Novelist imagines Broome a hundred years ago

by Sunday, March 1, 2020

This week we travel to Broome with novelist Caroline Beecham. 

Caroline is the author of two books; Maggie’s Kitchen, which was shortlisted for Booktopia’s Best Historical Fiction in 2016, and Eleanor’s Secret. Her third novel, Finding Eadie, will be published by Allen & Unwin in July 2020. Caroline was also named Best New Author by AusRom Today.

Caroline has worked on a documentary about Princess Diana lookalikes, a series about journeys to the ends of the earth, as well as a feature film about finding the end of the rainbow. While she has done none of these things herself, she has discovered that she loves to write and to share lesser-known histories; and in particular those of pioneering women.

Although she has found a new way of storytelling, Caroline is still passionate about film and television and is currently developing Maggie’s Kitchen as a drama series.

Tell us about your favourite travel destination?

Broome in WA is a favourite holiday destination for our family. We first went there when I was pregnant sixteen years ago and we’ve been back nearly every year since. The scenery is stunning, the temperature of the Indian Ocean is perfect and the 5km Cable Beach walk is a wonderful way to start each day. The area has a rich and fascinating history with its Yawuru and indigenous cultures, its pearling industry and the natural beauty creating a truly distinct atmosphere; its frontier town meets the ocean and you can imagine just what it might have been like a hundred years ago.

What’s your top tip for holidaying in Broome?

Start and end each day at Cable Beach—the walk in the morning and watching the sunset in the evening; and try the camel ride if you’re feeling adventurous. Great restaurants include the Wharf Restaurant for oysters and fresh fish, Matzos for mango beer and Friday night curry, and the Mango Farm for all its mango produce. If you have a few days, then explore Cape Leveque as it’s well worth the drive.

Tell us about something you always pack when you travel?

I always take a notebook; walking inspires me so it’s good not to miss the moment. I’m not a capsule wardrobe traveller and like to have choice so I always take too many dresses because they’re versatile and of course, wide-brimmed hats! The best travel tip, which a nutritionist gave me, is to take Betadine to gargle with on flights and before bed as the throat is where germs live and no one wants to get sick on holiday.

Tell us about a destination on your bucket list, for future travels?

I have a real yearn to visit the Hamptons and Vermont; too many novels and TV shows have stirred a curiosity but I’d also like to travel through South America and the Galapagos too.

Describe a travel disaster – or near-miss – which stays in your mind?

I have so many it’s hard to choose; breaking my ankle on the journey to Easter Island and not being able to climb the hillside to see the statues is a huge regret, but then it could be an excuse for going back. And then there was the poisonous spider bite in Yosemite Valley; I had to drive all the way back up the Pacific Highway to Monterey to the hospital but managed to get a coffee refill on the way back through the Big Sur—the attendant thought it was very amusing when I limped in six hours later!

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