One of Broome’s original real estate moguls, Lord McAlpine, is famous for sealing deals with a signed beer mat and once owned in excess of 20 properties in the town. He is widely regarded as the person who helped shape Broome into the town we all know and love today. The colourful character who is a member of British aristocracy fell in love with the dusty outpost in the late 1980’s and quickly realized the potential of the town.
Over the 12 or so years he spent in Broome he invested and restored several old pearling master homes including the building that now houses Matso’s Brewery. He was instrumental to the rejuvenation of the area, believing it to be an ideal gateway destination for tourists. However, his vision went beyond hotels, houses and attractions such as the Pearl Coast Zoo (defunct since 1990s) – he was also interested in the community of Broome. According to reports his generosity was legendary, happily putting money towards the arts and sports.
This week he returned to Broome for the first time in a decade and was greeted by scores of people wherever he went. Marianne Williamson from PRDnationwide Broome was lucky enough to be invited along to the ceremony in which he was bestowed the honour of Freeman of the Shire and claims he was a genuinely nice man who had a “bucket load of interesting stories about the town and its characters”. She went on to add that his visit has been “fantastic for Broome, with so many turning out to hear what he has to say. Hopefully his visit will inspire a whole lot of new visionaries to invest in the town and help it to grow whilst retaining its wonderful uniqueness!!”