Things that are in right now, big military parades, electric cars, Barty parties, salty plums, standing up for religious freedoms, rallying against them and being offended. The other things that are in right now are small bar walking tours. Go to any city in the world and you’ll find a small bar walking tour. The opportunity to explore a city or town from the perspective of a local, from someone who knows the place and the quirky things that only a local can share. Small bar walking tours combine historical perspectives with fine cuisine and beverages. They combine local insights with having a good time. They combine a level of indulgence with the healthy impacts of walking.
Last blog post we talked about the Hashtag and the Concierge and how they brought back ideas from travel experiences to implement locally. Recently they were talking and wondering what else they could implement locally, what opportunities were making themselves available? “What are we good at” the Concierge asked, “Going out, socializing, drinking and eating” replied the Hashtag…. “Boom” Small Bar Walking Tour!
The recently revitalized Chinatown precinct of Broome is the perfect location for such a tour. Broome’s Chinatown is the most unique Chinatown precinct in the world and overflowing with interesting facts and trivia from recent memory and history. Most Chinatown precincts develop as a result of Chinese immigrants setting up businesses in a single location to provide mutual cultural support. Usually they are in a minority within the larger community they migrated to. However, in 1920 Broome, the population was 5,000 and the minority was the non-Asian white European Australians who numbered only 900 or so. The precinct was not so much a Chinatown precinct, it was just town. In 1920 the precinct was Broome. It was the centre of the beating heart of the pearling industry that was Broome. The minority group (only in number, but not in political power) lived outside of the precinct in what is now referred to as Old Broome and they referred to the precinct as Jap-town as approximately half the population was then Japanese.
The pearling industry was so important and lucrative that Broome was declared exempt from the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901 (also known as the White Australia Policy). Yes, one of the first things the newly Federated Australia did was to try and white-wash Australia. This act made Broome even more unique with its majority population of Asian labour. In its heyday Broome had greater connection to Asia, with a fortnightly shipping service to Singapore, that among other things carried the Pearling Masters whites for laundering.
Post WW2 the precinct became known as Chinatown, as the Japanese were interned and had their land confiscated during that war. The Chinese brought curious things to Broome that became part of the culture of this unique town. They brought long soup, noodles and salty plums. “What shall we call the new tour” the Hashtag asked? “Salty Plum Social - Small Bar Walking Tour” the Concierge replied. With that #SaltyPlumSoCial became the newest experience in Broome.
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Feature image courtesy of Abby Murray Photography