommodation is available between 7am and 7pm every day of the year.
After leaving De Grey River the winds predicted were from northeast giving a head on wind which uses more fuel, so we left at first light and drove to Pardoo Roadhouse before the wind kicked in, we booked into the caravan park there and next morning did the same leaving first light for Sandfire Roadhouse. It is a way of saving fuel.
Barn Hill Beachside Station Stay
Barn Hill Beachside Station Stay is situated within Thangoo Station, one of the few beef cattle stations in the Kimberley that is still family owned and operated, our caravan park is the gateway to more than 50 km of pristine untouched rugged coastline lined by the heavenly blue Indian ocean. It is 130 kilometres south of Broome by road.
For information: https://www.barnhill.com.au/
The powered sites are restricted to a 6 amp draw, anything above that the switch will trip as the power is local generator on the station, so no using air-conditioners or microwaves. It is a great place to stay and half the price of caravan parks in Broome.
You think you have a good picture of a rock formation and you take a few more steps and they seem to change again. Some of these pictures have more than one photo in them, I have stitched some together to make a panorama.
Then sunset comes along and the colours change and the rock formations glow.
Broome is a coastal, pearling and tourist town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, 1,681 km north of Perth. The urban population was 14,445 in June 2018 growing to over 45,000 per month during the peak tourist season (June to August).
It is often mistakenly thought that the first European to visit Broome was William Dampier in 1688, but he only visited the north of what was later named the Dampier Peninsula. In 1699 he explored the coast from Shark Bay to La Grange Bay, from where he headed north leaving the Australian coast. Many of the coastal features of the area were later named for 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 chose the site for the town, and it was named after Sir Frederick Broome, the Governor of Western Australia from 1883 to 1889.In 1801 the
French explorer, Nicolas Baudin, named Gantheaume Point. His investigation of the area was so cursory that he saw the red point through his telescope, thought it was separated from the mainland, and named it Gantheaume Island.
The explorer Phillip Parker King passed along the coastline in August 1821, noted Baudin’s error he renamed Gantheaume Island. King also named the bay Roebuck after Dampier’s ship.
Gantheaume Point. There are outcrops of Broome Sandstone, deposited in shallow water in this area in the Early Cretaceous period, about 130 million years ago. Footprints from dinosaurs of that time, and plant fossils, are preserved in the sandstone. At very low tide, dinosaur footprints can be seen about 30 metres out to sea.
Gantheaume Point lighthouse – the first lighthouse was commissioned in 1905 with construction completed in 1906 along with a four room keeper’s quarters and stone fireplace. The first lighthouse was a 47 foot steel tower with a kerosene light that the keeper would have to refuel and light.
In 1917 a new lighthouse was built that used acetylene as fuel which could be kept at the base of the tower in a large store. This automated the lighthouse and spelt the end of Gantheaume Point’s short history with a resident keeper. In 1922 the keeper’s quarters were sold to Patrick Percy and his wife Anastasia. The keeper’s quarters fell into dilapidation and eventually burnt down around 1970, leaving only the stone fireplace and chimney. The second lighthouse stood on Gantheaume Point until it was replaced in 1984 by the current stainless steel tower and electric light
The 1880s saw the commencement of Broome’s pearling industry, which initially involved slavery and indentured labour, pearl diving being an occupation reserved for specific ethnic groups. The Broome community came to “reflect the hierarchy of the pearling industry, which was based on occupation and ethnicity”. White collar occupations and positions of power were exclusively held by Europeans. As a consequence, racial segregation was common in Broome until the 1970s.
In 1889, a telegraph undersea cable was laid from Broome to Banjuwangi, East Java, connecting to England. Hence the name Cable Beach given to the landfall site.
Today pearls are no longer the only pillar of Broome’s economy. The 1980s saw a new industry emerge: tourism discovered Broome and is growing fast. Some say too fast. From 2,000 residents in 1980 Broome grew to 11,000 in 1999, by the far the fastest population increase in the history of Broome. Today the town has a population of over 14,000, is easy to reach and offers anything in terms of accommodation, dining, shopping and activities that a visitor could ask for.
My first visit to Broome was 1970 when I was in the Navy, it was very different then. This had me very interested in Broome after my visits in 2013 by sailing our catamaran around Australia, 2017, 2018 and 2019, I started looking at the places I knew of in earlier days. Broome and the Pearling Industry has a pretty dark past with the blackbirding and slavery of the indigenous Australians, There are a few books written on the subject and worth reading.
You can get some history here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-09/slavery-in-australian-pearling/10217488
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 1880s 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 the Shire of Broome purchased it. It is historically significant because it was used by pearling luggers to offload their pearl shells and to load supplies. It was still being used as recently as 1991. The huge tides at Broome mean that at very low tides it appears to be a jetty to nowhere and yet it is completely under water during King tides.
The firm of Streeters set up a store trading in pearls and mother of pearl shell and built the famous Roebuck Bay Hotel.The port attracted Malays, Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Europeans and Aborigines.
By 1887 the Broome pearling fleet was using diving apparatus made from canvas suits, copper helmets and boots, and rubber air–hoses.
By the 1910s Broome was a booming pearl fishing town. Before World War 1 there were 403 luggers operated out of the port. It was during this time it gained a reputation as wild and unruly. One old pearler recalled: “Broome in its early days was probably the most unique town in Australia. It was an affluent, sinful and tolerant community, in which the Clergy’s frequent references to Sodom and Gomorrah were regarded as appropriate tributes to civic progress, rather than warnings of future divine retribution.”
During the cyclone season there were over 3,000 Asian divers living in the town and Chinatown was known for its gaming houses, pubs, eating houses and brothels.
The economy of the town collapsed with the outbreak of war in 1914. The pearls and pearl shells could not be paid for and the warehouses in the town lay idle for the duration of the war.
The famous Sun Picture Garden opened on 9 December, 1916.
By the 1930s there were no white pearl fishers and the industry had been taken over by Japanese crews.
By 1939 there were only 50 luggers operating in the waters around Broome and the pearl industry was severely depressed.
The importance of the Japanese to Broome (they actually outnumbered Australians in 1941) was highlighted by World War 11. The entire Japanese population of Broome was interned thus crippling the already depressed pearl industry.
These pictures do not show the full amount of the graves caused through diving for mother pearl there are many more graves in the area. There are also more graves around Australia and Torres Strait on islands, we have witnessed some of these in the Kimberley of Japanese divers that had died from the bends. I also believe that some divers did not make it to a grave.
In 1942, with the Japanese threatening the northern coastline of Australia, a major evacuation of the town began. As the women and children left American and Australian servicemen arrived.
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. A second Japanese raid occurred on 20 March 1942.
By 1956 a cultured pearl consortium had been established in Broome.
By the 1980s cultured pearls were generating over $50 million per annum for the town.
Mother of Pearl was what was sought in the early days, it was a bonus if a pearl was found inside. Mother of Pearl was used for buttons and fine cutlery but the high demand ended due to discovering plastic in the 1950’s.
The Port of Broome has played a vital role in the past 126 years in the development of the North West. On 10 August 1889, just five years after Broome was founded, the Broome Port was proclaimed as a Warehousing Port.
In the first years the Port did not have a wharf to operate from so vessels would come in on the tide and sit on the bottom once the waters receded. Cargo was lowered over the sides of ships and carried to shore.
In 1896 the State Government awarded a contract to J Wishart & Sons for the construction of a 2,953 feet (about 900 metres) wharf at Mangrove Point (Town Beach) which was completed the following year.
The wharf was the headquarters of the pearling fleet, and essential to the cattle industry – a tradition which has continued into modern times. The Port was connected to the town by a tramway line which ran from Chinatown to the end of the wharf.
The wharf served as a ‘spring tide port’ and trading vessels could only enter and leave port on spring high tides. At low tide the flat bottomed vessels would rest on the muddy sand.
Construction on the present deep water wharf at Entrance Point began in February 1964 and was officially opened in July 1966.
My earlier times in Broome:
For more history in Broome – https://www.broomeandthekimberley.com.au/broome-history-culture/
I stated above the times I visited Broome the earliest time was 1970 on HMAS Moresby a survey ship spending sometime in the Port of Broome to refuels and store ship. One visit we were told that a fisherman was missing, he had fallen between two trawlers, going from one to the other after being at the pub. We spotted him some days later and our divers retrieved the body.
Naturally being sailors when we went ashore we headed for the local pub, those days there were two to choose from, The Continental or The Roebuck Bay, the latter having a reputation for being a little rough.
Matso’s Broome Brewery
Matso’s Store started life as the Union Bank of Australia Ltd and was built in 1910. It stood in Sheba Lane, which ran down the edge of Kennedys Hill. The Union Bank was the first bank in Broome and was to be a vital part of the financial life of the town for over 40 years.
During 1942 the Union Bank branch in Broome found itself trading unprofitably and caught in a rationalization of the banking industry. The year since the depression had not been kind and the pearling industry itself was changing. Plastics were beginning to have an impact on the industry. Nationally, although ninth largest, the Union Bank hadn’t been meeting expectations and was the target of a takeover. As a consequence the Union Bank was absorbed into the ANZ group.
Matsos Store was then purchased by Streeter and Male and relocated to the corner of Anne and Walcott Streets. It became known as the Number 2 Store, a name many locals still recall. When the building became surplus to the requirements of Streeter and Male, the building was transformed into a general store by the Matsumoto family and renamed Matsos Store a name which endures today. Matsos Store was eventually purchased by Lord McAlpine and once again moved to where it stands today on Hamersley Street.
In 1997 Matso’s was turned into a cafe, micro-brewery and art gallery. Back then the Brewery could only manage 200L at a time (just 4 kegs), truly micro! Martin & Kim purchased Matso’s in 2000 and took charge of the operations. The art gallery was then leased out so as to concentrate on the important things in life – beer & food! In 2004 a new full mash brewery capable of 1200L batches was installed and Matso’s beer really took off with local and visitors alike. The beer became so popular the bar staff helped the brewer with hand bottling, sticking on the labels and hand packing cartons between serving customers so people could take it home.
Herbert (Bert) Kennedy owned a fleet of luggers which were destroyed or sent to Fremantle during the Second World War. After the war he concentrated on building up his store which became one of the biggest in Broome. He died in Broome in 1977 at the age of 94.
I shopped there in 1970, you could buy anything in that store, presents for children, hardware, a tube of toothpaste or a new coat.
Shiba (or Sheba) Lane was named for Kamematsu Shiba who ran a Japanese boarding house in the area between 1901 and 1905. … It ran south from between Kennedy’s Store and what is now the Sheba Lane Café.
Bourne and Inglis store
In 1903, a store was built on Lot 213 by Herbert Greenhill Bourne and Percy Inglis, operating as Bourne & Inglis, storekeepers and pearlers. The building, with a steel frame, is believed to have been prefabricated in Britain and shipped out. In 1912, the store was leased by Norman Harper, one of three brothers trading as Harper Brothers, pearlers. In 1920, pearler David Lennie Dyson took over the lease and traded from the premises as Dyson & Co until at least 1963. The place was known locally as the Conti Store because it was opposite the Continental Hotel. Rate records for 1931-1955 indicate that there was also a dwelling on the site (since demolished). From 1949 to 1969, it was owned by Audrey Pamela Villiers Langdon Clement Nielsen of Virginia, USA, who was a member of the Gregory family. In 1969, it was purchased by Pearls Pty Ltd, trading as Paspaley Pearls, a company formed to develop the cultured pearl industry in Broome. They used the building for storage of pearling equipment for a number of years.
Johnny Chi Lane
Who was Johnny Chi and why was a lane in the heart of Chinatown named after him?
The tale begins with Captain Reddell, who along with his son, first mate and several crew members, were murdered, by his Koepanger crew who mutinied and sailed his brig Ethel to Koepang in Timor. They scuttled her out of sight of land, coming ashore in the dinghies, with a tale of being shipwrecked sailors.
John Chi, the Chinese cook, gave them away. The Dutch authorities arrested them and sent them to Fremantle where they were convicted of murder and hanged. Johnny Chi became a pearler himself in time and invested in property in Broome’s Chinatown, giving his name to Johnny Chi Lane, where he ran a long-soup kitchen.
The Broome area suffered a couple of cyclones early 2018, water is still up to the road middle of May.
Roebuck Plains Roadhouse
The Roebuck Plains Roadhouse is just over 30 kilometres from Broome, it has accommodation, Caravan Park and camping area. It also has a Tavern and serves good meals.
There is the intersection 180 kilometres north of Broome, 42 kilometres before Derby where you go straight ahead to Derby or turn right to go to Wyndham or Fitzroy Crossing. There is a large Boab Tree at this intersection, it is possible to stay overnight at this site, however, there are no facilities. There is a roadside stop half way between this intersection and Broome that has toilets and roofed tables and seats.
Below is the same tree but a different year to the above photos, these were taken earlier and we stayed the night to take photos at sunset, we had fun playing with the different light.
Derby was famous in the 1920s as the terminus of the first scheduled aviation service in Australia, West Australian Airways Ltd. Their service began with their first flight on 5 December 1921. At one time the Perth to Derby service was the world’s longest passenger airline route.
In 1968 the town had a population of approximately 1,500 many employed at the meatworks. A A$900,000 beef road from Glenroy Station to Derby was completed the same year to assist with the development of beef processing. A A$2 million steel and concrete jetty was built in 1965 to provide adequate port facilities for the shipment of live cattle.
During World War II, Derby was bombed by Japanese planes because of an air base and jetty that was used by Australian forces. More recently, refugees were housed at Royal Australian Air Force Base Curtin, however the detention centre was closed in 2014.
Myalls Bore, near Derby shows the ingenuity of the early farmers who drew water from the depths of the earth to fill a massive 120 metre long trough. The trough used to be filled by natural bore water under its own pressure, but now the water is fed by windmill pump.
Built in the early 1900s, the impressive historic trough provided water for up to 1,000 head of cattle at a time. It is said to be one of the longest cattle troughs in the southern hemisphere.
Boab Tree rest stop
After heading back down the track from Derby to the Broome-Wyndham intersection and turning left towards Fitzroy Crossing at approximately 50 kilometres is a roadside stop where you can stay for 24 hours, here is a large boab tree.