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THE KIMBERLEYS – DARWIN TO BROOME – AUSTRALIA (PHOTOS, POEMS AND VIDEOS)

January 30, 2013

THE KIMBERLEYS

Northern Western Australia


The Kimberley region is located in the northern part of Western Australia, extending from Broome in the west to Kununurra and Lake Argyle in the east, from the sea to a bit south of the main Great Northern Highway (Route 1). It covers about 421,000 square kilometres — slightly larger than Japan and much larger than United Kingdom, New Zealand, or the Australian state of Victoria. It is bordered on the west by the Indian Ocean, on the north by the Timor Sea, on the south by the Great Sandy Desert, and on the east by the Northern Territory. Click on the map to see it larger.

Map of Kimberley regionThe Kimberley has only three towns with a population of more than 2,000 (Broome, Derby and Kununurra), and the total population is only around 25,000. In addition to Route 1 (a sealed road), which runs along the southern part of the area, the unsealed Gibb River Road runs through the heart of the region from Derby to the highway near Kununurra. Access to much of the region is by dirt road (often impassable in the wet season), air (a helicopter is necessary for many parts) or sea.

The Kimberley region was one of the earliest settled parts of Australia, with numerous groups of people arriving over thousands of years from the islands of what is now Indonesia. European settlement, however, is quite recent, dating from around 1885, when the MacDonalds and the Duracks arrived to set up cattle stations, having spent several years droving their cattle from the eastern colonies. Many other Europeans arrived soon after, when gold was discovered around Halls Creek. Although the gold rush didn’t last long, some people stayed.

Other industries have included pearling (a big industry in Broome for many years until the 1940s), mining (including the Argyle Diamond mine, which began operation in 1983 and is still producing about 1/3 of the world’s diamonds), agriculture (centred on the Ord River Irrigation Area near Lake Argyle) and tourism. The geology of the area is varied and fascinating, as well as producing some spectacular scenery. You can also see some ancient Aboriginal rock art.

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History of Darwin

Darwin was founded in 1869 and was originally called Palmerston before being renamed Port Darwin in 1911. The harbour was discovered in 1839 by the Captain of the Beagle, John Lort Stokes, who named it after a former shipmate, British evolutionist Charles Darwin.

The town’s growth was accelerated when gold was discovered at Pine Creek, 200 km south, in 1871.

Darwin was the scene of the first enemy attack on Australian soil during WWII.

At 0958 hours on 19 February 1942, a strike force of 188 carrier-borne Japanese aircraft dropped the first bombs on Darwin, killing 243 people, including 49 civilians, and wounding 300-400. That first air raid destroyed many public buildings, including the post office (where 9 people perished after a direct hit on the bomb shelter). Eight allied ships were sunk in Darwin Harbour and 24 allied aircraft were destroyed. A second enemy air raid at noon that day targetted the Darwin RAAF base.

Between February 1942 and October 1943, the Japanese launched more than 60 air raids over Darwin.

Darwin was also the scene of the biggest airlift in Australian history after Cyclone Tracy devastated the city in the early hours of Christmas Day 1974. Cyclone Tracy killed 66 people and injured thousands more. Many of those who died or were injured were struck by flying debris. Others perished in ships sunk in the harbour.

More than 30,000 of the city’s then 43,000 people were evacuated to cities and towns all over Australia immediately after the devastation of Tracy. But Darwin is a hard place to stay away from and most have come back to resume their lives here. A massive post-cyclone rebuilding program gradually turned Darwin into the most modern capital city in the nation.

A VIEW OF DARWIN FROM THE DECK OF THE ORION CRUISE SHIP

A VIEW OF DARWIN FROM THE DECK OF THE ORION CRUISE SHIP

EAST TIMOR

East Timor is located in the eastern part of Timor, an island in the Indonesian archipelago that lies between the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. East Timor includes the enclave of Oecussi, which is located within West Timor (Indonesia). After Indonesia, East Timor’s closest neighbor is Australia, 400 mi to the south. It is semiarid and mountainous.

HISTORYTimor was first colonized by the Portuguese in 1520. The Dutch, who claimed many of the surrounding islands, took control of the western portion of the island in 1613. Portugal and the Netherlands fought over the island until an 1860 treaty divided Timor, granting Portugal the eastern half of the island as well as the western enclave of Oecussi (the first Portuguese settlement on the island). Australia and Japan fought each other on the island during World War II; nearly 50,000 East Timorese died during the subsequent Japanese occupation.In 1949, the Netherlands gave up its colonies in the Dutch East Indies, including West Timor, and the nation of Indonesia was born. East Timor remained under Portuguese control until 1975, when the Portuguese abruptly pulled out after 455 years of colonization. The sudden Portuguese withdrawal left the island vulnerable. On July 16, 1976, nine days after the Democratic Republic of East Timor was declared an independent nation, Indonesia invaded and annexed it. Although no country except Australia officially recognized the annexation, Indonesia’s invasion was sanctioned by the United States and other western countries, who had cultivated Indonesia as a trading partner and cold-war ally (Fretilin, the East Timorese political party spearheading independence, was Marxist at the time).

A brief stop over in Com, East Timor, while the ship cleared customs we were allowed to take photographs of the people selling crafts.
Australia like many other countries, has this weird ruling that foreign registered ships have to visit a foreign port on a cruise – East Timor was ours.
CHILDREN SELLING SHAWLS TO ORION PASSENGER SHIP TOURISTS
CHILDREN SELLING SHAWLS TO ORION PASSENGER SHIP TOURISTS
CUSTOMERS ONLY HAVE TWENTY MINUTES TO DO THEIR SHOPPING BEFORE RETURNING TO THE SHIP

CUSTOMERS ONLY HAVE TWENTY MINUTES TO DO THEIR SHOPPING BEFORE RETURNING TO THE SHIP

THE POLICE ARE WATCHING, WHILE ORION SHIP PERSONNELFINISH THER CUSTOM DECLARATIONS
THE POLICE ARE WATCHING, WHILE ORION SHIP PERSONNEL
FINISH THEIR CUSTOM DECLARATIONS
A FINAL GOODBY TO  CUSTOM OFFICER MARIO DOS SANTOS
A FINAL GOODBY TO CUSTOM OFFICER MARIO DOS SANTOS
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WYNDHAM
Wyndham, Western Australia’s most northerly town, is about as isolated as any town in Australia can be. It sits on the edge of the Cambridge Gulf slowly boiling under the oppressive tropical sun, surrounded by salt lakes, desert and mudflats which stretch to the horizon. It is located 3351 km from Perth via the North West Coastal Highway and 930 km from Derby.

It is, like so many of the towns in the Kimberleys, actually two towns. There is old Wyndham (known as Wyndham Port) sweltering in the heat under that part of the Erskine Range known as ‘The Bastion’ and, a few kilometres up the Gulf on the road to Kunanurra there is Wyndham Three Mile (sometimes known as Wyndham East).

The traditional Aboriginal inhabitants of the area were the Djeidji, Dulngari and Aruagga tribes who lived on the rich harvest of seafood available in the gulf.

The first European explorer into the area was Phillip Parker King who sailed the 83 ton cutter Mermaid around La Crosse Island and into the body of water he subsequently named Cambridge Gulf after the then Duke of Cambridge. King arrived in the region on 19 September 1819. He had been given the brief to explore the far western Australian coast and discover a river ‘likely to lead to an interior navigation into the great continent’. He sailed up a river (which was subsequently named after him) and, unable to find any signs of fresh water on the mudflats, depa

King’s description was so pessimistic that no Europeans visited the area for the next sixty years. It wasn¹t until 1879 that Alexander Forrest (see Kunanurra for more detail) travelled through the area and sent back reports of the huge pastoral potential. These reports excited the interest of Solomon Emanuel and Patrick Durack who sent a party to the area in 1881 which confirmed Forrest’s earlier assessment.

In 1883 John Forrest, at the time the WA Commissioner of Lands, surveyed the area and hinted that the area Œbore distinct indications of gold¹. It was in that same year that Patrick ‘Patsy’ Durack began his epic trek from southwest Queensland to the region with 7250 head of breeding cattle and 200 horses. It was the longest overlanding of cattle ever attempted in Australia and lasted 2 years and four months.

1884 saw the first settlement of the East Kimberley. The isolation of the area at this time was truly horrific. The Cushidoo was the first ship to land supplies at the site of Wyndham. The supplies were meant for the Ord River Station but by the time people from the station arrived to collect the shipment the local Aborigines had removed all but a few bags of well hidden flour. This was also the year when Charlie Hall (see Halls Creek) discovered gold in the East Kimberley thus sparking a goldrush to the region.

In 1885 Wyndham was established as a port and trading station. A couple of general stores were opened and the first shipment of cattle and sheep arrived in the Gulf.

By 1886 the town was booming. There were six pubs (including a large two storey building which was only knocked down in 1965), ships landed at least 5000 miners who all headed off to the Halls Creek goldfields, a townsite near the present day meatworks was surveyed and blocks of land sold (mostly to speculators who never inspected their purchases), and a number of shanties and resting spots grew up along the track to the goldfields. It is known that during this boom there were times when up to 16 vessels were moored in Cambridge Gulf.

The goldrush at Halls Creek was short lived. By 1888 the rush was over and the effect on the fortunes of Wyndham was obvious. One remnant from this period is the ruins of the Magistrate¹s Residence (turn east around the northern end of the mudflats beyond the hotel at Wyndham Port – it is worthwhile stopping at the Tourist Information Centre and getting a copy of the mud map of the two townships).

There seems to be some confusion about the Magistrate’s Residence. Some sources claim that it was never completed because the local Aborigines harassed the builders. Others claim that the walls once rose to a height of 22 feet (6.7 metres) and that a number of magistrates lived in the residence until it was closed down in the early 1900s.

From 1888 until 1919 Wyndham was a tiny settlement serving the pastoral interests in East Kimberley. Stories of this period have an amusing, outback feel to them. The arrival of the Overland Telegraph Line in 1889 provided the local Aborigines with an excellent source of spearheads as they climbed up the poles and helped themselves to the ceramic insulators. In 1900 the population of the town comprised 61 people of voting age of whom 60 voted for federation. The solitary anti-federationist never disclosed his or her identity.

By 1912 money had virtually disappeared from the town’s economy with everything being paid for with promissory notes known as ‘shinplasters’ which were issued by publicans and storekeepers. To the delight of the people who issued them these ‘shinplasters’ often became illegible if left in a sweaty pocket for too long.

By World War 1 the town was effectively controlled by the Duracks who owned the nearby cattle stations. It was therefore appropriate that in 1913 the WA Government started constructing the Wyndham Meatworks. Work was interrupted by the war but the Meatworks were finally completed in 1919. They continued to be the town¹s main economic raison d¹etre until they was closed down in 1985. The last bullock was killed and exported on 10 October, 1985.

Today Wyndham Port is still operational but it exports live cattle to Asia and lead and zinc to Korea. The town¹s newest industry is an export crocodile farm (located just beyond the old Magistrates Residence). It is hoped that eventually up to 3000 crocodiles a year can be farmed.

With a population of between 1200-1500 Wyndham is now partly sustained by tourism as more and more travellers visit this strange and exotic old port.

Writers and commentators have not been terribly kind to Wyndham. Most of the travel writers have suggested that the town has a special charm but, having said that, they have proceeded to paint a picture which has more than a passing resemblance to hell.

In 1951 George Farwell in his book The Outside Track described the town as ‘a lonely pin-point of settlement upon a vast and empty landscape of tidal estuaries, mangroves, unpeopled valley floors and barren, tree-less ranges’ and two years later Leslie Rees painted a grim picture of the town as having a foreground of ‘empty 44-gallon drums, beer bottles, old tins, bits of sheet iron, termite-eaten wood. A background of salt marshes and harsh, desolate hills under the torrid sun’. Neither of these descriptions is flattering to Wyndham. However they do evoke the strangeness of this town on the far edge of the continent.

WYNDHAM JETTY

WYNDHAM JETTY

WYNDHAM JETTY - IN THE DISTANCE  IS THE OLD MEAT WORKS

WYNDHAM JETTY – IN THE DISTANCE IS THE OLD MEAT WORKS

ORD RIVER CRUISE to LAKE ARGYLE
The Ord River is one of the most stunning river systems in Australia. The cruise navigates a massive 55km stretch of river between Kununurra and Lake Argyle (Ord River Dam). It is an ecological system that has developed from the damming of the Ord River at two locations. The first of these was the Diversion Dam, which formed Lake Kununurra in 1963, and the second was the construction of an enormous wall in 1972 much further upstream, which created Lake Argyle.

What has resulted in between is an area rich in wildlife, flora and scenic beauty. Lunch will be provided either at the riverside camp or at Resort Lake Argyle, with refreshments provided along the way.

THE ORD RIVER
THE ORD RIVER
ALONG THE BANKS OF THE ORD RIVER THERE IS MUCH TO SEE
ALONG THE BANKS OF THE ORD RIVER THERE IS MUCH TO SEE
OSPREY BIRD NEST IN AN OLD BOAB TREE
OSPREY BIRD NEST IN AN OLD BOAB TREE
A ABUNDANCE OF BIRD LIFE ON THE ORD RIVER

A ABUNDANCE OF BIRD LIFE ON THE ORD RIVER

EGRET ON THE ORD RIVER
EGRET ON THE ORD RIVER
BOAB TREES ALONG THE ORD RIVER
BOAB TREES ALONG THE ORD RIVER
The main Ord River Dam, known locally as "Top Dam" holds back the waters of the Ord River in Lake Argyle. The Ord scheme created Lake Argyle, which is Australia's largest dam, covering an area of
The main Ord River Dam, known locally as “Top Dam” holds back the waters of the Ord River in Lake Argyle. The Ord scheme created Lake Argyle, which is Australia’s largest dam, covering an area of 741 Km.
LOOKING DOWN AT THE WINDING ORD RIVER ATOP THE ORD RIVER DAM
LOOKING DOWN AT THE WINDING ORD RIVER ATOP THE ORD RIVER DAM
PUMPING STATION AT THE ORD RIVER DAM

PUMPING STATION AT THE ORD RIVER DAM

ord river plaque
ord river plaque
LAKE ARGYLE SEEN FROM THE ORD RIVER DAM

LAKE ARGYLE SEEN FROM THE ORD RIVER DAM

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KING GEORGE RIVER AND FALLS
Today Orion will drop anchor in Koolama Bay. Originally known as King George Bay, the area was renamed after the merchant ship Koolama was bombed near here by Japanese aircraft during World War II. The 12km journey up the King George River reveals some of the world’s most spectacular scenery and a wealth of bird species. The almost vertical sheer canyon walls have been eroded over millions of years and look like stacks of sandstone reminiscent of a child’s building blocks. The King George River drains the Gardner Plateau and the falls are the highest single-drop falls in the whole of the Kimberley (100m or 330ft). Whether you experience the mighty thundering of the falls early in the season, or have the chance to get up close and personal later in the year, you’ll be in awe of the sight.

Koolama Wreck

The remains of this State Ship lie just off the wharf and can occasionally be seen on a very low tide. During World War II the Japanese from off the North Kimberley Coast, bombed the Koolama and the story of its subsequent journey to and demise just off Wyndham Port is now part of Kimberley folklore.

War service and the “Koolama incident”
In January 1942, following the outbreak of war with JapanKoolama carried members of the ill-fated 8th Division and their equipment to Ambon and West Timor, in Netherlands East Indies. On the return voyage she carried Dutch refugees to Darwin.
On February 10, Koolama — under Captain Jack Eggleston — sailed from Fremantle, bound for Darwin with Australian Army personnel and equipment, as well as some convicts onwork release and regular civilian passengers. Although the soldiers on board were armed only with rifles, the ship carried a 50 mm (1.97 in) gun on its rear poop deck, which was intended for use against submarines and could not be aimed above level for anti-aircraft purposes. However, Koolama was carrying Vickers 0.303 inch machine guns mounted on each side of the bridge.
At 11.30 am on February 20, 1942, a day after the first Japanese air raids on DarwinKoolama was off the coast of the Kimberley, when it was attacked by a Japanese Kawanishi H6Kflying boat near Cape Londonderry. Three or four bombs landed near the ship but caused no damage. Eggleston reported the attack by radio and continued towards Darwin.
At 1.30pm, three Kawanishis — led by Lt Cmdr Tsunaki Yonehara — attacked the ship again, over a period of 30 minutes. Three bombs hit the ship.[2] One 60 kg (132 lb) bomb, dropped from a height of 800 m (2,625 ft), went through wooden decking, struck a civilian passenger, Raymond Theodore “Bluey” Plummer, glancing blows to his head, arm and foot, before falling into an engine room and exploding.[3] Plummer was facing down and a tailfin on the bomb struck the back of his head, peeling away the scalp as far as his nose, along with a piece of his skull.[4] Although Plummer’s brain was partly exposed, he remained alive, albeit unconscious. The bomb also caused injuries to his arm and foot. Two other passengers were also injured.
Koolama was severely damaged. Later that afternoon, with the ship taking water at the stern, and its steering and internal communications out of action, Eggleston decided to beach the ship in Rulhieres Bay (later known as Koolama Bay). He sent an SOS by radio and ordered that the ship be evacuated by lifeboat, but did not officially abandon Koolama.[5] The following day, as the evacuees awaited help in an inhospitable area of mangroves, inhabited by many saltwater crocodiles, Japanese planes attacked again, albeit without effect.

Eggleston and his first officer, Ken Reynolds — who was also a qualified ship’s master — disagreed regarding the best course of action. The captain wanted to refloat Koolama, using the high tide, and head back to the small port of Wyndham; he believed that the ship could pump out enough water to survive 48 hours at sea, and could be steered with its engines. However, Reynolds believed that Koolama should be abandoned. The crew split into two factions along these lines. Because of this, some people would later accuse Reynolds of mutiny.
While they waited for assistance, the crew undertook some repairs to the stern.

On February 25, a lugger crewed by Benedictine priests and Aboriginal people from the nearest settlement, Drysdale River Mission (later known as Kalumburu), almost 100 kilometres (80 mi) away, arrived to take the sick, wounded and women passengers to the mission, a journey of 24 hours. After enduring a week on the shore, most of the passengers and crew members began to walk to Drysdale River, guided by a priest.

By March 1, all possible on-site repairs has been completed and the badly damaged Koolama, with Eggleston, 18 crew members, three civilian passengers and two military personnel, was refloated and set off for Wyndham. The bomb damage, including blown rivets, was worsened by the stress of movement, and as Koolama approached the port on the morning of March 2, about 24 hours after leaving Rulhieres Bay, its pumps could no longer keep up with the inflow of water.[6]

By 7pm, Eggleston and his party had unloaded most of the cargo, including army vehicles and other military equipment.[7] The pumps were run throughout the night and unloading resumed at 6.00 am.[8] However, the pumps were becoming clogged with mud and the ship was still taking water. Just after 7.00 am on March 3, eight Japanese Zero fighters, led by Sub Lt Toshitada Kawazoi, made a strafing attack on Wyndham.[8] This air raid caused no apparent damage to the Koolama, but Eggleston and his crew remained on shore for the rest of the day, in case follow-up raids occurred.[9] By 4pm, Koolama was down at the stern and listing to starboard. At about 4.45 pm the ship rolled onto its side in the shallow water. It was written off.


KING GEORGE RIVER

The Orion  drops anchor in Koolama Bay. Originally known as King George Bay, the area was renamed after the merchant ship Koolama was bombed near here by Japanese aircraft during World War II. The 12km journey up the King George River reveals some of the world’s most spectacular scenery and a wealth of bird species. The almost vertical sheer canyon walls have been eroded over millions of years and look like stacks of sandstone reminiscent of a child’s building blocks. The King George River drains the Gardner Plateau and the falls are the highest single-drop falls in the whole of the Kimberley (100m or 330ft). Whether you experience the mighty thundering of the falls early in the season, or have the chance to get up close and personal later in the year, you’ll be in awe of the sight.

KING GORGE RIVER

KING GORGE RIVER

KING GEORGE RIVER -

KING GEORGE RIVER

KING GEORE RIVER SANDSTONE CLIFFSIDES
KING GEORGE RIVER SANDSTONE CLIFF SIDES
KING GEORGE RIVER
KING GEORGE RIVER
SAILBOAT ON THE KING GEORGE RIVER

SAILBOAT ON THE KING GEORGE RIVER

KING GEORGE RIVER AND THE FALLS IN THE DISTANCE
KING GEORGE RIVER AND THE FALLS IN THE DISTANCE
KING GEORGE RIVER FALLS

KING GEORGE RIVER FALLS

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VANSITTART BAY

Vansittart Bay is our destination, located at the southern end of Vansittart Bay. The island was so named by the explorer Phillip Parker King for the shards of pottery he found there, most likely left behind by Macassan traders. Other remnants of visits by the Macassans are tamarind trees which are not native to the Kimberley. After landing ashore, our destination will be an outdoor art gallery of Gwion Gwion (otherwise known as Bradshaw) Aboriginal art. Named after Joseph Bradshaw, the first European person to record them in 1891, the rock images are hard to date. It is believed they were created at least 17,000 yrs ago with some theories indicating they could be even older, potentially up to over 50,000 years ago when humans first explored this continent. If this is the case, the images are possibly the oldest known to man.

After arrival in Vansittart Bay we will go ashore via Zodiac to a beach landing on Jar Island. There, our Expedition Team will take you on a short walk, past some fascinating rock formations, to the site of the Gwion Gwion art gallery.

The walk to the art site over uneven ground is relatively easy with only one small rock ledge to negotiate, however the access to the majority of the art is a little difficult and includes scrambling over large boulders and crawling under rock overhangs. The reward is a stunning gallery of this ancient and mystical art form.

VANSITTART BAYROCKY COVE

VANSITTART BAY
ROCKY COVE

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BRADSHAW ART

Gwion Gwion figures occur in rock art throughout the central and west Kimberley. They are also called Bradshaw figures after Joseph Bradshaw, the first European person to describe them in 1891. They usually appear as thin and elegantly drawn figures in mulberry red ochre. They are of great age and are regarded by Aboriginal people of the west Kimberley as an important part of their cultural heritage.

This ancient image has two names or forms according to the Ngarinyin lawmen of the west Kimberley in whose country they abound.

Gwion Gwion started up Stone Age. He made those paintings when he was a man. Before he was a bird. He made that gimbu – stone point, and tomahawk. Cracked open that rock, made spear and gimbu. Started up the Law from this time. Made knife. That’s how they get ‘im out of that string (vein), that blood, initiation. Use that gimbu to get out that blood. Those Djinarrgi Djinarrgi dancing together, in a row, a circle, ceremony. That’s why ceremony keeps going today, from those images. The Gwion Gwion bird has a long nose. It’s hard to find him because he walks around at night. We know how to find him. I’m Gwion Gwion Man” (David Mowaljarlai (d.1997) in conversation with Paddy Neowarra, Paddy Wamma and Laurie Cowanulli (d. 2000)

Gwion Gwion is the name of a long-beaked bird which pecks at the rock face to catch insects, and pecks into tissue, sometimes drawing blood. In Ngarinyin cosmology the Gwion Gwion started out as a spirit-man. He cracked open rocks to reveal the stone tools locked inside, the gimbu (knife), spear point and axe. The gimbu was then able to be used for initiation, and with the other stone tool technology, for hunting and gathering
As ‘spirit-man’, Gwion Gwion is also known as ‘Djinarrgi Djinarrgi‘, or ‘Messenger’. When in the presence of the Djinarrgi, people have to be very quiet and reverent. In some images Djinarrgi Djinarrgi appear to be dancing in circles, and in lines, often passing objects from one to the other. In this form they represent the gift of ceremony, and the sharing system that ceremony celebrates. To this day, Ngarinyin men dress in the same way as the Djinarrgi, for ceremony and dance.

All the rock art images appear as stains on the rock surface with no trace of any surface pigments. Blank spaces in some of the paintings suggests that they were originally painted in more than one colour. The depiction of multiple-barbed spears suggests that they were painted before the development of modern pressure-flaking techniques and they are often painted over by other images, indicating that they are of considerable age.

Joseph Bradshaw was obviously impressed with the paintings he first saw in 1891 while walking in a gorge in the Prince Regent River area. His notes from the trip were subsequently published in the Transactions of the Royal Geographical Society of Victoria in 1892:

We saw numerous caves and recesses in the rocks, the walls of which were adorned with native drawings. coloured in red, black, brown, yellow, white and a pale blue. Some of the human figures were life size, the bodies and limbs were attenuated and represented as having numerous tassel-shaped adornments appended to their hair, neck, waist, arms and legs; but the most remarkable fact in connection with these drawings is that whenever a profile face is shown the features are of a most pronounced aquiline type, quite different from the native we encountered. Indeed, looking at some of the groups one might think himself viewing the painted walls of an Egyptian temple. These sketches seemed to be a great age

Dating the rock art images is difficult. So far, two different techniques have been used (at different sites). One analysis of single quartz grains embedded in a mud wasp nest using the luminescence method gave a minimum date of 17,500 (±1,800) years before present (BP). Another analysis using the radiocarbon method gave more a recent date of 1,450 to 3,900 years BP. The disparity between these dates may reflect problems with the dating techniques, or it may reflect the fact that the images are part of a very long art tradition in the Kimberley stretching across hundreds of generations.

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF BRADSHAW ART:

DEPICTION OF AN ANIMAL THAT IS 35,000 YEARS OLD

DEPICTION OF AN ANIMAL THAT IS 35,000 YEARS OLD

THESE FIGURES ARE BARELY DISCERNABLE

THESE FIGURES ARE BARELY DISCERNABLE

BRADSHAW FIGURES

BRADSHAW FIGURES

A GUIDE SHOWS US THREE FIGURES

A GUIDE SHOWS US THREE FIGURES

HERE ARE 3 FIGURES EACH WITH A HEADDRESS, WITH THE FIGURE ON THE LEFT WITH A DILLY BAG (a traditional Australian Aboriginal bag, generally woven from the fibres of plant species of the Pandanus genus.[verification needed]. It is used for a variety of food transportation and preparation purposes).

HERE ARE 3 FIGURES EACH WITH A HEADDRESS, WITH THE FIGURE ON THE LEFT WITH A DILLY BAG (a traditional Australian Aboriginal bag, generally woven from the fibres of plant species of the Pandanus genus.[verification needed]. It is used for a variety of food transportation and preparation purposes).

BRADSHAW FIGURES (CLOSE UP)

BRADSHAW FIGURES (CLOSE UP)

BRADSHAW FIGURE KNOWN AS THE SKIER

BRADSHAW FIGURE KNOWN AS THE SKIER

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VANSITTART BAY NEAR CAPE LONDONDERRY

Today’s highlight was a walking tour across a salt flat to view the wreckage of an American, World War II, DC-3 aircraft.

The plane’s American pilots, who were ferrying two local phone operators from Perth, neglected to take their navigator on board for the flight.  After getting lost and running low on fuel, they crash-landed. Luckily, everyone survived.

While the body of the plane is in good condition, during the war the nearby Truscott Airfield scavenged many of its parts.

C-53 SKYTROOPER AIRCRAFT (A MODIFIED DC-3 TROOP AND CARGO CARRIER)

C-53 SKYTROOPER AIRCRAFT (A MODIFIED DC-3 TROOP AND CARGO CARRIER)

C-53 SKYTROOPER AIRCRAFT

C-53 SKYTROOPER AIRCRAFT

C-53 SKYTROOPERARCRAFT

C-53 SKYTROOPER
AIRCRAFT

C-53 SKYTROOPER (TAIL SECTION)

C-53 SKYTROOPER (TAIL SECTION)

C-53 SKYTROOPER COCKPIT

C-53 SKYTROOPER COCKPIT

C-53 SKYTROOPER (INTERIOR)

C-53 SKYTROOPER (INTERIOR)

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HUNTER RIVER TO MITCHELL FALLS VIA HELICOPTER

Hunter River (helicopter to Mitchell Falls)
Arguably one of the most scenic parts of the Kimberley coast, Prince Frederick Harbour and the Hunter River are lined with green rainforest, mangroves and soaring red cliffs. Cliffs at the river mouth are some 200 metres high and to the north Mt. Anderson rises to an impressive 480 metres. The Orion will drop anchor close to Naturalist Island, the proper name of which is “Wunumpurramarra”, on the northern side of the harbour.  The distance from Naturalist’s Island to the famous Mitchell Falls & Plateau is about 50km and you’ll fly over some spectacular terrain. From the air you’ll notice the natural bush landscape is littered with an unexpected feature.Aboriginals have lived on the land for thousands of years and this area is the land of the Wunambal people. You can explore this magnificent waterfall system, created by the Mitchell River as it carves its way through the sandstone margins of the Mitchell Plateau.Fan palms abound in stunning display, some as old as 250 years stretch tall into the clear blue skies. Biologists have found more than 220 bird species, 50 different mammals, and 88 types of amphibians and reptiles on the Mitchell Plateau.

A HELICOPTER HAAS JUST LANDED ON THE MITCHELL PLATEAU

A HELICOPTER HAS JUST LANDED ON THE MITCHELL PLATEAU

HUNTER RIVER SEEN FROM ABOVE

HUNTER RIVER SEEN FROM ABOVE

MITCHELL FALLS SEEN FROM THE HELICOPTER

MITCHELL FALLS SEEN FROM THE HELICOPTER

MITCHELL FALLS AS SEEN FROM THE RIM

MITCHELL FALLS AS SEEN FROM THE RIM

MITCHELL FALLS SEEN FROM BELOW THE RIM

MITCHELL FALLS SEEN FROM BELOW THE RIM

ALONG THE COAST OF NATURALIST ISLAND

ALONG THE COAST OF NATURALIST ISLAND

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Montgomery Reef  – Raft Point

Arriving at high tide, you’ll see very little of Montgomery Reef. However as the tide drops rapidly away a raging torrent of water, cascading off the top of this 400ha reef, erupts as miles of surrounding reef appears to slowly rise out of the ocean. A Zodiac maneuvers you into a channel in the reef as water cascades down on either side. It’s the perfect spot to watch cormorants, egrets and sandpipers forage for sea life trapped on the surface of the reef. Below the waterline opportunistic sea turtles, reef sharks and many larger fish also take advantage of this feast.

What you are witnessing is the power of the immense Kimberley tidal movements which literally create daily hundreds of waterfalls cascading off the reef and a massive lagoon as the boat lowers almost up to 10 metres with the natural drop of sea level. 300 sq. kms of surrounding reef become exposed with natural cascades forming as trapped surface water rushes off the reef top.
Montgomery Reef offers a spectacular array of marine life. Here you may see whales, dolphins, dugong, turtles, manta rays and the black tipped reef shark continually patrolling the reef ledges.
Montgomery Reef was named by Phillip Parker King after Andrew Montgomery, the the surgeon on his survey vessel, Mermaid.

TIDES BEGIN T RECEDE IN THE AFTENOON AT MONTGMERY REEF

TIDES BEGIN T RECEDE IN THE AFTERNOON AT MONTGOMERY REEF

THE WATER AS RECEDED OFF THE MONTGOMERY REEF

THE WATER AS RECEDED OFF THE MONTGOMERY REEF

EGRET ON MONTGOMERY REEF

EGRET ON MONTGOMERY REEF

OSPREY HAS CAUGHT A FISH AT MONTGOMERY REEF

OSPREY HAS CAUGHT A FISH AT MONTGOMERY REEF

GREEN TURTLE AT MONTGOMERY REEF (The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is a large and attractive marine turtle that spends almost its entire life at sea. However, during the summer months, the females come ashore to nest on some mainland beaches and many offshore islands of northern Australia. It is one of only six marine turtle species found in Western Australia, and they are all endangered. In the past, the animal was boiled up into soup and its fat was green, which is the reason for its name.)

GREEN TURTLE AT MONTGOMERY REEF (The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is a large and attractive marine turtle that spends almost its entire life at sea. However, during the summer months, the females come ashore to nest on some mainland beaches and many offshore islands of northern Australia. It is one of only six marine turtle species found in Western Australia, and they are all endangered. In the past, the animal was boiled up into soup and its fat was green, which is the reason for its name.) (See Video below)

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RAFT POINT

After landing ashore At Raft Point  spectacular outdoor Aboriginal art gallery. The art is an account of the mythical Wandjina clan on the ‘Great Fish Chase’. There are images of the Wandjina spirits with their distinctive haloes and dugong, crocodiles, fish and snakes.
We walk to the extensive rock art sites. The walk is approximately one hour uphill over rocky uneven ground with several locations that involve scrambling over rocks. One of the Wandjina galleries is easily accessed once you reach the top of the hill, another is a little more difficult to access.

RAFT POINT LOCAL ARTISTS SELL THEIR WORK BASED ON THE WANDJINA ROCK PAINTINGS

RAFT POINT LOCAL ARTISTS SELL THEIR WORK BASED ON THE WANDJINA ROCK PAINTINGS

PAINTINGS BY TE WORONA PEOPLE

PAINTINGS BY TE WORONA PEOPLE

TYPICAL MOTIVESFOUND AT RAFT POINT

TYPICAL MOTIVES
FOUND AT RAFT POINT

 Wandjina figures are some of the most visually striking of all images in Kimberley art, the Wandjina people said to be 'the creator beings of the Dreaming' and that they made their world and all it contains.Wandjina are usually painted as full-length, or head and shoulder figures, either standing or lying horizontally. Their large mouthless faces feature enormous black eyes flanking a beak-like nose. The head is usually surrounded by a band with outward radiating lines. Elaborate head-dresses are both the hair of the Wandjinas and clouds. Long lines coming from the hair are the feathers which they wore and the lightning which they control. Ceremonies to ensure the timely beginning of the monsoon wet season and sufficient rainfall are held in December and January, following which the rains usually begin.

Wandjina figures are some of the most visually striking of all images in Kimberley art, the Wandjina people said to be ‘the creator beings of the Dreaming’ and that they made their world and all it contains.
Wandjina are usually painted as full-length, or head and shoulder figures, either standing or lying horizontally. Their large mouthless faces feature enormous black eyes flanking a beak-like nose. The head is usually surrounded by a band with outward radiating lines. Elaborate head-dresses are both the hair of the Wandjinas and clouds. Long lines coming from the hair are the feathers which they wore and the lightning which they control. Ceremonies to ensure the timely beginning of the monsoon wet season and sufficient rainfall are held in December and January, following which the rains usually begin.

ALMOST UNSEEN ARE THE WANDJINA PAINTINGS

ALMOST UNSEEN UNDER  THESE ROCK OVERANGS ARE THE WANDJINA PAINTINGS

PEOPLE HAVE TO SCRAMBLE OVER STEEP ROCKS TO GET TO THE WANDJINA ART GALLERY

PEOPLE HAVE TO SCRAMBLE OVER STEEP ROCKS TO GET TO THE WANDJINA ART GALLERY

The Mowanjum people of the Kimberley (north-eastern Western Australia) comprise three language groups, the Worrorra, Ngarinyin and Wunumbal [2].To these people, the Wandjina is the supreme Creator and a symbol of fertility and rain. Their ancestors have been painting Wandjina (also spelled wanjina) and Gyorn Gyorn (also called Gwion Gwion) figures in rock art sites scattered throughout the western Kimberley for millennia. This is the oldest continuous sacred painting movement on the planet.

The Mowanjum people of the Kimberley (north-eastern Western Australia) comprise three language groups, the Worrorra, Ngarinyin and Wunumbal [2].
To these people, the Wandjina is the supreme Creator and a symbol of fertility and rain. Their ancestors have been painting Wandjina (also spelled wanjina) and Gyorn Gyorn (also called Gwion Gwion) figures in rock art sites scattered throughout the western Kimberley for millennia. This is the oldest continuous sacred painting movement on the planet.

Climbing to a cave above Raft Point, we saw an improbable mix of Wandjina spirit figures – their white haloed heads were deemed to be evidence of space-helmeted aliens, according to the deluded Swiss-born author Erich von Daniken – surrounded by big dugong-style figures with Wandjina style heads, with occasional glimpses of spidery, graceful Bradshaw figures peeping out coyly from the three-times-human size of the Wandjinas that had been painted over them.

Climbing to a cave above Raft Point, we saw an improbable mix of Wandjina spirit figures – their white haloed heads were deemed to be evidence of space-helmeted aliens, according to the deluded Swiss-born author Erich von Daniken – surrounded by big dugong-style figures with Wandjina style heads, with occasional glimpses of spidery, graceful Bradshaw figures peeping out coyly from the three-times-human size of the Wandjinas that had been painted over them.

WANDJINA FISH SPIRITS

WANDJINA FISH SPIRITS

DONNY WOOLAGOODJA

WANDJINA TOUR GUIDE  –  DONNY WOOLAGOODJA    –

Donny Woolagoodja was born in 1947 at Kunmunya Mission, which had been established in Worrorra territory in 1912 in the remote northwest corner of Australia known as the Kimberley. His father was the Worora man Sam Woolagoodja, who had been born in the very early 1900’s at a time when white people were just beginning to colonize his homeland. As a young child Donny’s father lived a traditional way of life, hunting and fishing in the island and coastal countries along the West Kimberley Coast.

Donny is currently the Chairman of the Mowanjum Artists Spirit of the Wandjina Aboriginal Corporation (MASWAC) where he provides strong leadership for the many other talented artists who are based at Mowanjum. He was a finalist in the 1999 Telstra National Indigenous Art Award and won the Western Australia State Images Art Award of 2000. Donny’s art was witnessed by millions of people across the globe when the image of a giant Wandjina he designed was featured in the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

RAFT POINT  - WANDJINA TOUR GUIDES

RAFT POINT – WANDJINA TOUR GUIDES

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TALBOT BAY / HORIZONTAL FALLS

The Horizontal Waterfalls in the Buccaneer Archipelago are a product of the huge tides in the region, and the effect is created by the rapid tidal fall on the ocean-side of gaps in the cliffs. When conditions are right it is possible for a “waterfall” up to 3 metres high to form as the waters trapped on the landward side cascade out through the narrow gap to the ocean side. We witness the phenomenon of the falls. Later in the day expedition team members show us  Cyclone Bay where the tortured geological folds of what was once seabed.

We view the tidal phenomena of the Horizontal Waterfalls, and view the stunning sandstone canyons of the nearby gorges.

Cyclone Creek, at the eastern end of Talbot Bay, is lined by dramatic cliffs of sandstone and quartzite known as anticlines – folds of rock in which the folds slope downward from the crest. At low tide Cyclone Creek dries out to reveal an extensive mud bank at the northern end surrounded by an extensive mangrove system.To the south of the second of “the gaps” as the Horizontal Waterfalls are known, is “The Inland Sea”, a body of seawater fed by the incredible tidal flow through the Horizontal Waterfalls. At the eastern end of The Inland Sea is Poulton Creek, a freshwater creek 28.7km long, lined by healthy mangrove systems, which starts at an elevation of 198m and flows down to sea level into the Inland Sea.
Talbot Bay was named in 1929 by C.M.Harris, a prospector and mining engineer, in recognition of GIlbert W.L.Talbot (1982-1915) after whom Toc. H. House in Flanders was named. Toc H.House had been a haven for soldiers during the first world war. Harris argued that the name would also commemorate H.W.B.Talbot, a geologist who was also working in the Kimberley at the time.Talbot Bay and the Horizontal Waterfalls are also renowned for their extensive coral reef platforms and fringing reefs. These corals have adapted to dramatic seasonal changes in temperature, salinity and turbidity. In the wet season some of these corals have adapted to inundations of fresh water.

HORIZONTAL FALLS IN TALBOT BAY

HORIZONTAL FALLS IN TALBOT BAY

HORIZONTAL FALLS AS THE TIDE RUSHES IN

HORIZONTAL FALLS AS THE TIDE RUSHES IN

HORIZONTAL FALLS AS THE TIDE RUSHES IN AT FULL FORCE.

HORIZONTAL FALLS AS THE TIDE RUSHES IN AT FULL FORCE.

Geology

The geology of the Kimberley coast is diverse, ranging from sandy plains on the Dampier Peninsular, to basalt intrusions, granites and the rocky sandstone cliff faces and steep gorges on the central Kimberley coast.

Approximately 2 billion years ago the Kimberley Plateau was formed when its underlying continent crashed into the Australian continent. This caused the uplifting of ranges, which were then eroded by an enormous river which carried sedimentary deposits to a shallow sea. These deposits became the Kimberley sandstones, siltstones and mudstones.

From 1.8 billion years ago, sandstone was laid down in several sequences, known as the King Leopold, Warton and Tertiary sequences. These Kimberley sandstones are up to 5km thick in parts.

Periods of uplifting then led to erosion, and huge outpourings of basalt, particularly around the Mitchell Plateau and Ord River Basin. Dolerite intrusions formed dykes, which are still evident in the King Leopold Ranges, and visible from Secure Bay, and on various islands along the coast. During these turbulant periods of uplifting, volcanic activity pushed lava and magma into cracks in the sandstones, forming veins of crystalized quartz. The small island at the end of Hall Point in Deception Bay is an easily viewed example of geological layering.

Approximately 5 million years ago there was another period of uplifting and layering, followed by the drowning of the coastline approxiately 0.017 million years ago, forming the coastline as we now know it. Cyclone Creek in Talbot Bay is an excellent example of uplifting.

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF THE GEOLOGIC UPLIFTING:

GEOLOGIC PLATES WHICH WERE PUSHED UP MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO

PLATES WHICH WERE PUSHED UP MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO SHOWING GEOLOGIC FOLDS

GEOLOGIC PLATES PUSHED UP.

GEOLOGIC PLATES PUSHED UP.

VERTICAL PLATES

EVIDENCE OF VERTICAL PLATES UPLIFTED

GEOLOGIC PLATES WHICH WERE PUSHED UP MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO - NOTICE THE OSPREY NEST

GEOLOGIC PLATES WHICH WERE PUSHED UP MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO

AN EXAMPLE OF GEOLOGIC UPLIFTING - NOTICE THE OSPREY NEST

AN EXAMPLE OF GEOLOGIC UPLIFTING – NOTICE THE OSPREY NEST

A DRAMATIC FORM RISING OUT OF THE SEA

A DRAMATIC FORM RISING OUT OF THE SEA

THESE FORMS COMBINED WITH THE TIDES FORM AN INTERESTING LANDSCAPE

THESE FORMS COMBINED WITH THE TIDES FORM AN INTERESTING LANDSCAPE

GEOLOGIC FOLDS AT TALBOT BAY

GEOLOGIC FOLDS AT TALBOT BAY

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BROOME

Originally founded as a pearling port over a hundred years ago, Broome now boasts a multicultural population of many nationalities lured here by the promise of finding their fortunes.  Koepanger, Malay, Chinese, European and Aboriginal cultures have all blended to create a captivatingly friendly and flamboyant personality that is the heart and soul of Broome.

INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS

No modern discussion of Broome’s history can ignore the regions indigenous Australians, historically known as the Aborigines or Aboriginals. Their claim to the lands that would become known as Dampierland, Roebuck Bay and Broome, span forty thousand years and clearly supersede that of any of the European explorers that would come later.

In 1688, when William Dampier first visited “New Holland” as the area was known to the rest of the world at the time, the first seeds were sown that would forever change the lives of the regions indigenous people. The constant and fundamental cultural clashes between the two people eventually led to the exploitation of the regions original inhabitants, especially in the early days of the pearling industry when Aborigines were forced to become skin divers for pearl shell and work aboard the pearl luggers.

EUROPEAN DISCOVERY

Any visitor to Broome can immediately recognise the legacy of place names and landmarks named after William Dampier the navigator, explorer, buccaneer and distinguished chronicler of the seven seas who is credited for discovering the region known today as the Kimberley in Western Australia.

Dampier, who at the time was an acknowledged pirate, first visited the region in 1688 and his meticulous journal from his travels is what later inspired the first ‘official’ voyage of discovery. Dampier returned in 1699 but after an altercation with curious aboriginals, in which a native was killed, was forced to hurriedly depart the area.

However, Dampier’s journals were enough to stimulate interest in the areas rich pearl shell beds. By the late 1870s there was a growing pearling industry in the waters off north-western Australia with the largest base of operations being located in Cossack, about 700km from what was to become Broome.

In 1879, Charles Harper suggested to the Legislative Council that Roebuck Bay be set up as a port with facilities for the pearling industry. Thus, in 1883, John Forrest selected a town site on Roebuck Bay just east of Dampier Creek where three native wells existed and predicted this site would become the Capital of the Kimberley. Later that year, the townsite of Broome was proclaimed and named after the colony’s Governor, Frederick N. Broome.

The first sale of town lots took place in October 1886 and two years later Broome was gazetted as a port. In 1889, a new telegraph cable was established at Roebuck Bay, linking the isolated colony direct with England, via Singapore, India, Aden, Egypt, Malta and Gibraltar.

ROARING YEARS

The Fat Years of 1889 to 1891 saw the price of mother of pearl shell escalate to new highs and established Broome as a port often referred to as the Queen City of the North. By 1898, Broome was the principal cargo port for north Western Australia and by the First World War; the Port of Broome was second only to Fremantle.

At this time, men from the UK dominated the pearling industry at Roebuck Bay but by 1900 many had retired to England or other destinations to enjoy their fortunes. As these men disappeared, they were replaced by younger men from Victoria and New South Wales affected by the depression of the nineties.

WORLD WAR I

When World War I was declared in 1914, Broome harboured about 300 pearl luggers and had a population of over 1,000 white men and some 2,000 coloured. Within a few months the fleet numbers were halved, as men rushed to enlist in the war effort and economic events in Europe severely impacted the Broome pearling industry with devastating results.

European markets for mother of pearl began to collapse and many thought the industry was coming to an end. During the war years the only additional use found for mother of pearl was for buttons on soldiers’ uniforms. By December 1916 Broome was threatened with economic ruin as the sale of mother of pearl dwindled and enemy ships threatened shipments consigned for the states.

With excess stocks and luggers going to ruin Broome’s economic situation was bleak however when the war ended in 1918, a different pearling industry emerged. The English influence and affluence of “Old Broome” disappeared forever as many socially prominent families chose not to return after the war. Broome had also suffered extensive damage by the cyclones of 1908, 1910 and especially 1912 and much of the town needed to be rebuilt. Slowly, Broome would rebuild itself once again into an exciting and economically viable port. The 1920s would see Broome once again with a vibrant, thriving pearling industry and the price of pearl shell at its highest ever.

WORLD WAR II

War returned to Broome on December 8, 1941 the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. Australia instantly joined America in declaring war on the Japanese and almost immediately, all pearling activity ceased in Broome. Men rushed to join the war effort and the industry’s labour pool vanished overnight as Japanese residents were interred in camps.

Since Broome’s livelihoods relied heavily on the skill and experience of Japanese divers this was an economic death knell for the pearling industry and the town. The residents of Broome were suddenly faced with rounding up and interring friends and employees simply because they were Japanese. Unlike other towns Broome’s Japanese population made up a good portion of the towns inhabitants and many had been born and raised in Australia and had no ties to Japan. Although they complied with the internment policy, Broome, residents tried to make life as easy as possible for the Japanese.

The war escalated quickly and by February 26, 1942 Malaya (now known as Malaysia) and Singapore had fallen, as well as the islands of Ambon and Timor. This put the Japanese only three hundred miles north of Broome and the threat of a Japanese air attack became a reality. A defence unit was organised and the town’s aerodrome was upgraded to accommodate the largest planes and Broome became a re-fuelling station for the R.A.A.F.

In January 1942, pearlers were informed that their luggers were to be purchased and unseaworthy vessels destroyed as a provision against a Japanese landing. Shortly afterwards on March 3, 1942 Japanese Zeros strafed the aircraft in Roebuck Bay and at the aerodrome wiht machine gun fire and destroyed sixteen Flying Boat planes (Dorniers, Catalinas and Short Empire flying boats) which were refuelling after evacuating Dutch refugees from Java.

Following there were three further air raids, one on the 20th March 1942 in which one aircraft was destroyed and one person killed, and in August 1942 and August 1943 which resulted in minimal damage with no deaths or injuries.  The constant fear continued to force Broome residents to stay away and the town languished into decay. By the time the war ended, Broome was badly deteriorated and a mere shell of its former self. Residents, who did return, found little to salvage and were forced to start from scratch. But, as had happened after World War I, Broome would recover and rebuild once again. The pearling industry once again evolved and a new market in cultured pearls changed the way pearl shell was harvested forever.

The influence of the pearling industry, with its cultural melting pot, has helped to create the distinctive character and charm of Broome. South Sea Pearls are recognised as the best in the world and pearling remains one of the town’s major industries due to the cultured pearl, which revived the industry after its near demise in the late 1950s.

The pearling industry remains a vibrant part of Broome, proudly producing the world’s finest pearls.

Gantheaume Point

At the southern end of Cable Beach, just out of Broome, is Gantheaume Point. Experience the vibrant colours of the fabulous looking, red sandstone cliffs that spill into the water and marvel at the views that stretch to the horizon.

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.

Gantheaume Point is home of the 130-million-year-old dinosaur footprints which can be seen at very low tides. Moulded casts of the footprints were created and placed at the point for easier viewing. Also at Gantheaume Point is Anastasia´s Pool. Carved out of the stone by a former lighthouse keeper to allow his arthritic wife the opportunity to bathe in the clear waters of the Indian Ocean.

Gantheaume Point Lighthouse

Gantheaume Point Lighthouse was first built in 1905 as a 47ft open braced steel tower. In 1922 the Gantheaume Point Lighthouse was demanned and in 1984 another new tower made of stainless steel open lattice with tube columns was built.

GANTHEAUME LIGHTHOUSE

GANTHEAUME LIGHTHOUSE

AN OSPREY PREPARES TO LAND ON THE LIGHTHOUSE

AN OSPREY PREPARES TO LAND ON THE LIGHTHOUSE

OSPREY NEST AT THE GANTHEAUME LIGHTHOUSE

OSPREY NEST AT THE GANTHEAUME LIGHTHOUSE

Gantheaume Point is home of the 130-million-year-old dinosaur footprints which can be seen at very low tides

Gantheaume Point is home of the 130-million-year-old dinosaur footprints which can be seen at very low tides

 Moulded casts of the footprints were created and placed at the point for easier viewing.

Moulded casts of the footprints were created and placed at the point for easier viewing.

THE ORIGINAL LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER'S HOUSE, NOW A MUSEUM.

THE ORIGINAL LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S HOUSE, NOW A MUSEUM.

CABLE BEACH IN BROOME

CABLE BEACH IN BROOME

LATE AFTERNOON CABLE BEACH IN BROOME

LATE AFTERNOON
CABLE BEACH IN BROOME

SUNSET OVER CABLE BEACH IN BROOME

SUNSET OVER CABLE BEACH IN BROOME

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POETRY:

JACK SORENSON A POET OF THE KIMBERLEYS

Jack Sorensen

Born: John Alfred Sorensen, 21 Aug 1907 Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Died: 25 Jun 1949 Sydney, New South Wales

Biography:

Jack Sorenson was one of only a few (known) bush poets who filled the gap when bush poetry was very much in the doldrums and considered a very minor form of the literary arts. This was the rather long period between the mid 1920s and the mid 1980s.

Jack was born in Kalgoorlie in 1907, a second generation Australian of mixed Danish, Irish and English ancestry.  He grew up in the Swan Valley, near Perth; his first job being for his father who had taken up a fruit orchard in the district .  It was there, while at work that Jack made his early attempts at poetry, heard only by the lemon and apricot trees.  His father did not encourage his poetic endeavours, however his mother saw his potential and encouraged him to write.

As a young man, Jack found an ally in Mr R.S. Sampson, local member of the WA Parliament who was influential in having some of Jack’s early poems published in local papers.

A strong, burly lad, although rather shy, Jack became interested in boxing, and took up the sport under the name of “Johnny Brown”.  He was quite successful, becoming the WA welter weight champion.

Jack spent most of his younger adult life in Western Australia, moving from place to place chasing gainful employment. At various times he worked with cattle in the Kimberly’s, as a shearer, as a labourer in the Goldfields and for a time in the southwest forest country.

Returning to Perth, Jack took up employment with his mentor, Mr Sampson, becoming the country representative for the United Press group of papers, much of his time being base in the WA Goldfields.  – he was therefore now in a position to promote his own poetry.

Throughout much of his life he drew on these experiences to write poetry and songs mainly about life in rural Western Australia, often with an environmental theme.

With the outbreak of war, Jack developed a sense of doom which included his own involvement in it and so it was that in July 1942, Jack joined the Australian Army.  Most of his recruit training was at the Melville training camp. Following his recruit training he was attached to the 11th Btn which, at that time, was involved in the defence of northern Australia.

The death of his friend and mentor, Mr Sampson, greatly affected Jack’s mental health to the point where he was no longer able to carry out his military duties.   He was discharged in March 1944 following which he returned to work for United Press, although he now had no need to for he had been left a substantial legacy by Mr Sampson.

Not long after his discharge, his mother also died, further deepening his melancholia.  In order to return to happier times, Jack returned to the Kimberleys but the inner peace he was seeking was not there, so in 1949, at age 42, returning to Perth he decided to fulfil a lifetime dream of going to the Queensland outback.  He sailed from Fremantle, but was never to reach his goal, for it was on the ship in Sydney, just a week or so short of his destination that Jack decided that his life was no longer worth living.

At some stage throughout his life, he had most of his poems published in various newspapers and in time published a few books. His poetry is now considered by many to be among the best of his era, in particular for his consistent rhythm which, at the time, was not considered “worthy” of consideration.  Such poets as he were largely derided by most the literati of his time. His poetic interests however did bring him into contact with some other literary people of his time, a few of whom became close friends, notably among them Mary Durack who, shortly after his death, collected and published his poems.  A number of his poems were set to music and to this day various folk music bands continue to include them in their repertoire.

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SONG OF KIMBERLEY

 Jack Sorensen

No dust rises as the herd goes by
And the sun hangs saffron in a sullen sky,
Creak of leather and tang of sweat
And we’re making Wyndham to confound the wet.

Dull dusk falling on a region strange
And the grey Ord roaring through the Carr Boyd range,
Days strain-dreary and the nights sleep short
As we sway our cattle down to Wyndham Port.

No thanks owing for a fight fair won
But the calming comfort of a job well done.
(Dull dusk falling on a region strange
And the grey Ord roaring through the Carr Boyd range.)

\Weary horses at the river bend
But we needs must ride them to the journey’s end
With a creak of leather and a quelch of hoofs.
And a warm rain drumming on the homestead roofs.

Sulky moonlight in a smoky sky;
(No dust rises as the mob goes by)
But we sense the firmness of the Twelve-Mile Plain

And the wind-borne incense of the Inland rain.

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How We Cashed The Pig

Jack Sorensen

 

We shore for a farmer at Wallaby Bend

Myself and my mate Dan McLean:

And while we were toiling, an old bushman friend

Wrote saying the farmer was mean.

 

We finished his shearing, (The flock was not big)

And imagine our wrath and dismay

When he went to a sty and returned with a pig,

And said, This is all I can pay.

 

We set out next morn down the long dusty track,

In the blackest of humours I fear,

I carried our pig on a bag on my back,

While McLean trudged along with our gear.

 

I talked as we journeyed – It lightened my load,

And was pointing out how we had been robbed

When we came to a shanty that stood by the road

And I turned out my pockets and sobbed.

 

Cheer Up, cried McLean, We will drink and forget

That old blighter back at the Bend.

I said in soft accents, imbued with regret

Alas! We have nothing to spend.

 

My comrade replied, What a dullard you are,

Well drink and make merry in style.

Then seizing our pig, he walked into the bar

And ordered our drinks with a smile.

 

Our host filled em up and went off with the pig

As though the affair was not strange

We scarcely had time our refreshments to swig,

When he came back with ten piglets change.

 

We stayed at that shanty that night and next day,

(Good liquour was much cheaper then).

And gladly rejoicing we went on our way

With a basket of eggs and a hen.

 

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RE-UNION

 Jack Sorensen

Now he was three score years and ten. Grim time had left its scar,

And he was of the roving-men

Who wander hack from far.

He stood beside a lonely grave

By briars overgrown,

And with crabbed fingers thoughtfully,

He traced a name – his own.

“Poor lad! He never left this town,”

He said, “His destiny

“Was not to see the sun go down

On city or on sea.”

“Yet I who roamed the whole, wide world And he who stayed at home

Will meet in some grey meeting place Where all have ceased to roam;”

 

“And when he takes my gnarled old hand.

This lad of twenty-one,

How shall I hail him ‘Father-‘

How shall he call me ‘Son’ ?”

 

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FITZROY CAMPSITE

 Jack Sorensen

Lost light lingers on the Razor Back
While new men travel down an ancient track
That leads to water and the floodgum trees
And best stock campsite in the Kimberleys.

Stockmen slumber under stars that shine
On the Fitzroy River and the Condamine,
Tired night-horses at the break of day
And grey smoke rising to a sky dawn-grey.

Vague tracks straining over soil, stone, sand.
And a strange dog howling in the oldest land.
And an old-time story that the stones could tell
Of a Queensland river and a cattle bell.

Horsemen mounting and the mob’s away
(Dark dust rises from the Fitzroy clay)
Lead on, river, to the marsh-girt sea,
There’s a new sun rising over Kimberley.

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VIDEOS:

Darwin – Doorway To Australia

Made by The National Film Board 1949. Directed by Lee Robinson.
Original archival synopsis: The Japanese bombed Darwin many times during World War II because it was strategically important target number one in their attack on the Australian mainland. Before the war, Darwin was little known except to the crews of pearling luggers and cattlemen. During the war it become an important air base which contributed much to the success of General MacArthur’s island-hopping campaign against Japan. Today Darwin is an aerial port of call for all planes travelling either from Europe or the Far East to Australia. The Darwin touchdown is, in fact, for many travellers the first sight of the Australian continent. The film shows Darwin as it is today (1949), much ravaged by Japanese attack during World War II, but already showing signs of building activity and general recovery. The film indicates the general life of the town and also explains the plan which will make Darwin a model city of which Australia will be very proud

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Travels in the Northern Territory of Australia

Experience Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks in this informative and entertaining travelogue through Australia’s Northern Territory in August 2008.

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Broome, Western Australia

A VERY GOOD VIDEO SHOWING BROOME TODAY.

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MITCHELL FALLS VIDEO
This video was shot on a helicopter excursion to Mitchell Falls at the Mitchell River National Park
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