The History of McAlpine House
The original buildings of “McAlpine House” were constructed in about 1910 for Pearling Master Talboys, during the heyday of the pearl shelling industry in the Broome region.
Made in the traditional and unique architectural style of Broome, from corrugated iron and timber with spacious, latticed verandahs, the house has an ambience of tranquillity and comfort.
In 1945, the property was purchased by another Master Pearler, T.H. (“Bert”) Kennedy, also known locally as “H.K. Unsinkable”, for his perseverance in the pearling industry during the lean years of the great depression and the post war era. It is believe that the residence was occupied in the post war years by Bert’s daughter Nellie, with her husband, Peter Haynes. Notably, the Haynes family managed the Sun Pictures in Chinatown from the early 1950’s for several decades.
In 1982, Lord Alistair McAlpine of West Green purchased the house from the Kennedy family. Preserving the original structures, he carried out extensions in keeping with the architectural style of the original house and installed the swimming pool. He also planted an extensive tropical garden with aviaries which housed exotic birds, including his prized Eclectus Parrots, which still reside at McAlpine House today.
The house was to be Lord McAlpine’s residence in Broome for more than a decade.
McAlpine became notorious in Broome for his preservation of a number of Master Pearler’s residences in the “Old Broome” area and the development of the Cable Beach Club resort and Pearl Coast Zoological Gardens in the Cable Beach area in the late 1980’s.
In the mid 1990’s, the McAlpine’s house was sold to Colin and Cheryl Wilkinson, who tastefully rejuvenated the house and transformed it into an exclusive guest house, retaining the “McAlpine” name for the property.
In the late 1990’s, the house once again became a pearler’s home, being purchased by Marilynne Paspaley, a member of the successful Paspaley family who have been master pearlers in Broome, the Kimberley and the Northern Territory since the 1930’s.
Ms. Paspaley has retained the home’s magical charm and has added additional suites, services, and entertaining areas to align with contemporary expectations of a luxury boutique Hotel. Marilynne Paspaley has nurtured its evolution into an exclusive boutique hotel, catering to special guests from around the world.
As in the early days of last century, McAlpine House is once again home to travellers from the four corners of the globe, attracted by the allure of the pearl coast.