Greetings From Broome

A few months ago, my Australian friend Kevon Kenna went on a driving holiday from his home in Melbourne to Broome in Western Australia. He sent me a lengthy trip report and some postcards. I promised him I’d visit the town’s namesake, Broome in South Shropshire, and take some photos in return. Yesterday morning, I caught the Heart of Wales Line train from Shrewsbury.
Greetings from Broome
Kevon travelled to Broome by car – a journey of several days via Alice Springs and Kununurra in the Kimberley. My journey to Broome took less than an hour, and passed through Church Stretton and Craven Arms. A party of ramblers on the train were also getting off at Broome, so the single platform was quite crowded. A few moments later, they had vanished onto a footpath.
Broome platform
Station approach

The Railway Terrace dates back to Broome’s heyday as a rail depot. This was the nearest access to the rail line for the village of Aston on Clun, and Broome is little more than an offshoot of Aston, which is just up the road.



The post lady is delivering the mail from her red van.  The man has walked into Aston to pick up his newspaper. 
Morning news
The pub at Broome shows the hamlet’s railway origins.
Engine and Tender
A few minutes walk along a quiet road with flowers and butterflies in the hedgerows brings me to Aston itself.

Aston on Clun has a couple of unusual round houses. This shot shows one of them, along with the garage, the village shop and the inn. It’s a view that hasn’t changed a great deal for over a century.
Aston village centre
You can compare it with Old photos from Shropshire Archives

Aston inn signAnd here’s the inn sign. A link with Australia.

Aston is an attractive little village. Its main claim to fame is its Arbour Tree, which is decorated with flags every year in May on Arbour Day. The tree is a native Black Poplar, a cutting of the orginal tree which came down in a storm a few years ago. There are twelve flags decorating the tree this year.
Aston Arbour TreeFlags on the Arbour Tree
Including these two, sharing a flagpole:

Yes, this is a small village in the Clun Valley in South Shropshire, not a pearl-fishing town in western Australia, but somehow it seems there is a touch of Down Under even here.



 More pictures of Broome and Aston on Clun from my trip on Flickr.


7 Responses to “Greetings From Broome”

  1. Kevon Kenna Says:

    The speed limit sign on your Flickr site site looks like a Roswell alien abducting a child. In quiet villages it’s entirely appropriate to limit pedestrians to 30 MPH.

  2. What fun. I had no idea Broome in WA was named for a town in Shropshire. I’ve been to the Broome in Australia twice, but now I want to visit the one in England. Thanks for the lovely photos.

    • suetortoise Says:

      Apparently your Broome was named for Sir Frederick Napier Broome. And it’s quite likely that the little hamlet that grew up when the railway arrived near Aston on Clun, in Shropshire, was also named after him. He was born in Shropshire.

      Glad you like the pictures!

      • Makes sense. (And thanks for the link — I do love information like that.) It does seem that in Australia most places got named for people, while here in the US, the names are mostly named for places in Europe (except of course when we just picked up local Indian names). Not a hundred percent that way in either country, as we do have Pennsylvania, named for William Penn, but we have a lot of places like Plymouth, New York, Cambridge, Glencoe, Kenilworth, and so on clearly named for the “old country,” and on the flip side, Perth in Oz was clearly picked up from Perth in Scotland. But most Aussie cities — Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Darwin, Townsville, and so on — seem to have been named for people, not places back home. Places in England seem to have mostly been named for practical features. I got a great book at Foyles in London several visits ago, about the meaning of all the city and town names, as I had begun to realize that it wasn’t just Oxford and Cambridge that had “practical” names. I had just visited Lynton and Lynmouth, and had noticed that a lot of names told you where you where (mouth of the Lyn river, near the bridge on the Cam, and so on).

        Fun stuff. Everything seems fairly static now — not a lot of new names being handed out, except for housing developments and new streets.

        I still would love to get back to Shropshire and see the other Broome.

  3. suetortoise Says:

    Yes, English place names tend to be fairly logical. Frequently geographical or descriptive. Many come from location markers such as the local river name, or the compass direction. (Indeed, you’ve got both of those in Aston on Clun – the most easterly of the Clun valley villages.) We have a fair few named after the local landowners, the saint honoured by the parish church or even the inn sign of the local public house. But there are plenty of stranger ones too – especially here on the border where towns and villages have remnants of Welsh names.

    I found that quite a lot of the smaller Australian places were named after other places, rather than after people. Naming places after people is a map-maker’s habit. When communities grow naturally, they tend to name after places or some local feature, unless there’s a very good reason for the memorial.

    I’m rather glad I live somewhere where the place names came first, before the map-makers got a chance to immortalise their nearest and dearest and the people they most wanted to impress.

    • Indeed. The place names are one of the (many) things I love about England. However, I might say that the city I live nearest falls into the category of place names coming first, because Chicago comes from a Native American word that means “place wild onions grow.”

      • Kevon Kenna Says:

        I also like the logic of pommy place names. The river XXX will have its source on XXXmoor, pass through the towns of XXXford and XXXbridge on its way to the sea at XXXmouth. these names are not just labels, they are useful descriptions. The New World, and Oz, both suffer from borrowed placenames, so we lack this convenience.

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