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Chinatown Conservation Area


Shire of Broome

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


Frederick/Chapple/Short Sts Broome

Location Details

Extending from Frederick St to the end of Chapple St and from the end of Short Street to the rear of properties on the eastern side of Dampier Terrace Carnarvon St, Napier Tce, Dampier Tce, Short Street, Frederick, Gray, Hamersley, Stewart & Weld Sts

Other Name(s)

Includes Aboriginal Site - Undanda

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1880, Constructed from 1920

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List Adopted 28 Aug 2014
State Register Registered 20 Apr 2004 Register Entry
Assessment Documentation
Heritage Council

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register Permanent

Heritage Council
Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register Interim

Heritage Council
Register of the National Estate Registered 18 Apr 1989

Heritage Council
Other Legal Agreement YES 18 Aug 2005

Heritage Council
Classified by the National Trust Adopted 07 Jun 1983

Heritage Council
Municipal Inventory Adopted 28 Aug 2014 Grading A

Grading A

A place of exceptional cultural heritage significance to Shire of Broome and the state of Western Australia, that is either in the Heritage Council of Western Australia’s Register of Heritage Places, or worthy of consideration for entry into the Register. A place worthy of recognition and protection through provisions of the Shire of Broome’s Town Planning Scheme. Recommend: Maximum encouragement to owners to retain and conserve the place. Full consultation with property owner prior to making the recommendation.

Statement of Significance

Chinatown Conservation Area is significant for the distinctive features of the architectural style that continues to characterize the area.
The existing original fabric is significant for its association with Roebuck Bay’s pearling operations, which commenced about 1880 and were unequalled in Australia, and for the associated improvisation of structures to accommodate not only the tropical climate but to service pearlers, divers, lugger crews and commercial operators, with the cultural diversity of Broome being Western Australia’s first multicultural town being reflected in the nature of the buildings.
The place is representative of the types of construction the place contributes to the community’s sense of place for its continued role as the town’s business and retail centre especially for pearl dealers, restaurateurs and general traders. In more recent decades Chinatown is significant as a tourism attraction in Broome.

Physical Description

The place has aesthetic value for the distinctive features that originally defined the mixed, and sometimes contiguous, architectural style of Chinatown, and continue to characterise the area. The contiguous component of this style is typified by small single and two-storey structures, symmetrical facades with small windows, vertically and horizontally lined corrugated galvanised iron wall and roof coverings, storm shutters, lattice screens, verandahs across the facade, balcony. The use of rare for their extensive use of storm shutters, encircling verandah, wind scoop (Hanoe’s Cottage) and masonry stumps that separate the buildings’ envelope from the ground additions, and criss-cross timber balustrade infill; the remaining fabric of the place is historically significant for its association with Roebuck Bay’s pearling operations. The place contains Sun Picture Gardens, a rare example of a purpose built picture garden still in commercial operation.


The area known as Chinatown developed from the first camps and corrugated iron sheds built to house the dive crews. The area was originally called Jap Town because of the number of Japanese divers resident there. As well as housing the boat crews and divers, the area also provided entertainment and was the site of much of the pearling business and commercial activity of Broome. Chinatown was known for the buildings crammed onto the lots, accessed by walkways and lanes from the streets. Most of these buildings have gone, with only those fronting the streets remaining, and the majority of these have been rebuilt or remodelled. New buildings, constructed in the style of the old, have also been added. On the west side of Carnarvon Street, a modern shopping centre has been built. Chinatown is a remnant of Broome's boom pearling years.


Modifications: Various alterations and fitouts.


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Heritage Council of WA Assessment Documentation- Chinatown Conservation Area". 2003

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
8335 Historic buildings of the Kimberley region of W.A. Book 1988
9600 Broome: maps and places of heritage interest. Heritage Study {Other} 0
6781 Chinatown development strategy (July 2002). Report 2002
9461 Documentation of places for entry in the Register of Heritage Places: Chinatown conservation area, Broome. Heritage Study {Other} 2001
7401 Chinatown development strategy (February 2003). Heritage Study {Other} 2003
1131 Chinatown development strategy. Heritage Study {Other} 1995
8391 Streeter & Male staff quarters (fmr). Short Street (rear,) Chinatown, Broome. Archival record. Archival Record 2007

Place Type

Precinct or Streetscape


Epoch General Specific
Present Use COMMERCIAL Restaurant
Original Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Theatre or Cinema
Present Use COMMERCIAL Shop\Retail Store {single}
Present Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Theatre or Cinema

Architectural Styles


Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall TIMBER Other Timber
Wall METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall CONCRETE Other Concrete

Historic Themes

General Specific
OCCUPATIONS Fishing & other maritime industry
OCCUPATIONS Commercial & service industries
OUTSIDE INFLUENCES Depression & boom
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Racial contact & interaction
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Immigration, emigration & refugees
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Land allocation & subdivision

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

20 Oct 2020


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.