Celebrating Broome’s Shinju Matsuri Festival

This week marks the start of Broome’s Shinju Matsuri Festival. Last year we joined in the festivities surrounding this important occasion in Broome’s calendar . Activities are planned so everyone in the community is included.

As the publicity notes ” Nowhere else can you celebrate an Australian festival with a Japanese name where a traditional Chinese dragon is the centre piece and the people proudly display their ethnic origins to celebrate a pearling history that has made Broome the community it is today”


The awakening of Sammy the dragon from his year long sleep marks the start of the festival.

Broome's Shinju Matsuri Festival



Sammy the Dragon at Broome's Shinju Matsuri Festival


Samy the dragon awakes at Broome's Shinju Matsuri Festival



Sammy the Dragon at Broome's Shinju Matsuri Festival


Samy the Dragon at Broome's Shinju Matsuri Festival



In the afternoon, everyone comes to watch the street parade. The Police Pipe Band plays, the fire brigade is included much to the excitement of the small boys in the crowd and an army jeep is is wearing camouflage. Floats representing the stolen genereation, the medical clinic and  many sporting groups pass. Elderly citizens are wheeled by and the Filipino community ‘s float features a giant pearl shell. The whole community is involved.


Street Parade at Broome's Shinju Matsuri Festival


The faces in the crowd are mesmerised….as am I, watching them.

Local girls at Broome's Shinju Matsuri Festival



Local girls watching Broome's Shinju Matsuri Festival



Though not everyone is excited by the festivities!

Broome local at the Shinju Matsuri Festival



The festival always coincides with natural phenomenon known as the Staircase to the Moon. When the tide is at it’s lowest and there is a full moon, the reflection of the moon on the exposed mud flats of Roebuck Bay creates the optical illusion of a staircase reaching the moon.

Broome's Stairway to the Moon


This year (2013) the festival takes place from the 13th September – 22nd September.


Do you have a local festival that you like to celebrate? 


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13 Responses to Celebrating Broome’s Shinju Matsuri Festival

  1. jan September 4, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    I love the colours of the dragon and the participation of the community. You really can learn a lot about a place at a celebration like this. What struck me about Broome when we were there was the way all the nationalities and races intermarried and were happily co-existing. That was a long time ago, I don’t know if it is still like that today.

    • [email protected] September 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

      It’s so true Jan, Broome is a melting pot of different cultures and communities. It’s still the same today. The festival advertising sums it up well with the different mix of nationalities combining to make it a fun festival

      • jan September 6, 2012 at 9:09 am #

        I am so glad it has not changed.

        • [email protected] September 6, 2012 at 9:16 am #

          The festival has been running for forty two years, Jan. Somethings never change!

  2. Krista September 4, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Wow!! The colours are fantastic, and I LOVE the faces you captured. Beautiful. 🙂

    • [email protected] September 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

      I was lucky the girls were so absorbed in the parade Krista, that I could take their photographs. Sammy the dragon added a lot of colour in many ways.

  3. Red Nomad OZ September 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    Just being in Broome is a great multicultural experience!! I missed this festival – maybe next time!!!

    • [email protected] September 4, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      It certainly is Red. The festival is such a fun mix of cultures and involves the whole community. I hope you’re there to see it one day!

  4. Johanna September 4, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    What a wonderful festival. So colourful and a real melting pot of cultures. Some wonderful photos Jenny and as well as the colourful dragons, I especially enjoyed your portrait studies.

    • [email protected] September 5, 2012 at 12:03 am #

      It’s a fun time to be in Broome Jo. The whole community with its many different cultures is included. A fun photo opportunity!

  5. Zoe French September 5, 2012 at 3:29 am #

    Looks like an amazing celebration in Broome! Love the bright colors and the elaborate dragon!

  6. marina September 6, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    Jenny, you took some fab photos here. I know how hard it can be to take shots of the Chinese dragons – moving wildly and stopping for split moments. Thanks for sharing the people shots too – great to see such a mix!

    • [email protected] September 6, 2012 at 8:55 am #

      There were a few blurred shots amongst the photos Marina! The festival is such a perfect showcase of the eclectic mix of people in Broome.

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