Hi there, travelling buddies.
This week we dabbled into the history of Broome and found stories associated with WWII.
To start our trek into time, we had to wait for a very low tide so we could get out far enough, to view and take photos of the wrecks of Catalina and the Dornier flying boats. These flying seaplanes were used to evacuate refugees from Java, and unfortunately some passengers were still on board when the jetty was attacked. Broome was a pearling community, but also where planes came to refuel. Sadly, there were many seaplanes moored at the time, unloading passenger’s or waiting for fuel when rapid gunfire ravaged their crafts. It was during WWII, the 3rd of March 1942 when they were attacked by Japanese ‘Zeros’ and although the numbers are not clear, it is written, 88 civilians and allied military personnel were killed.
The walkout to the mudflaps is a magical venture where sea life and plants are uncovered momentarily by the tide going out, and the exposure is quite remarkable. Once reaching the planes, the image of the devastation has one ponder the shock to all those who witnessed this attack. It must have left a feeling of helplessness as they sought cover, wondered if they would live to see their own families ever again. One brave pilot received serious burns from a gun he threw upon his shoulder and shot down one of the Zero’s. And another Zero pilot ditched the craft and bailed. It crashed, but he lived. In just over an hour, over 60 people and 15 flying boats (mostly Dutch and British) were lost. Six wrecks are still visible, preserved in mud and time, the rest are hidden to land folk, the other seaplanes rest in deep water.
Warning from Wikipedia; Start walking an hour before low tide and head roughly southeast for 1.5km (about 30 minutes). Wear appropriate footwear – the mud’s sticky and can hide sharp objects, not all of them inanimate. Watch out for other marine hazards like jellyfish and check with the visitor centre for tide times. The museum also has a handy brochure. Or just take the hovercraft.
If you would like to read more here is a link with very good statistics https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_Broome
Here are some pictures from Shaun camera he took when he walked out to wrecks at 5.30am one morning at low tide. For those who know him, yes I was surprised he got up that early too. But he really enjoyed the walk and said it was eerie but so worth doing and recommends it.
The Australian journalist, broadcaster and author Coralie Clarke Rees published this highly personal account of the Broome air raid in her 1946 elegy to her dead airman brother, Silent His Wings.
You in a tiny hand-picked bunch of sappers
chosen to gelignite Broome in the teeth
of the down-swooping Jap, saw stately Dutch flying-boats,
lovely Dutch women, riddled with bullets, blasted, floating,
American Liberators and quaking Malays spine-shattered
by the hail of yellow bombs. You smelt and tasted death
and the tang of it never left your tongue.
Dinosaur footprint in Broome
Another print left in time is found at Gantheaume Point 6k from Broome WA.
On the 24 July 1801, during a French expedition to map the coast of Australia, (then known as New Holland) they came across something quite unexpected, oversized footprints. The discovery led them to a time when dinosaurs ruled. They were astounded to find these fossils and footprints preserved in sandstone, belonged to dinosaurs who lived 130 million years ago.
At very low tides these footprints can be viewed by walking out on the mudflats about 30 metres from shore.
As we wrap up our stay here in the wonderful destination, called Broome, we are thankful we had extra time here to get around to the treasures we missed, last time we visited. I have often said to hubby, over the past couple of months, I could live here if not for the high cost of living. Guess why we have only seen travelling pensioners on holidays and very few that look, permanent residents. Talking to many of the travelling pensioners, they generally only stay for a short visit or bypass Broome all together, which surprised me to find we were not the only ones wishing ALDI was here. Maybe the new KMART that has just opened here might help with clothing and knick-knacks. Most of our orders have been “online shopping” or risk getting charged an extra 100%. Inflated food, rents and services make this a rich man’s paradise, a nomads nightmare. But everything else is perfect. Love the weather, the people, and OMG, Cable Beach is imprinted in my mind as I have never experienced another so inviting, or entertaining. Even the thrills of nude bathers hasn’t deterred us to have a conversation, and a chuckle together after. Having the sand so easy to drive and walk on, has given both of us so much pleasure. I will leave you with a few of my most favourite pictures while staying here, and if you like it, we blow a wish your way, that you get to see it for real.
Such a diverse town. From red soil that stains even the blackest of shoes to sitting by the water, walking in the parks or having a picnic. Broome is one hell of a place to be.
If you’re wondering how we stayed so long if costs were so high, my clever hubby did up a safety manuals for one of the park owners. This gave us reduced site fees while doing so, which helped us save up the little extra we needed for our van requirements. It feels better to know we have replaced those old batteries with 2 x lithium batteries. We now have a privacy screen to go along the window side of the van to keep it cooler inside and a generator. Well, the gennie we have been saving up for but still, it was purchased while here. All of which will help us while free camping down the track.
While staying in Broome, hubby also finished the family history hard back he offered to help with. He typed it up from handwritten notes and researched to help with a couple of pictures. It was also a learning project when drawing up the family trees and the construction. The result was a testament of the lengths he will go to make something special for someone. It was gesture of love from him to our daughters Mother in Law. I’m sure she will be thrilled when she get’s them.
As for me, I’m still plugging away at Draco. I recently had it critiqued by my cousin, Ken Devon who has published “The commuter” https://www.amazon.com.au/Commuter-Ken-Devon-ebook/dp/B089413G6S/ (not to be confused with the movie.) And on his advice, I am making this read even better. Up to chapter 21… a way to go yet. So better stop doing this blog for now and get back to my writing desk.
Talk soon when we get to somewhere else.
Thank you for visiting Debbie’s Blog page. Comments are welcomed. If you would like to know more about Debbie’s writings, click on this link for her novels and browse the different genre’s. Fantasy realism is her love but other styles also attract. www.debbiebehan.com