Broome’s Lighthouse History
Anastasia’s Pool was devastated in 2014 by a violent storm. Conceived as a natural rock pool by a lighthouse keeper for his wife with arthritis, Anastasia’s Pool became popular for bathing and telling tales of their love between husband and wife.
Ladders and gangways can be hazardous environments. Always wear non-slip footwear when working on them to remain safe.
The History of Broome’s Lighthouses
Lighthouses are essential in safely navigating the vast ocean. Their beam of light can be seen for miles away at sea, providing ships with safe navigation even during stormy or foggy nights. A lighthouse can also serve to warn ships away from hazards like rocks and reefs that pose risks; their presence has guided many ships and people toward safety over centuries.
Broome boasts three historic lighthouses that are worth seeing, each boasting its own rich and interesting past.
Gantheaume Point Lighthouse was constructed in 1906 to mark the entrance to Broome harbour during a time of rapid development as a pearling port. Accompanied by a keepers cottage, workmen constructed an underground rock pool which filled at high tide; Anastasia used this natural pool until a wild storm in 2014 caused its destruction; now only ghost pools remain.
Damian Kelly used figurines and real photographs to recreate scenes of Patrick and Anastasia’s romance in an artwork created locally. Though his rendition may seem romantic, it may actually have been created by another lighthouse keeper altogether – making this portrait unreliable from historical standpoint.
Reddell Beach is a favourite among locals and can be found along the unpaved Kavite Road leading up to Gantheaume Point Lighthouse. Best visited during sunset hours when its vibrant colours can be enhanced by sunlight’s illumination of rock formations.
The Shire of Broome has introduced an interactive free walking tour app called ‘Explore Broome’, providing visitors with a self-guided walking experience to help explore major precincts of Broome. This free app features two trails; one exploring culture and heritage in Town Beach area while the other features the attractions in Chinatown; both can be downloaded for both iPhones and Androids via Apple App Store and Google Play.
The History of Streeter’s Jetty
Broome’s Jetty is one of the key landmarks in its long and rich history, having been constructed during pearling’s golden era in 1897. Visitors can visit it with the assistance of the Broome Historical Museum; at low tide for optimal viewing experience! Also remember to bring plenty of mosquito repellent!
As part of your visit, don’t miss the chance to witness stunning views of Cable Beach and Roebuck Bay Amphitheatre from Streeter’s Jetty. Additionally, this marks the starting point for our self-guided Jetty to Jetty Walk which covers 2.5kms over thirteen sites that contribute to our history and heritage.
While no definitive evidence can be cited, it’s believed that the jetty was named for William Streeter, a longtime resident who contributed significantly to early development of town and port activities. Streeter served on numerous local committees before running twice for US Congress but ultimately failed.
Since its construction, the jetty has been used by fishermen, pearlers and local community members – as well as ships carrying supplies to West Kimberley pearling settlements along the coastline.
Today, the jetty serves as an idyllic location to sit back and watch life go by, fishing and snorkelling are also very popular activities on it. Additionally, its diverse collection of birds includes Western Ospreys and Striated Herons which reside there as well.
Gantheaume Point Lighthouse was constructed and opened for service in 1906, featuring a four-roomed Keeper’s House for its four keepers, but was replaced by an automated lighthouse by 1917; unfortunately, the Keeper Cottage was sold off and later destroyed by fire.
Gantheaume Point is also worth visiting to experience its remarkable dinosaur footprints, straight out of Jurassic Park! These incredible markings can be seen during times of extra low tide.
Following its reconstruction, the Town Beach Jetty is now open for public use and should be equipped with sunscreen and a hat! Make sure your trip includes enough time for relaxation!
The History of Anastasia’s Pool
Lighthouses are an important part of Broome’s history, but they cannot reveal every facet of the area. Gantheaume Point in particular is famed for containing 130 million-year-old dinosaur footprints that can be seen during low tide in the intertidal area at Gantheaume Point. According to Nigel Clarke (Local Dinosaur Footprint Researcher), you can spot three-toed theropod prints belonging to five-metre long Tyrannosaurus type predatory dinosaurs while sauropod footprints of 30 meter long 70 tonnes Brontosaurus type predatory dinosaurs among them.
Anastasia’s Pool, a natural rockpool modified (cemented) by the lighthouse keeper to offer his wife relief when suffering from arthritis pain, quickly became an iconic fixture of this community – even appearing in a popular children’s book!
But the real story of Patrick and Anastasia Percy was far more intricate. According to Brett Lappan of Broome tour company Curious Kimberley, Patrick was an extramarital bigamist; upon Anastasia’s death without leaving an estate plan in 1929, an Australian law firm was hired in Perth to find her heirs and divide the estate accordingly.
After her death, the residence became a nun’s retreat and Girl Guide groups would visit during the 1930s – it is thought that this visit is when non-Aboriginal visitors first observed dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point.
The lookout is now owned and managed by the Shire of Broome, and open to visitors during daylight hours. Here you can enjoy breathtaking coastal views including majestic sand dunes and red rocks on Roebuck Bay’s western side, or capture classic Kimberley colours sunset photos over Indian Ocean.
From the lighthouse, Reddell Beach can be reached either on foot or driving along Kavite Road for a scenic drive. Be mindful to check local tide information during Turtle Nesting Season on beaches where turtle nesting occurs and always complete a risk assessment before venturing out to remote locations with potential natural hazards.
The History of Gantheaume Point
Nicolas Baudin named this rocky headland Gantheaume Point while charting the coast in 1801. At first he mistook it for an island, but eventually learned that it made an ideal anchorage and tide waiting spot.
Gantheaume Point is famous for its 130 million-year-old dinosaur footprints that can be seen at low tide. These prints play an integral part of Roebuck Bay and Dampier Peninsula Aboriginal culture and also serve as reminders of our ancestors’ journey across Australia as well as sources of inspiration for artists, dancers, and musicians.
Gantheaume Minyirr offers visitors an opportunity to view footprints by taking a walk into the intertidal area when the tide is low and sea conditions are calm – only fit and healthy people with proper footwear should attempt this experience! Moulded casts of the footprints are also available for viewing by visitors.
Following Rebecca Neufeld’s tragic drowning off Gantheaume Minyirr in 2014, Yawuru Park Council and Broome Shire joined forces to install a life ring at this significant cultural site to improve water safety in an area with strong tides and dangerous coastal environments. It is an essential step towards improving safety for swimmers.
Gantheaume Lighthouse was an indispensable navigational aid during the pearling era in the 1900s, serving ships passing through Gantheaume Harbour. Constructed in 1906 along with four roomed Keeper’s House. When no longer necessary as an essential lighthouse keeper house, Pat Percy took up pearling with wife Anastasia, inventing his pearl box to store pearls securely while on board and serving on Broome Road Board as an active member – operating 6 pearling luggers between 1903 and 1904.
In 1984, the original lighthouse was rebuilt as a stainless steel trellis tower, 27m high with fibreglass lantern. The former keeper’s quarters were sold off while its stone chimney remains at the carpark for visitors to enjoy. Interpretive panels provide information about Colourful Patrick and Anastasia Pearling who both pearled for her husband Patrick in addition to local dinosaur footprints nearby.