Kooljaman is the Bardi Aboriginal name for Cape Leveque.
Located 220km north of Broome at the tip of the Dampier Peninsula. The Federal Department of Transport previously controlled the land for the purposes of operating a lighthouse. In 1986 the lighthouse was automated and demanned, and the land was purchased by the Aboriginal Development Commission for the benefit of Aboriginal people. As a result the A.D.C., along with other Government Departments and the Bardi people chose to develop the area into a tourist complex, linking up traditional ways with the fast encroaching 21st century and all that it represents.
The emphasis from the
beginning has been to develop a low key, low impact, project of a type
and structure that can be controlled by local people and of a size
and extent that minimises the impact of the environment. A place
where Aboriginal people can link in with the operation of a tourism
venture, where visitors are able to experience the beauty of the local
area and participate in unique experiences and activities available
through this business enterprise.
The communities of Djarindjin and One Arm Point proudly own Kooljaman. The view for the future is for the complex to be wholly Aboriginal run and provide employment opportunities for community members. Currently the complex is managed by non-Aboriginal staff, under the guidance of a board of directors.
It is thought the Aboriginal Australians
may have come to this part of the continent somewhere between 50,000
to 70,000 years ago after the last Ice Age. The sea level rose and
formed King Sound and the many hills and mountains became islands of the
Buccaneer Archipelago. The Bardi people of the Dampier Peninsular
are people of the sea. Turtle, dugong and fish make up a large part
of their diet. Aboriginal people of the Cape Leveque area would have
had contact with visitors such as Indonesian and Macassan fishermen
and they might have sighted European explorers such as William
Dampier when he sailed into what is now King Sound. Names like Cygnet
Bay, Swan Point and Buccaneer Archipelago all belong to this time.
Dampier's visit was the earliest known white contact that foreshadowed an industry two centuries on that was to play a large part in the region's development. He too discovered the lustre of the pearl.
The French ship Geographe visited the area in 1803, captained by Nicholas Baudin. Aboard was the hydrographer Pierre Leveque whose name the Cape now bears.