Sunday, September 24, 2006


I'm just back from Broome. It's an extraordinary and exciting place - a thriving cultural centre. For me it was very Westaustralian and far from the eastern seaboard, which is the Australia I know. It felt like the opposite Australian pole to temperate white established Melbourne. (Sidebar: A banker friend said 30% of the Australian economy is now in WA.) While we were there we caught up with Suzie, Rebecca and Adrian of Magabala. A different publishing experience to black dog but with much in common as an independent Australian publisher mapping the Australian culture - lots of the same frustrations and satisfactions - and some different ones. There are actually three publishers in Broome for a population (according to the guidebook) of 12,000 - and two printers. And the publishing has a strong emphasis on children's books.

Marie Gamble runs a very excellent bookshop at the Kimberley Bookshop - the deeply polished floor boards and old-fashioned windows, Broome-style, made it a stylish and cool retreat from the heat with lots of yummy books to peruse. The bookshop was begun by nuns - Anne Coombs and Susan Varga's 'Broometime' has the story.

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