Broome is a pearling and tourist town 2,200 km (1,400 mi) north of Perth. The permanent population is estimated at 14,436, growing to over 45,000 per month during the tourist season.
The town has an interesting history based around the exploits of the men and women who developed the pearling industry, starting with the harvesting of oysters for mother of pearl in the 1880’s to the current major cultured pearl farming enterprises. The riches from the pearl beds did not come cheaply, and the town’s Japanese cemetery is the resting place of 919 Japanese divers who lost their lives working in the industry. Many more were lost at sea, and the exact number of deaths is unknown.
Broome was attacked at least four times by Japanese aircraft during the Second World War, and the worst attack was the 3 March 1942 air raid in which at least 88 people (mostly civilians) were killed.
In 1889 a telegraph undersea cable was laid from Broome to Singapore, connecting to England. Hence the name Cable Beach was given to the landfall site. It is situated 7 km (4.3 mi) from town along a bitumen road. The beach itself is 22.5 km (14.0 mi) long with white sand, washed by tides that can reach over 9 m (30 ft). Four wheel drive vehicles may be driven onto the beach from the car park. This allows people to explore the beach at low tide to a much greater extent than would be possible on foot. Sunset camel rides operate daily along the beach.
Mairead takes a day trip out to the Horizontal Waterfalls and to Cape Leveque.