Tiny Oz reveals Broome’s Indigenous and multicultural heritage in miniature


Months of toil for historians and miniature enthusiasts will come to fruition as a depiction of Broome’s story hits TV screens across Australia tonight.

ABC’s Tiny Oz features artisans from across Australia recreating their local history – in miniature.

Tonight’s episode of Tiny Oz will shine a light on the town in northern Western Australia thanks to a handmade model built by local carpenter and hobbyist Lachlan Fraser.

The model depicts Broome’s Aboriginal heritage, pearling industry and multiculturalism illustrating the area now known as Chinatown.

“It has been my fascination during my 37 years of living here,” says Mr Fraser.

To make hulls for his miniature pearl luggers, Fraser carved beech wood from the planks of an old lugger.

Mr. Fraser’s Chinatown miniature model features bead luggers he made himself.(ABC Kimberley: Eddie Williams)

Other figures and objects are mostly made from light-gauge, space-filling wire, while corrugated roofs are made from corrugated cardboard and spray-painted.

The model includes genuine local pindan soil.

Mr Fraser and his assistants have worked seven days a week for almost six months and he is “both terrified and hopeful” to finally see him on screen.

“Terrified because I’ve put my heart and soul on the sleeve here, but I’m thrilled that by doing this I might answer a few questions, but I hope to summon a thousand more,” he says. .

Broome-based filmmaker Paul Bell was involved in the production and said it was “a great project to work on”.

Miniature figurines outside a small building
Fraser says it was important to him to reflect Broome’s unique and diverse urban population.(ABC Kimberley: Eddie Williams)

“We went out with [Yawuru man] Bart Pigram to select some of the actual wood that was used in the making of [Streeter’s] Jetty…to make the pylons exactly as they would have been with the right wood, but miniaturized,” he says.

“It’s just such an interesting story that goes with the model.

Co-host and miniaturist JoAnne Bouzianis-Sellick came to Broome for the episode.

“Lachie’s piece just had this lovely tactile, handmade feel, using everyday objects,” she said.

“He’s very, very passionate about the Broome story and you can see that through the whole model.

“The scenes that are created are actually from historic photographs.”

After filming the programme, the producers returned the model to Mr Fraser and it is now on display at the University of Notre Dame Library in Broome.

A miniature figurine of a camel and a man leading it
Broome’s iconic camels even got a little mention.(ABC Kimberley: Eddie Williams)

“It’s a permanent legacy,” says Fraser.

“I hope he survives me.”

Tiny Oz airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC TV and ABC iview.


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