Town of around 15,000 in Western Australia
, around 2,200 kms north of Perth
. It is situated on a south hanging peninsula
, with Roebuck Bay to the east and the Indian Ocean
to the west, where the famous Cable Beach
lies. It is the largest town in the Kimberleys
, the remote far north of Western Australia
, and the nearest town of similar size is Port Hedland
, around 600 kms southwest.
Broome was founded in late nineteeth century as a centre for pearling, with the Palpasey family dominating the trade. It also was a telegraph cable station connecting Australia to Java from the early twentieth century. The town attracted immigrant workers from all over the world, including Japanese, Chinese,Timorese, Arabs and Tamils. This has led to a somewhat superficial multicultural tinge in the form of Japanese street names and several cemetries of different faiths and ethnicities.
The commercial centre of Broome is known as Chinatown, although it certainly does not have a discernable presence of Chinese people, Chinese architecture or even Chinese restaurants. The buildings instead are built in a uniquely tropical Australian style of colourbond corrugated metal wall panelling. Residential areas are south and southwest of Chinatown in areas known as Old Broome and Cable Beach, or north of Chinatown at Roebuck and Sunset Rise.
Broome was devastated by a cyclone in 1908, killing more than any other cyclone in Australia's history (including Cyclone Tracy). During World War Two it was a transit point for American servicemen and Dutch refugees fleeing Japanese-occupied Indonesia. Broome was bombed twice in 1942, killing in excess of 100 civilians and military.
Broome is now growing at a rapid pace, attracting people who like Broome's easy going lifestyle, splendid fishing and oddly cosmopolitan feel. Tourism is the main industry, but pearling still exists.