The Unspoken History of the Kimbery Klub

When you hear people speak about the Kimberly Klub in Broome you think of a comfortable Courtyardbackpackers close to the beautiful Cable Beach. But the real Kimberly Club has a much darker history.

In the 1850’s Kim Buchanan was a thief, a drunkard, and a thug. He was a big man, used to getting his own way. He’d been in and out of the prisons up and down the West Australian coast. He was always moving on after his release. Moving on to another town where, inevitably, he got into trouble again.

Daniel-Mad-Dog-Morgan-bushrangers-7883465-430-600In one of his prison stretches his record finally caught up with him. Communication back in the 1850’s wasn’t what it is today. Often a man could be serving time in one town without the prosecutors or judges knowing his full criminal history. Anyway, his full record found its way to the town where he was serving his current term. When they realized Kim was an inveterate scaly-wag the prison officials decided to ‘straighten him out’.

This was to have far reaching and bloody consequences.

Kim was flogged and beaten, often to unconsciousness, by the prison officials. It got so bad he organized a breakout; taking with him a dozen of the most seasoned, ruthless convicts.

When the guards entered his cell to take Kim out for another beating the other prisoners attacked them. Three guards were killed and stripped of their uniforms.

Three of the convicts dressed as the guards and pretended to escort the other three inmates to the next cell, where they released another six convicts. These twelve men killed another six prison guards that day and escaped into the West Australian bushlands.

ward_f‘The Kim Club’ as they became known, survived as bush rangers. They held up coaches and robbed their occupants of everything. When they couldn’t find enough travelers to prey upon they attacked isolated properties, stealing whatever they could.

And here’s the reason why you’ve never heard of The Kim Club, the reason why they’ve been all but written out of history. These outlaws were the scourge of North Western Australia for the better part of a decade. Their descriptions were sketchy because they killed everyone they encountered. Everyone. And, when there was not enough food to steal, they would eat their victims.

The only way to find out about this hushed-up piece of Australian history is to go to the Kimberly Klub in Broome and seek it out. The information is not on display, but it is there if you go looking for it.

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