Town Beach Broome

by Jack
(Perth. W. A.)

I worked in Broome in 1963. The Town Beach near to the old jetty was then still used by Stateships also the Centaur & Gorgon on the Fremantle Singapore run.

The Town Beach in those days had a steel netting anti shark enclosure. Just after the end of WW2 a young woman swimming in the anti-shark enclosure was attacked by a shark & had part of her arm bitten off. The shark had apparently swam over the net at high tide. She survived, she worked at the meatworks as a clerk & returned to her job when she recovered. I believe she is still alive & well living in Perth.

Comments for Town Beach Broome

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Nov 07, 2009
Sharks at Town Beach
by: Birgit

Thanks for telling us about that, Jack! appreciate it.
That's the first thing I hear about it. Interesting.
Do you happen to know what kind of shark it was?

I wonder, if that was the case, then why has nothing else happened since although there is no shark protection anywhere? And why is there no protection necessary today?
If there was a real risk, they would have nets, wouldn't they? Considering the amount of people coming to Broome for the beaches...

I certainly don't worry about sharks anywhere near the Broome beaches or suggest anyone should, because of an isolated incident over 45 years ago.

Still weird though...

Nov 08, 2009
Town Beach Broome
by: Jack

B, many, many, things are different today than 40-50 years ago in Broome. Approximately where Demco Street is today was located the Farrell Bros owned meatworks. The waste effluent, including the blood, from the meatworks was dicharged directly into Roebuck Bay, without any further treatment. The animal blood, fat, body fluids discharging into the Bay attracted all forms of marine life,including sharks, hence the need for shark protection.
It was a great fishing spot for the locals.

Dermot Farrell ran the works, eldest son of the original owner & builder: J J Farrell. The works was seasonal & opened usually around Easter & closed usually in September. A railway line ran from the works to the old jetty to transport the frozen beef to the Stateships, also the Blue Funnel Line ships: Gorgon/Centaur, for transport to Fremantle and overseas. The regular arrival & departure of these ships was a gala occasion for the Broome residents.

Nov 08, 2009
Oh well... :-)
by: Birgit

Well that explains it :-). I certainly wouldn't have been swimming around there! And I can imagine the fishing would have been good.

Reminds me of the old Wyndham meatworks and the crocs.

Thanks for adding that detail. I was worried your story would spook people. I know sharks are no issue at those beaches, but many tourists from down south or overseas are worried about them. When they hear about an attack that happened on Town Beach they likely won't believe me when I say there's no need to worry about sharks.

Thanks also for telling us more about what it was like. I love hearing about the old days :-).
Yep, many things are different today in Broome...

Aug 18, 2010
Broome 1963
by: aly

I was also in Broome in 1963. Where did you work? I am writing a book on Broome and Derby do you have any photos of back in the sixties? Email
Would love to include them in the book.

Sep 15, 2011
Meat Works Attracted Sharks
by: elizabeth Barclay

I found the story about the Shark at town beach sad but really interesting.

It certainly puts doubt on the continual assertions by some people that discharging waste or setting baits etc in certain areas does not increase the likelihood of shark attacks. It obviously did in this case.

I am glad the threat seems to be much less now that the waste is not discharged into the water.

*My grandfather JJ Farrell was the owner of the Wyndam Meatworks.

Feb 19, 2016
Not the owner of the Wyndham Meatworks

J.J. was the Manager of the Government owned meatworks, when his three sons built the Broome meatworks, Derm Farrell was the first Manager of the Broome, one brother ran the Stations and the other brother ran the Co, office here in Perth. Irishman.

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