Check out the full Shinju Matsuri program at shinjumatsuri.com.au
Affectionately known as the ‘pearl of the north’, it’s the home of South Sea pearls – among the largest and most coveted commercially-harvested cultured pearls in the world. Their discovery in the 1800s fuelled a mass-migration almost as epic as the gold rush. Japanese, Filipino and Malay pearl divers arrived in droves seeking their fortune, creating a melting pot of cultures that makes Broome the multicultural town it is today.
The annual Shinju Matsuri (Japanese for “Festival of the Pearl”) originated from three cultural festivals – Japanese Obon Matsuri, Malaysian Hari Merdeka, Independence Day from British rule in 1957, and the Chinese Hang Seng. Shinju Matsuri rekindles the excitement and romance of Broome’s early days of being a world-renowned producer of South Sea Pearls when the Japanese, Chinese, Malay, Koepangers, Filipino and Europeans flocked to Broome from the late 1800’s to be a part of this prosperity. This unique multicultural population of pearl industry workers joined with the local Aboriginal people and Europeans to work on up to 400 Pearling Luggers that sailed out of Broome.
Broome’s people and businesses have given generously to show their love of Broome over the 50 year life of the Festival and is a testament to the character and culture of this special place. The volunteer Board of Shinju Matsuri is driven by the community and sees the festival as an opportunity to re-educate and inform the community of the cultural heritage of Broome. Ensuring that education and information is passed on to young people and new arrivals will assure that Broome’s unique and diverse identity is acknowledged and remembered through the generations.
Shinju Matsuri will tempt your senses with an exciting whirlwind of colour, sound, taste and smell as the community shares this beautiful locale with the world and the people who call it home.