Derby during the Boab Festival

The caravan park in Derby is full of people who have just come off the Gibb like us or are about to start it. Many people never stop in Derby and just head straight to Broome but we are here for the Boab Festival. The first night here we went to the “Mardi Gras” street parade which looked like it attracted the entire town. There were numerous floats, the police, fire dept, SES, local business owners, aboriginal health service etc. We lined the main street watching and had candy thrown at us from the people on the floats. You’ve never seen so many grey nomads picking up lollies off the ground! I even saw patients out the front of the hospital, out on the street with a nurse with them watching. M

derby mardi gras 2
This guy had been waiting all year to get out and play in this costume!

AHS sign

aboriginal heath service
“Nuff of the Puff” is one of the latest campaigns out here to get the high levels of smoking in Aboriginal communities down. These are staff from the Aboriginal health service float.
young dancers from Mowanjum community
Mowanjum community young dancers
Mowanjum community float with huge Wandjina
derby parade1
The band made a lot of noise and you had the dodge the fire dept hose squirting people
derby parade2
Mowanjum community boys dancers
derby parade tea time
This sign was like a beacon for Steve
derby parade show
We then followed everyone to the football oval where there was a fair. We were looking forward to seeing Broome’s Stephen Pigram who we had met at Port Fairy and who was supposed to play.
derby dodgems
This was the only “ride” I was prepared to go on, so I made the most of it. I smashed into as many people as I could. You are not allowed to ram people at the Royal Easter show but this is the wild west after all. Two little aboriginal girls gave back as good as they got too!
derby fire show
The Broome fire jugglers

derby fire show 2

The next night we were off to the Mary Island fishing club for the crab races. Marine Biologist Lesley back in Sydney, will not be happy about this. Never having been to a crab race we were not sure what to expect. We bought a “racer” crab for $10 and tried our luck. We named it speedie. The winner got a crab pot with their crab in it which we planned to give to a fishing nomad neighbor at the caravan park.

crab races at the fishing club

bucket of crabs
Crabs getting ready to race
Mary Island fishing club crab races
And they are off. The judge just had to turn them over.
madge cheering
Your crab just has to crawl to the rope- simple! Just look at Madge shouting at her crab from the sidelines. She was desperate to win that crab pot!
crab races
Some crabs are making their move trying to make a run for it. Maybe they knew what was in store for them.
Speedy was our crab and though it had the brightest eyes when I choose it, it DID NOT MOVE in the race.
crab racing
Slapping the ground near speedy to encourage him. This did not work.
Checking for a pulse. Is he still alive? I think the poor thing was just petrified. Needless to say we didn’t win.

We thought we had to see what a crab race was about. I did feel sorry for the crabs in the end though. Apart from the terror of the race they all ended up in a pot after all that racing and were eaten at the BBQ later. We couldn’t eat any crabs that we had met, so we went down to the wharf for the sunset and to eat other sea creatures at the restaurant there.

derby wharf mudflats
Derby wharf mudflats which sees huge tides. Back in the day, they used to drive cattle huge distances to Derby wharf and walk them onto ships at high tide!


saw fish sign 2
The endangered Sawfish are being studied to find out why.
waiting for the sunset derby wharf
Everyone goes to the jetty to watch the sunset which always is beautiful.
bus shelter
This is the 2 km walk along the mudflats to the jetty.
derby wharf at high tide
Waiting for the sunset
her face
People come out to see the Mark Norval sculture at sunset on the mudflats
mark norval sculture
Mark Norval was a teacher and is an artist and was the director of the Mowunjum Art Centre some years ago and now has his own gallery in town.
norval gallery
Mark Norval has his own work in the gallery and also allows Aboriginal people to paint there and show/sell their work at the galley. It was VERY difficult getting out of there without buying something.
derby prison tree
Derby also has a “prison Boab tree like Wyndham. It also has a horrible history.
derby prisoners in neck chains
Some of the first workers in the early pearling days were Aboriginal people kidnapped from the western Kimberly. Sometimes these were women and girls. They were walked to the coast and put to work in the pearl shell industry against their will. This tree was used to hold people. 80 percent of the worlds buttons once came from the Kimberly coast but there were not enough workers to do the work. Others held here were those that fought against invasion of their land or those that speared and ate sheep that had taken over their old hunting grounds.

boab prison tree

derby trough
Myalls Bore and the longest cattle trough in the world supposedly. They used to walk cattle right onto the ships at Derby wharf and this was the last drinking point after crossing the Gibb River Rd. Before is was a road it was a cattle track across the Kimberly.
derby artificial wetland
We went for a visit to the artificial wetland created near the sewage works. The water here was what came after the last stage of treatment and was right next to the fenced in concrete tanks of the first two stages but ran out onto the mudflats. The birds seemed to like the concrete tanks with the stinky water better than the wetland created for them!
sewer and rubbish birds
The sewage ponds with the tip in the background was a haven for birds
derby rubbish birds
Royal spoonbills, dirty ibis, gray teals and corellas just loving the stinky water.
sewer outfall from the air
The artificial wetland from the air





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