When we arrived in Broome, our stay was planned for only four days. Little did we know that this would change!
Tarangau Caravan Park identifies as “The Quiet Alternative”. Right behind the dunes of Cable Beach, this park truly is peaceful. Jamie welcomed us and asked if we were still up to saying a few words at their weekly Thursday night Happy Hour. They’d even printed up signs inviting people to come along, enjoy the live music, have a BBQ snag, and listen to us!
The kids set up their swags, as they do if we’re in one place for more than a day. Yes, we all fit in the Jayco beautifully, but using the swags mean we all have some personal space, and we don’t have to listen to Cooper snore.
It was time to catch up on blogs and sorting photos, and for the kids to do some school work. We did take a drive to Gantheaume Point to see the lighthouse with its resident nesting osprey (which was busy eating a fish when we arrived) and the casts of the dinosaur footprints, the real ones of which are underwater for all bar five days a month and are treacherous to get to.
We also met up with Sandy at Radio Goolarri, a local station which broadcasts across the country and has great traction with indigenous communities. A simple yarn about the wonderful benefits of enjoying the gorgeous landscapes, mixed with our story about working through serious mental health issues, was one of our most relaxed interviews and we had a great time.
Everyone at Tarangau was so lovely. Some travellers found themselves with “claytons grandchildren” as ours said hello, then proceeded to offer assistance in setting up caravans. It was quite amusing to see the surprised looks on faces as the kids connected sullage and water hoses, and generally made themselves useful. Very pleasing to have the only kids in the park behaving so well!
Thursday night rolled around, and visitors began to gather around the BBQ area with their chairs and beverages. The sun disappeared, and lanterns were lit, as the tantalizing aroma of BBQing onions wafted over us. George, a local indigenous musician, strummed his guitar and sang joyfully and soulfully. It was a fabulous ambience, and it seemed like most of the park visitors were there.
Paul & Kirstine spoke briefly, and it was met well by those in attendance. There were nodding heads and even voices affirming they agreed with our message. It was afterwards that many people came to talk with us, and the sharing of stories began.
A man who used to work at the same mine site as Paul, spoke about the difficult life of miners, and the safety incidents which, in his opinion, were “swept under the carpet”. It plays on the minds of many, that though they work long hours and are out of sync with their families due to rosters, that they also worry if the mining companies care about physical and mental health.
Another man came to pat Luna, and quietly thanked us for speaking and for undertaking a journey for mental health awareness. He had come back from the brink of suicide, and the tears glistening in his eyes portrayed the reality of the painful memory he shared with us.
Luna received a lot of attention from people standing around us waiting to talk, and one man told us that his dog is the only thing that has kept him alive when he has looked too long into the abyss of depression.
Another lady told us of the severe trauma a close friend of hers experienced, as he worked as a high-ranking police officer on a well-publicized child abduction, and subsequent murder, case.
As we’ve found, everyone has a story, and most are willing to share with people who’ll listen.
The next day as we walked around the park, we were greeted with smiles and nods. We suddenly felt like part of the park family and was such a fabulous feeling!
Jamie kindly extended our stay for a few more days, as the parcels we were expecting still hadn’t arrived. As it turns out, they wouldn’t arrive till after we left Tarangau, but we simply couldn’t leave Broome without them, otherwise it would be weeks before they caught up with us again.