SEE & DO
Morgan's Camp was the site of early pearling and crew camps, in particular those of pearlers Kennedy, Norman and Goldie. Boat building was an important part of the activities in the area. In the late 1920s or early 1930s, Alfred Chambers Morgan commenced a pearling operation based at the site, where he housed his Japanese, Chinese and Malay crews. Morgan had been fleet manager with Captain Gregory and later with Streeter and Male. Alf Morgan married Sylvia Nelson. After she died in 1937 during childbirth, he remarried to Sylvia's younger sister Ruby (Pops) Nelson and they had two children. Both Alf and Ruby were active members of the Broome Tennis Club and Alf owned several racehorses. Alf Morgan built his pearling fleet to six luggers. In the late 1950s, he declined Sam Male's invitation to join him in the new cultivated pearl business, and with his son Richard attempted to set up his own pearl farm. Alf died in 1971, aged 74, and Richard established successful pearl farming on the Monte Bello Islands. Alf's wife Ruby died in 1995 and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery with her husband. Morgan's Camp has been used by Aboriginal groups for over seventy years. In the 1980s, there were a number of permanent residents (most in pearling industry) including brothers Richard and Joseph Hunter. One dwelling remains within the flat low lying area bordering the mangroves, although there are another two dwellings in Chapple Street. To view Morgan’s Camp head down Carnarvon Street, past Paspaley Plaza, turn right at Gray Street then left down Chapple Street.
Streeter's Jetty was built for pearl dealers and merchants E. W. Streeter & Co of London, and is known to have been in existence in 1897. A channel cut through the mangroves to Dampier Creek provided access to Streeter's Jetty for luggers and other small vessels. Associated with the jetty were the Streeter and Male Stores on Short Street. In 1897, the Government provided a town jetty at Mangrove Point, and a tramway was built to link the jetties and Chinatown. The tramway operated until 1948. The jetty is subject to great variations in the tide, being sometimes covered with water. To view Streeter’s Jetty head along Dampier terrace to where it meets Short Street.
Johnny Chi Lane
Twenty story panels on the walls in the laneway tell about the history of this particular area of Chinatown and of John Chi. John Chi was a pearler with an interesting history who invested in property in Broome’s Chinatown, giving his name to Johnny Chi Lane, where he ran a long-soup kitchen. Johnny Chi Lane is accesible from either Dampier Terrace or Carnarvon Street and is mid-way between Short Street and Napier Terrace.
The Sun Pictures building in Broome’s Chinatown was constructed at the turn of the century (1903) on a site owned by the Yamsaki family. Initially the spacious double-fronted tin structure served as an Asian emporium selling imported Asian foodstuffs, clothing and other household goods to Broome’s community. The Yamasaki building was the most commodious store in Carnarvon Street, an area where shops, bazaars, brothels, food stalls, in the Asian quarter known as Chinatown. The Yamasaki family’s love affair with theatre however, saw them devote a portion of the building to a Japanese playhouse where traditional Noh theatre was performed. In 1913, Master Pearler Ted Hunter purchased the building from the Yamasaki family and commissioned architect Claude Hawkes, to design and construct a picture theatre that would seat up to 500 people. Sun Pictures officially opened on December 9th 1916 with a silent movie, English Racing Drama ‘Kissing Cup’ with supporting ‘Bachelor Brown’ Comic. Thus began the silent movie era for Broome. With a traditional horse-drawn tramway running between the Town Beach jetty and Chinatown, people would flock from miles around to enjoy this exciting new social event.
Roebuck Bay Lookout
The Roebuck Bay Lookout is situated at the top of Dampier Terrrace on the corner of Frederick Street in Chinatown and provides a scenic viewing platform with sweeping views over Roebuck Bay and Dampier Creek. The lookout was collaboratively designed, celebrating the rich Aboriginal history of this significant cultural site. It features artwork and interpretive information created by Yawuru Traditional Owners in conjunction with Broome Senior High School.
There are many significant artworks in Chinatown, see below for the Art Trail map.