What's up Broome

You Know You're in Broome When You Pass a Train on Cable Beach

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  • Saturday, February 16, 2019

Broome is certainly one of the most unique places in Australia if not the world. It has an extraordinary history due to the central role it played in the production of the pearl shell. That history saw people from many parts of Asia come to Broome to make their riches and leave their legacy on the town. Broome remains connected to Asia socially and culturally as well as physically with the historic telegraph cable laid in 1889 between Broome and Banjoewangie (now known as Banyuwangi), located at the eastern end of the island of Java.

That cable gave the name to what is now the world-famous Cable Beach. Regularly acclaimed as 22 kilometres of pristine white sand edged by the stunning turquoise water of the Indian Ocean. Cable Beach has a notorious history, its sand dunes were home to what the locals of the time called “mung-beans” in the seventies and eighties. Mung beans were the hippies of day who found a spiritual home in the community famed for Broome-time. There are some rocks that extend up on to the sand from a reef directly in front the Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa that create a delineation on the beach. North of the rocks allows vehicle access, while south of the rocks is a family friendly pedestrian only zone. North of the rocks was also home to the famed nudist beach, which naturally evolved from the mung-bean community. The beach never had any official status as a nudist beach but is a great metaphor for the laid-back nature of Broome and our local government. Graeme Campbell a past Shire President used to say, “nudity is not a by-law, its just that clothes are optional”

Nudist’s are often an eccentric lot, and that eccentricity seems to be magnified on Cable Beach. Many nudists like to go for long walks along the beach north of the rocks, but as it can be very hot, they often wear hats and sunglasses, shoes to protect their feet and a long sleeve shirt to cover up from sun exposure. Its as if many of them think exposure is mandatory north of the rocks. There have also been many legends born from the north of the rock’s nudist zone. One such legend who made himself available for photos had two nicknames, Donk and Tripod. We’ll leave you to imagine how these nicknames came up!

Nothing should ever surprise you north of the rocks. There is the most curious mix of people fishing, families picnicking, nudists exposing, cars driving, dogs walking and running, fat bikes riding, people walking and right there on the beach, three trains running a year-round daily service. These trains operate in the intertidal zone, that part of the beach between the low and high-water marks. Each day their tracks are washed away by the tide, this makes it very difficult to operate the train service, so the operators lay new tracks each day. The trains compete in this highly competitive transit market and are distinguished by colour. There are red trains, blue trains and gold trains. While the trains are regularly full, they don’t go anywhere in particular with commuters boarding and alighting at the same stop, just north of the rocks.

You know you’re in Broome when a train passes you on Cable Beach

You Know Your in Broome When.... is a blog series by #SoBroome, published every Saturday.

Click here to find more posts in the You-Know-You're-in-Broome-When series.

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