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Jo takes on the challenge of basket weaving and exploring Hancock Gorge (not at the same time!)

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  • A Great Night Out In Broome

    by Jo Durbridge | Aug 07, 2015

     

    The pearling town of Broome is known for its distinctive mix of Indigenous cultures within a multicultural community and there is no better way to gain an insight into this than ‘A Taste of Broome’.

    So what is A Taste of Broome?  It’s an event that runs once a month between April and September and it has so many elements it’s a little difficult to describe!  

    Its food, its live music, its entertainment, its the town’s social history and its storytelling with wonderful old images and footage from a bygone era. Given Broome’s consistent warm weather the event is held outside at Goolarri Media whose grounds are transformed with food huts, a large stage and plenty of table and chairs to enjoy the evening.

    My cousin has been to Broome on numerous occasions and I thought she would enjoy learning more about Broome’s social and cultural history in an entertaining way and so I purchased tickets from the Broome Visitor Centre for the event.    

    We headed to Goolarri Media early as with all the multicultural food available it’s the perfect place to have dinner.  It was pretty difficult to choose what to eat!  Having tasted them before, Ahmat's satays were calling my name but in the end we decided on curries.  Chicken for me and vego for my cousin!  We thought the local Matso’s Ginger Beer  would be the perfect accompaniment and settled in to enjoy the show.

    Ahmat cooking his famous sataysAhmat cooking his delicious satay sticks (image courtesy Goolarri Media)

    First up Neil McKenzie welcomed the audience to country and then introduced the The Yardoogarra Dancers.  With traditional markings and dress, these young Indigenous children performed a dance that had been passed down through generations.  They had the audience laughing and clapping at how adorable they were as they seriously tried to remember their steps under the guidance of Neil. 

    Yarldoolgarra DancersYarldoogarra Dancers (image courtesy of Goolarri Media)

    Next to perform was a modern contemporary Indigenous dancer Anne-Jeanette.  She captured the audience’s attention as she took us on a journey of land and culture as she flowed through the aisles expressing her Bardi, Yawuru and Nykana heritage.

    Stephen ‘Baamba’ Albert is a well-known performer and you may remember him from the film Bran Nue Dae.   He sings, narrates, and takes you on a 120 year historical journey enriching your knowledge of Broome with a backdrop of images and footage of everything from old Broome streetscapes and pearl luggers to local social occasions such as festivals and dances held in the town.

    Baamba entertains the crowd
      Baamba entertains the crowd (image courtesy Goolarri Media)

    Stephen Pigram is also an integral part of the performance. Stephen is a much loved musician who as part of the Pigram Brothers represents the sound of Broome.  His musical talent is celebrated not only in Australia (he was one of the first Indigenous artists to be inducted into the West Australian Music Industry’s Hall of Fame) but he is recognised internationally. He is head of the creative team behind A Taste of Broome and that night was playing guitar and harmonica as part of the band on stage.  The locals in the audience burst into spontaneous applause as soon as he sang a much loved Broome favourite  “Going back Home” which also features on the Bran Nue Dae Soundtrack.

    Stephen Pigram
    Stephen Pigram. A favourite with locals and visitors alike.
    (image courtesy of Goolarri Media)

    Naomi Pigram and Tania McKenna also provided stirring vocal performances.  

    The cast have pulled together a fun, entertaining evening while also reminding us of the hardships that both Indigenous and the newly arrived Japanese, Malays and Fillipino encountered  which has helped form Broome’s cultural identity today.  

    The event resonated with me and even though I have lived in Broome for more than a decade I came out of it feeling that I learnt more about the history and culture of the town I call home, but what did my cousin think of it?   She gave it two thumbs up and it inspired her to go on a Pearl Luggers Tour to learn even more about the perils of the hard hat divers.

    There are still two shows remaining this year on 13 August and 10 September. Tickets sell out fast so get in quick!   General admission tickets are only $30 and for $70 you get the full VIP treatment which includes seating at a table, food platter, an alcoholic beverage  and table service .  

    Book now at the Broome Visitor Centre  here  or contact them direct on 08 9195 2200.

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  • Bye Bye Broome!

    by Jo Durbridge | Aug 28, 2014

    Camels on Cable Beach in Broome WA 

    Guest Blogger Stephen Swabey spent a week in Broome and beyond and has kept us up to date on his adventures in this pearling town.  Thanks Stephen for reminding us about how fantastic this part of the Kimberley is and we hope to see you back here soon.

    Our last day in Broome came too soon. We caught up with Glen from Australia’s North West Tourism and chatted about our experiences over the week. We let him know how impressed we had been by the way in which Broome and the Dampier Peninsula had made adventure easy to achieve, with comfortable accommodation, fine food, and fascinating activities readily organised. As the plane climbed out of Broome airport we had one last glimpse of the sands at Cable Beach. Yep, the camels were still plodding along.

  • Dirt Road to Paradise - Broome to Kooljaman at Cape Leveque

    by Jo Durbridge | Aug 28, 2014

    Dirt Road to Kooljaman
     

    Our guest blogger Stephen Swabey continues his trip into the Kimberley:

    You remember that Prado I mentioned on Day 1. Well it earned its keep. You see the road up the Dampier Peninsula from Broome isn't sealed all the way. The middle section is a sand highway, alternating between smooth Pindan hard pan and tyre-sucking sand. It's not difficult driving, but lumpy with occasional corrugations. The Prado suspension dealt with it all calmly and, with the northern half in tarmac, we covered the roughly 200 km to our accommodation at Kooljaman in good time.

    Driving in to Kooljaman, the low-key buildings, camping areas and tracks are set back discreetly from the star attraction here - the glorious coast. We peeked over the rail of the dining area around the pizza oven and glimpsed the striking red-purple of the low cliffs, before checking in. Then as we drove to our safari tent, perched on the hill just below the working lighthouse, we saw visual snippets of golden beach, red rocks, blue ocean and green forest. This classic palette of Aussie colours and hues is rarely found in one place. Our excursion tomorrow was going to be stunning, we could see.

    We met our guide for the morrow, Brian Lee, at the Kooljaman restaurant. Brian runs Tagalong 4WD Tours on the eastern beach at Kooljaman, but is involved in so much more, including the creation and management of Kooljaman itself. The first thing you notice about Brian is his magnificent mane of silver hair and his full beard. These lend him a mystic air, but Brian is anything but mystic - his interest in the world around him and his obvious delight in sharing his understanding with others is practical and engaging.

    Brian took us off in his beaten up Landcruiser to the settlement of One Arm Point, where he explained the settlement history of the area. Also at the point is the community hatchery, where the operators showed us the large tanks filled with various fish, seaweed and shell species. The ocean at the point was roiling as tides and currents battled through the islands, driven by the 14m range experienced four times daily. We knew we'd see more of this in a couple of days.

    We returned to Kooljaman for a dinner of great inventiveness, execution and taste. The menu features both western and traditional ingredients assembled in visually appealing ways. We'd been told previously that, although the local communities are dry, the Kooljaman restaurant is BYO, so we'd come prepared.

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