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Historical Broome

Story: Historical Broome
Episode: 13
Presenter: Daniela Pola
Air Date: 15th August 2021

Broome’s story is forever entwined with the pearling industry, and it’s said that the town was founded on buttons! Daniela takes a historical walking tour to discover more about this iconic destination.

  • Broome offers 90-minute Historical Walking Tours for visitors.
  • The tour is a 1.5km walk that is suitable for most ages.
  • Originally founded in the late 1880s as a pearling port, Broome boasts a multicultural population lured here by the promise of finding their fortunes.
  • Buttons made from pearls are what originally fuelled the pearling industry in Broome.
  • When polyester began to replace MOP for making buttons in 1952, many predicted the demise of the pearling industry. Fortunately, at about the same time, the first cultured pearl farm began at Kuri Bay, north of Broome.
  • In the Kimberley, the Pinctada Maxima species of pearl oyster can be found. These bivalves are the largest Pearl Oyster in the World.
  • The last destination of the tour is the Broome Historical Museum. Run by the Broome Historical Society, the museum is housed over three buildings in the Heritage precinct.
  • In the early years of the 20th century, Japanese divers were recruited, using cumbersome full dive suits, copper helmets and lead-weighted boots to dive in much deeper waters.