Koolama Bay is located at the mouth of the King George River in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia. In our expedition from Darwin to Broome, this is our first view of the characteristic rusted sandstone rock of the Kimberley.
The bay is named after a passenger ship along Western Australia coastal routes in the 1930s and 1940s. The Koolama was carrying almost 200 passengers and crew when it was bombed by Japanese the airforce on February 20, 1942, a week before the bombing of Darwin. The Koolama limped into Tranquil Bay for repairs. There are stories of a mutiny between the captain and his crew. The Captain (Jack Eggleston) intended to repair the Koolama and continue on to Wyndom to deliver military supplies. The first officer (Ken Reynolds) wanted to return to Broome. Many of the passengers and crew made a 200 kilometre journey taking 5 days over the hot and wet Kimberley wilderness to the Kalamburu mission. The Koolama was repaired and sucessfully delivered its supplies. A few days later, it was hit by another Japanese air attack and sunk. The official inquiry exonerated both the captain and first officer.
australiabeachkimberlyekoolama baytranquil baywestern australia