Take a look back at these vintage photos of Broome

Broome pearl diver 1969
Home >Forgotten Perth >Take a look back at these vintage photos of Broome

With dry season well and truly underway, we’re daydreaming at our desks about the magical pull of Broome’s red dirt and blue skies.

But with such an intriguing history and breathtaking landscape, we’re curiously delving into some photos of Broome’s past, thanks to the excellent State Library of Western Australia Facebook page.

And with everyone’s obsession with the Royal Family of late, we’ll start with these photos of then not-yet-king Prince Charles in Broome in 1979, here as part of the WAY 79 celebrations.

King Charles Broome 22 March 1979
Prince Charles meeting Broome locals, 1979.
King Charles Broome 22 March 1979
Prince Charles meeting students from the Nulungu Catholic College, 1979.
King Charles Broome 22 March 1979
Prince Charles inspecting pearls from lugger Sam Male, 1979.

Or… Maybe you’re more interested in local celebs? Like the well-loved, croc hunter and filmmaker turned conservationist Malcolm Douglas, photographed below in approximately 1985.

Broome Malcolm Douglas crocodile farmer ca1985

Surely on your next visit to Broome you’ll want to visit stunning natural landmarks? And not much has changed, with these photos taken at Gantheaume Point in 1948. Although we haven’t seen many influencers posing in Anastasia’s Pool with a pipe, at least not lately…

Gantheaume Point Broome 1948
Gantheaume Point, 1948.
Broome Anastasia's Pool 1948
Anastasia’s Pool, 1948.

Of course, between 1976 and 1981, you could pop into the Broome Tourist Bureau – at the time, housed in a Garuda DC.3 plane that crash landed two years prior.

Broome Tourist Bureau DC3 plane ca1974

One of Broome’s most iconic sights and a must for visitors has to be a ride on the Cable Beach camels, pictured below in ca.1986.

Broome Cable Beach camels ca1986
Broome Cable Beach from Station Hill entrance 1960
Cable Beach from Station Hill, 1960.
Broome Cable Beach pilots 1962
Pilots playing “Fly” on Cable Beach, 1962

Or, perhaps you could head over to Roebuck Bay and check out the unique mangrove ecosystem – you can see some mangroves peeking out of the water in this photo from the early 1950s.

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Broome Roebuck Bay Beach ca1950-55

First held in 1894, the Broome Cup remains a huge drawcard for visitors – and we can’t argue that these racegoers in 1976 seem to be having a pretty good time!

Broome races attendees 1976
Broome races Aug 1975
Broome races, 1975
Broome races 1976
Broome races, 1976

Another huge event on the Broome calendar is the Shinju Matsuri Festival. Beginning in 1970, the festival is inspired by pearling town’s vibrant and multicultural history.

Broome Shinju Matsuri Beach Carnival 1977
Shinju Matsuri Beach Carnival, 1977.
Broome pearl diver and crew, ca1898
Pearl diver and crew aboard a pearling lugger, ca.1898.
Broome TB Ellies pearl cleaning 1910
TB Ellies cleanings pearls, 1910.
Broome Japanese women ca 1909
Four Japanese women of Broome, ca.1909.
Broome Japanese pearl diver ca1930
Japanese pearl diver, ca.1930.
Broome Japanese pearl diver ca1930
Pearl diver in the water, ca.1930.
Broome pearl diver 1969
Pearl diver in his diving suit, 1969.
Broome pearl diver 1969
Pearl diver in his diving suit, 1969.
Broome pearl diver lead boots
Lead boots from an old pearl diving suit, photographed in 2013.
Broome pearl diver Simeon Bin Seid with George Memory 1961
Pearl diver Simeon Bin Seid and George Memory holding blister pearls, 1961.
Broome pearl lugger estuary 1967
Pearl lugger in the estuary, 1967.
Broome Streeters Jetty ca1960
Streeters Jetty, ca.1960.
Broome women fishing 1953
Women fishing in Broome, 1953.
Broome homes ca1958
Homes of some of the Broome Indigenous community, ca.1958.
Broome Carnarvon St 1985
A Chinese-inspired phone booth on Broome’s Carnarvon Street, 1985.
Broome Carnarvon St Chinatown ca late 1960s
Children playing on Carnarvon Street in Broome’s Chinatown, ca. late 1960s.

Speaking of history, Broome is home to the world’s oldest picture gardens – and you can still head to Sun Pictures today!

Broome Sun Pictures 1971
Sun Pictures, 1971.
Broome Sun Picture 1953
An audience at Sun Pictures, 1953.

Some photos are available to purchase via the State Library of WA. All photos, unless stated, via the State Library of WA.