The Kimberley Coast- Broome to Lake Argyle
Today the Kimberley Coast is regarded as one of the last great wilderness areas left on the planet, it can be extremely remote and some of it's offshore islands and atolls can go years without human visitation. The coast was not always this way though, and throughout various points in history it has thrived at times with extensive guano mining, fishing activity from our neighbours to the north, indigenous occupation and Japanese and allied activity during the second world war, all have left their mark on the Kimberley Coast and given the isolation and lack of access muh of this history still lays at the surface undisturbed by time and human interferrence.
Ashmore Reef is Western Australia's most remote atoll and coral reef system. It is located on the edge of the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone and only 60 nautical miles south of the Indonesian island of Palau Roti. The reef has a long history as the traditional fishing grounds of Indonesian fishing villages. On West Island a number of graves are indicators of the centuries of Indonesian interaction with the reef. Dotted in the shallows are a number of small Indonesian fishing perhaus that have been sunk by Australian authorities for either people smuggling or illegal fishing activities.
Browse Island is a small football field size island located near Scott Reef around 200 kilometres northwest of the Kimberley coast out from the Prince Regent River. In the late 19th century, the island was extensively mined for guano. Due to no sufficient safe anchorage and mining operations continuing throughout the monsoon season the small island is the final resting place for a number of guano carriers, a number of which are still to be located.
The Lacepedes have a rich maritime history, since the early days of the Broome pearling industry the Islands were used as an anchorage by the pearling fleet, sometimes with disastrous results as cyclones swept in from the Indian Ocean on a number of occasions throughout history. Although a large number of pearl luggers lay undiscovered in the waters surrounding the islands, the most significant wreck on the Lacepedes the wreck of the Manfred, associated with the extensive guano mining operations that occured on the islands between 1876 and 1884.
Probably one of Western Australia's most unique dive sites. The Argyle Downs Homestead was submerged by rising water levels following the damming of the Ord River in 1971 as part of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme. Numerous buildings and structures can be dived on this freshwater site. Visibility is low and divers must come prepared for this memorable dive.
On March 3rd, 1942 nine Japanese Imperial Navy "Zero" fighter aircraft attacked the small town of Broome that was used as a refuelling point for allied seaplanes. During the air raid the Japanese fighters succeeded in destroying 15 flying boats at anchor in Roebuck Bay and shot down an American B24 Liberator which was lost 7 miles out to sea off Cable Beach, the B24 has never been relocated. On the edge of the mudflats in Roebuck Bay with some wrecks exposed at low tide and some in the deeper water of the channel.
Other wreck sites with little remains on the Kimberley Coast
The wreck of the Calliance is located on Calliance Point in the Camden Harbour, little remains of the wreck except a ballast pile of basalt stone that is exposed at low tide. The wreck is associated to the failed Camden Harbour settlement and on the shore nearby ruins of the settlement still remain to this day. Given the remote location of the site, lack of wreck material and the presence of salt water crocodiles the reward is far outweighed by the risk for diving this wreck
In the pipeline:
Rowley Shoals - Lively
Cartier Island-Ann Millicent
- RAAF Beaufighter
Vansittart Bay- B24-A72 80 Old Nick