The ‘Old Convent’ at the Sisters of St. John of God Heritage Centre houses the “Relationships Exhibition”: A social history of the Kimberley.

Using storyboards, artifacts, photographs and audio-visual media you will gain an insight into the relationships formed by the Sisters with the people of the Kimberley. An important part of the exhibition is the availability to access the 45,000 photographs that have been put on a database for all to view.

The Sisters of St John of God Heritage Centre has been set up as a valuable resource for preserving information in the way of documents, photographs and oral histories for the people of the Kimberley.

The Old Convent, Broome, was built in 1926 and is a fine and rare example of North West vernacular architecture, particularly emphasizing the external framing with its simple and elegant vertical line.

It has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:

  • The Convent building was constructed by Japanese carpenter and shipbuilder Hori Gorokichi and is one of only three buildings in Broome known to feature the exposed framing of the traditional Japanese carpentry method of Shinkabe;
  • The Convent and site was the home of the Sisters of St John of God, who were the first female religious order to serve in the Kimberley region, and has continued to provide a venue for their work to the present;
  • The Convent was established at the height of the pearling industry in Broome, where the Sisters of St John of God worked with and were supported by the diverse populations of the town, in particular the Japanese community, at a time of strict racial segregation;
  • The building is a good representative example of a convent designed in specific response to the tropical climate and represents the way of life for the Sisters who lived and worked here;
  • The Convent is highly valued by the Sisters of St John of God and by the local and wider community for its historic, social and religious associations, and contributes to the Broome community’s sense of place.