Another year of highs lows kept Broome and Derby on our toes. Northern Papers Editor JakebWaddell looks back at the biggest news stories that made headlines in the first half of 2019. JANUARY Flying high… again! Broome secured another set of direct international return trial flights from Singapore, with a raft of improvements from 2018, including online bookings and connectivity through to Europe. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! The town united for the annual Australia Day celebration at Town Beach – an event that saw respected youth worker Michael Haji Ali named community citizen of the year. Hot and bothered Hundreds of apprentices enrolled at North Regional TAFE were told they must wear long trousers and long-sleeve shirts to their courses, despite it being the hottest time of the year. The call sparked outcry from a Broome mechanic garage owner, who said there was no such requirement in the normal workplace because it was simply too hot and humid. FEBRUARY Browse war A plan to build a $65 million airport in the Djarindjin community, that would completely relocate all oil and gas helicopters from Broome, triggered warnings it would devastate the local economy and send airfares soaring. A confidential proposal obtained by the Broome Advertiser detailed the construction of the hub, a joint initiative between the Djarindjin Aboriginal Corporation and global helicopter company CHC, which included intentions to build a 2300m x 45m runway. Transforming Town Beach The next stage of the multi million-dollar transformation of Town Beach kicked off, which saw additional parking and internal roadway constructed by local firm Roadline Civil Contractors. Coroner’s recommendations WA Coroner Ros Fogliani handed down 42 recommendations after an inquest into the suicide of 13 children from the region. Her main findings included blanket restrictions on takeaway alcohol in the Kimberley, universal screening for FASD during infant health assessments and appointing a Commissioner for Aboriginal children and young persons. Booze restriction agreement Community and industry representatives agreed to voluntarily introduce liquor restrictions in Broome, as part of a 12-month trial to reduce antisocial behaviour and alcohol-fuelled violence in town. Animal welfare probe North West pastoral industry leaders met with Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan in Broome after revelations of mass cattle deaths at two stations in the Kimberley and Pilbara. Full steam ahead A task force investigating a safe boat harbour for recreational boating in Broome unveiled an area between the Port of Broome and Entrance Point as the location for the massive project. Ready to roar Former Cable Beach Greenback stars Anthony Treacy and CJ Oakley signed with the Claremont Tigers. MARCH Mardi Gras extravaganza Broome came alive in fabulous style as hundreds packed out the Mangrove Hotel for the 2019 Mardi Gras celebrations, featuring some of the nation’s leading drag queens. Class act The first artist’s impression of how the $20 million redevelopment of Broome Senior High School would look were unveiled. Businesses at breaking point The hard-working business community spoke out about the impact itinerant people in the shopping heart of the town had on their livelihoods and tourism. The problem had festered for years, but Chinatown retailers contacted the Broome Advertiser to say it was time to make a stand. G’day Greg! The region welcomed a new cop to tackle the most senior position, with Greg Crofts bringing 35 years of experience to the role of Kimberley District Superintendent. Saint Tracey St Kilda Football Club patriarch and Shire of Broome president Harold Tracey played a key role in getting star AFL player Jack Steven back on to the field, after stepping away to focus on his mental health. Then St Kilda champion Steven stayed for 10 days at Mr Tracey’s Coconut Wells retreat and managed 23 disposals in a stellar performance during his side’s opening round. APRIL Docker dropped anchor Retired Fremantle Dockers champion Luke McPharlin cut himself his own slice of paradise when he and his family moved to call Broome home. Residents took a stand A spate of theft crimes in Broome sparked a public uproar about the method in which juveniles were dealt with in court. A local woman launched an online petition calling for harsher penalties for youth crimes, which received more than 1000 signatures in one week. Ag girls in spotlight Daisy Goodwin and Mariah Maughan were shortlisted in the Young Achiever Awards WA agriculture category, a prize Miss Goodwin would go on to win one month later. Max on a mission At just 13-years-old, Max Beadle handed out more than 200 football boots to kids playing the game barefoot in the Kimberley. Back in red and yellow Lifeguards returned to the world-famous Cable Beach to begin patrols, marking the start of another tourist season. Labor staffer investigated WA Police launched an investigation into the office of State MP Josie Farrer after she took the unusual step of handing over full financial authority for her office to staff member Leuwin O’Connell. Local tour boon A spate of new indigenous tour operators emerged in the Broome market, drawing praise from political and business leaders. MAY School works spark outcry The only Kimberley building company to throw its hat in the ring for the $20 million BSHS revamp was not shortlisted for the major project. Broome Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Peter Taylor wrote to Premier Mark McGowan, calling out the Labor Party’s pre-election commitment to give local builders a bigger share of work on State Government jobs. Last minute pitch Candidates vying for the Federal seat of Durack made their last minute pledges before polling day in Broome. Youth crime pledge The State Government set aside millions of dollars to address the youth crime spree plaguing the Kimberley, as part of its 2019/20 Budget. Footprint clean up Local company Footprint Cleaning tidied up once again at the BCCI Small Business Awards, where they took out the inaugural Business of the Year prize. BVC lifeline Broome Visitor Centre was thrown an 11th-hour lifeline after the not-for-profit organisation revealed its current model was not sustainable. The centre approached its landlord, the Shire of Broome, for financial help, with council agreeing to allocate $99,000 and waive outstanding fees of $60,000. Open for business The multimillion-dollar facelift of Broome’s historic and vibrant Chinatown was finally complete and the town celebrated the opening of the newly revitalised CBD. Polo paradise The Airnorth Cable Beach Polo returned with a bang, with hundreds of punters dressing to impress for all the thrills and spills of the high-class Broome event. Crime strategy paid off Additional officers were sent to Broome to target alarming rates of juvenile crime, a move Supt Crofts labelled an “undeniable success.” Price keeps her seat Liberal MP Melissa Price was convincingly re-elected to the seat of Durack, enjoying a 2.5 per cent swing in her electorate. She was later appointed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to the Minister for Defence position. JUNE Off and racing The gates at the picturesque dirt track at Gantheaume Point swung open and Broome kicked off another three-month racing season, attracting thousands of tourists from across the nation. Outback tourism Resorts and camping grounds on the Dampier Peninsula came under the microscope of the State Government, in the wake of the sealing of the Broome to Cape Leveque Road. Tourism WA was leading the large-scale Dampier Peninsula Project to increase he number an quality of accommodation facilities at several remote indigenous communities. McGowans’s job pledge Premier Mark McGowan promised a roundtable discussion with Broome builders and contractors would be held to review barriers to competing for local State Government contracts, following an uproar after no local company was shortlisted for the BSHS works. Up, up and away The second series of trial flights between Broome and Singapore were up and running, marking the next step to making the route between the two destinations a permanent, direct service. Just days after the second trial finished, a taskforce of WA representatives travelled to the Lion City to meet with airline executives and make their case for an ongoing link. Mine-d the gap Sheffield Resources managing director Bruce McFadzean was confident the company was just months away from securing a strategic partner to fund the remaining $250 million financial gap for the Thunderbird Mineral Sands mine, between Broome and Derby. JULY Rate relief Shire of Broome councillors unanimously agreed to keep a lid on rates, with the local government tax charges on rising by 1.75 per cent for the 2019/20 financial year. Flight fury A tender process for long-awaited commercial passenger flights between Perth and Derby failed, after no airline had submitted a cost-effective option for the twice weekly 12-month trial. Liquor restriction delay Restrictions on the sale of takeaway alcohol in Broome were delayed, as the local Liquor Accord looked to fund the required technology. Playwright’s tragic end The circumstances surrounding the death of acclaimed playwright Jimmy Chi surfaced at his inquest in Broome, after he died from a heart attack while an involuntary patient at Broome Hospital in 2017. Sonic Broome quake quiver A once-in-a-generation earthquake, that was later revealed to be the strongest in WA history, rocked Broome on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Residents had to flee outside for safety after the 6.6 magnitude quake rattled buildings, but the town and its cyclone-proof buildings dodged any major damage. Hometown hero Kimberley boy Francis Watson made his AFL debut for the West Coast Eagles after signing with the club at the end of 2016. AUGUST BDR call The peak body representing liquor outlets across the State visited Broome to begin a campaign for a banned drinkers’ register in the tourist hotspot. Builders had their say Broome builders and suppliers voiced their frustrations over barriers to bidding for State Government contracts at an open forum in town. The meeting was a commitment by Premier Mark McGowan after public uproar over four Perth-based companies being shortlisted for the $20 million Broome Senior High School redevelopment. Party time for uni The University of Notre Dame Australia Broome celebrated the 25th anniversary of its campus in the Kimberley town, boasting a rich cultural history of ups and downs. Off and racing The biggest sporting and social event in the Kimberley returned with a bang, as the 2019 racing season culminated in the $120,000 stake Broome Cup Oh boy, it’s Mauboy! The town turned out to showcase itself to thousands across the country, as Sky News presenter Paul Murray hosted a live broadcast from Broome, with special guest Jessica Mauboy, who has strong ties to the Kimberley. Vale, Ningali Broome actor Ningali Lawford-Wolf, famous for her roles in films including Rabbit-Proof Fence and Bran Nue Dae, died while on tour with the Sydney Theatre Company in the UK, aged 52. Port dredged The $15 million dredging of the Port of Broome was completed to allow passenger liners to dock at the jetty at any time or tide level. Roadworks on track Work to seal the last red dirt section of the Broome to Cape Leveque Road through the Dampier Peninsula were on track for completion by 2021. Airport upgrades unveiled Plans for the $14 million redevelopment of Broome International Airport, the largest in its history, were unveiled to the public. SEPTEMBER Slow roast turned expresso Kimberley Coffee Company owner Mark Bentham spilled the beans after his proposal to run a beverage delivery service from his kiosk at the Broome Visitor Centre was finally given a shot, after brewing with the Shire for months. Rates rise Property owners in the Shire of Derby-West Kimberley were hit with a 6 per cent rate rise for the financial year. Animal emergency It was revealed that dozens of dogs and cats faced being put down in Broome each week and the future looked bleak for animals of the town, with an extreme shortage of funding and volunteers. Doomed airport bid Premier Mark McGowan effectively ended a proposal from the Djarindjin Aboriginal Corporation to build an airport on the Dampier Peninsula to service the oil and gas industry. Cultural melting pot The biggest annual celebration of Broome’s multicultural history kicked, Shinju Matsuri, was held over eight days, which included the popular float parade, long table dinner and floating lantern ceremony. Zone tax blow A report calling on the Federal Government to scrap the zone tax offset claimed by residents of regional areas across the nation, including Broome, was labelled a “slap in the face” by business owners and leaders of the Kimberley town. More money for Chinatown Broome’s historic Chinatown precinct was set for another multimillion-dollar facelift, after stage two of its redevelopment was announced by the State Government. A total of $15 million would be spent to extend the refurbishments to include Short Street and Napier Terrace. Jetty given green light The McGowan Government ticked off on a $110 million floating jetty for Broome that would create 500 permanent jobs and open the town up as the State’s major service hub for the oil and gas industry. Business leaders and politicians said the Kimberley Marine Support Base facility would be the biggest capital works project seen in the tourist mecca this century and mark the end of a period of slow economic growth. OCTOBER Future looks bright The Kimberley Economic Forum attracted a strong field of politicians, business leaders and experts to Derby, all with the goal of growing the local economy. Life sentence for murderer Vance Mazur, 51, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 15 years for murdering Shaun Stewart Everett outside a Broome bottle shop with a knife in December 2017. Beauty crowned queen Derby’s Brianna Ozies was named Kimberley Girl winner for 2019 after taking to the catwalk alongside 10 other finalists for the self-development program. All for charity The “who’s who” of Perth made the trip to Broome to reach deep into their pockets for Rob Broadfield’s annual Weekend for Telethon. New port chief Kimberley Ports Authority welcomed Craig Faulkner as its new chief executive. The experienced leaders said he was on a mission to deliver better economic outcomes for the authority and town. Council shake-up Bruce Rudeforth and Chris Mitchell retained their seats in a tightly contested Shire of Broome election, while newcomers Fiona West and Peter Taylor were voted in, along with former deputy president Nik Wevers. Megan jets in Perth-raised supermodel Megan Gale landed in Broome to speak at a national women in business conference. Bran Nue Dae to rise again It was announced that the late Jimmy Chi’s legendary treasure Bran Nue Dae would be brought back to life for a 2020 tour, bringing together the ultimate cast of talented locals and famous faces from around the nation. NOVEMBER School’s winning culture Cable Beach Primary School earned the WA Premier’s Excellence in Aboriginal Education accolade at the WA Education Awards. Region’s next big thing? Lands Minister Ben Watt called for expressions of interest to determine the best use for the south-east portion of the 75,000ha Waterbank Station. Hemsworth loves the Kimberley Thor actor Chris Hemsworth gave the Kimberley the ultimate shout-out when he named it his favourite fishing spot in the country at a tourism campaign launch in the East. Rest in peace Baamba Broome musician and actor Stephen “Baamba” Albert died in his Perth hospital bed, aged 69. The indigenous talent was best known for his roles in the Bran Nue Dae and Corrugation Road musicals. Shattered paradise Broome and Derby were in the midst of another surge in youth crime, but this time the offences were more aggressive. Leg-up for port The first trial run of a new $750,000 above-deck passenger gangway started, designed to suit the Kimberley’s 10m-plus tides. DECEMBER BVC funding Tens of thousands of dollars continued to be injected into the Broome Visitor Centre to keep the operation afloat. Kimberley Universities Centre A multi-agency taskforce of politicians, community leaders and educators united to begin discussions around a plan to increase the university course options offered in Broome. Swell times ahead The long-held ambition to redevelop the Broome Surf Life Saving Club overlooking Cable Beach swam ahead, with a new funding package helping to pave the way for construction to begin in 2020. Meth haul A mother of three was one of two Broome women facing a possible 25-year jail term after police allegedly found a massive meth haul during a routine traffic stop. Park shame Bedford Park in Broome was invaded by out-of-towners on ugly drinking binges, forcing police to set up a special taskforce to deal with associated antisocial behaviour. Silent majority no more Broome residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of a $110 million floating jetty for the town, with people power crushing any doubt whether it was wanted by the community and heralding the start of industrialising the Kimberley. More than 200 ratepayers made their feelings known on the single biggest privately funded development in town since the Cable Beach Club Resort was built when they crammed into the Shire of Broome public gallery for the annual electors’ meeting.