This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2007 Travels August 27


After much debate with myself, this morning I went back to the bead shop in China Town and indulged in quite a stock up. I planned to make really good bracelets for the females of the family, as well as ones for M and me, and perhaps some anklets as well.

In Broome, one’s thoughts tend to turn to jewellery, because of the ever-present reminders of the pearling industry to be found. Pearls were responsible for the early growth of the town, and both directly through the modern pearl farms, and indirectly through tourism, have helped sustain it in modern times.

The pearl oysters found in these waters are very large ones, which meant that, from the start of wild oyster harvesting in the 1860’s, some large pearls could be found. But also, the large shells were an excellent source of mother-of-pearl shell, used for things like buttons and handles for cutlery sets.

Diving to gather oysters became the province of Japanese divers, adding to the multi-culturalism of modern Broome. In the first part of the 20th century, an exemption to the White Australia Policy was made, to continue to permit the Japanese divers in Broome.

The mother of pearl industry was decimated by the post WW2 development of plastics, but from the 1970’s, pearl farms concentrating on producing pearls for fine jewellery developed and efforts to promote this have seen a change in the image of pearlĀ  jewellery and a revival in its popularity. The several outlets in Broome featured some superb items. I could easily spend a small fortune here – but to acquire some of the loveliest things would need one!

M and John went off together, fishing, from Cable Beach. They did not catch anything.

Broome streetscape

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2007 Travels August 26


It was very damp in the mornings, here. Sea mist or dew? There was much condensation under the awning roof, which dripped copiously on the table and anyone trying to use same, for several hours in the mornings.

John had organized that we three would, in the morning, play Scroungers bowls at the Broome Bowls Club. It was pleasant enough. They started early, to avoid the heat, so there was still plenty of the day left, after.

After that, we went to the markets in China Town. Didn’t think much of these. Yesterday’s Courthouse Markets were far superior.

I had a quick browse in a beading shop in China Town. They had some lovely materials – very tempting, but I resisted.

China Town – John being bored while I browse shops….

We had a Subway lunch at the Paspaley shopping centre – named for the family that is synonymous with the pearling industry in northern Australia.

We found a brilliant art gallery in that area.  It carried a lot of works from local indigenous artists, as well as the general run of items geared to tourist interest. I bought a wonderful painting by Melissa Waina, from Kalumburu. It was black Bradshaw type figures on a red brown background. Very effective and “different”. Her father, Kevin Waina, was also a talented artist.

M bought one of Melissa’s works too. A bit smaller than ours – and cheaper too! She bought a soft toy blue heeler dog, for a friend. M already travelled with a similar kelpie toy sitting on her passenger seat.

I went for an afternoon walk on Cable Beach.

There were bad bush fires around Broome – lots of smoke obscuring the sunsets. Apparently the worst of these was a control burn that got away! Red faces somewhere!

We had tea from Zanders take away at Cable Beach. We walked there from the caravan park. It was quite a wait for our order, but M and John’s fish and chips were excellent, as was my calamari and chips.

It was lovely to sit on the foreshore, eating tea and watching the evening light on the sea.