Places in the heart: Marilynne Paspaley

Desert grandeur ? Marilynne Paspaley loves Broome's cultural mix.
Desert grandeur ? Marilynne Paspaley loves Broome's cultural mix. 

As a ''typical cynical'' teenager, Marilynne Paspaley thought Broome and its pearls boring. Fast forward and the WA businesswoman admits she adores this Kimberley town.

I love looking at Broome's landscape. The desert meets the sea and it has a unique beauty and contrasting colours. And you just can't beat the beach — the ocean changes all day and still captures and surprises me. There is a softness about the colours that is calming and contemplative. We have the most wonderful sunsets and moonlight and a billion stars.

I saw my first Broome pearl when I was very young. My father was a master pearler here.
I remember when I was a typical, cynical 16-year-old and I told my father that I thought pearl jewellery was boring. He gave me the challenge to create something beautiful and I made a magnificent bracelet, which was very exciting.

I used to go to the Shinju Matsuri, Broome's Festival of the Pearl, when it was a genuine celebration of the end of the pearling season. It was a hidden treasure in those days and I met people from around the world who came to Broome just for that festival. There was feasting in the different communities – the Japanese, the Chinese and the general population.

The region's food has always been fabulous because of the fresh local produce. One of my favourite foods is pearl meat. I like it raw with lemon or cooked with butter and olive oil, or Italian-style in a tomato sauce with champagne.

Broome has an incredible mix of blood and culture and is full of talented, creative people, including a wealth of recognised indigenous artists. There is a simplicity and natural beauty here that keeps you grounded and connected with everything and everyone around you.

Interview: Mal Chenu.

This series of articles produced with support from Tourism Australia.

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