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SSJG Heritage Centre Broome

Location: 9 Barker Street, Broome WA 6725

A unique window into the Kimberley’s pioneering past and the relationships between its Aboriginal, Asian and European communities. View the significant Kimberley photographic collection displayed in one Broome’s remaining few Japanese ‘Shinkabe’ buildings, the Sisters of St John of God ‘Old Convent’.



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The Old Convent, Broome, was built in 1926 and is a fine and rare example of North West vernacular architecture, particularly emphasizing the external framing with its simple and elegant vertical line.

It has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:

•The Convent building was constructed by Japanese carpenter and shipbuilder Hori Gorokichi and is one of only three buildings in Broome known to feature the exposed framing of the traditional Japanese carpentry method of Shinkabe;

•The Convent and site was the home of the Sisters of St John of God, who were the first female religious order to serve in the Kimberley region, and has continued to provide a venue for their work to the present;

•The Convent was established at the height of the pearling industry in Broome, where the Sisters of St John of God worked with and were supported by the diverse populations of the town, in particular the Japanese community, at a time of strict racial segregation;

•The building is a good representative example of a convent designed in specific response to the tropical climate and represents the way of life for the Sisters who lived and worked here;

•The Convent is highly valued by the Sisters of St John of God and by the local and wider community for its historic, social and religious associations, and contributes to the Broome community’s sense of place.


2016 WA Heritage Award 2012 WA Heritage Award


9 Barker St Broome
A 10 minute walk from Chinatown.

Special events

Free Women on a Savage Frontier In 1908 two Irish Sisters sailed from Beagle Bay into Broome. The Japanese, Chinese and Filipino communities were essential to their survival. Join us for a guided tour to learn of this inspirational story set in the roaring days of the pearling industry. Join us for a 45 minute guided to hear this inspirational story. 10 AM Daily; Mon 27 Aug – Fri 31 August, 2018 Sisters Pearls & Mission Girls A 50-minute film using rare archival material and re-enactments to tell the epic story of the Sisters, firstly in Beagle Bay, then in the notoriously wild pearling town of Broome. 11am Daily. Mon 27 Aug – Fri 31 August, 2018