Monday, November 17, 2008


One of the few exciting things that has happened in Perth in recent months was a visit from QANTAS' brand new A380 aircraft. Plane nuts flocked to the airport to witness the arrival of the world's largest aircraft.

I was lucky enough to be at work that day, so got to see the plane fly overhead and later taxi past my office! It is a very quiet aircraft which is surprising for its size, but shows how much technology has improved (the loudest aircraft here are the small older ones like the 717s)


Ok, so I have forgotten about/been avoiding my blog for a while. Sorry to those dedicated followers!

My plan had been to do some exploring of Perth and the surrounds and get excited and write stuff. I did a little bit of exploring, got fed up and wasn't inspired. I think getting lost in Kings Park killed my exploring side (as did petrol prices)!

I also don't think I read any books following the previous post!

What has been taking up my time is sleeping, patchwork and art. I have been taking oil painting classes for just over 3 months and watercolour painting for 1 month. Don't have a whole lot to show for it (especially as my camera won't take good pics of it), but more pics to come!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Small things

I recently read the book 'The god of small things' by Arundhati Roy. Like some other books I've read of late, it meandered through a story, taking turns here and there, back and forwards through time, then returning to the present. It could be hard to follow at times, but the poetic language and the anticipation of all the tangents coming together, kept me reading.

Here is a sample:

"It was past midnight. The river had risen, its waters quick and black, snaking towards the sea, carrying with it cloudy night skies, a whole palm frond, part of a thatched fence, and other gifts the wind had given it.

In a while the rain slowed to a drizzle and then stopped. The breeze shook water from the trees and for a while it rained only under trees, where shelter had once been."
I just realised that, predictably, the quote is about weather...oh well

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mangles Kangaroo Paw

The long way round

Finally, one of my days off was going to have good weather, so I went to Kings Park in the city. It is a huge park with views of the river and city and includes the Botanic Gardens as well as bushland.

There is meant to be a wildflower festival on throughout September, so I went with great expectations of seeing lots of different flowers and displays (like Melbourne's Flower and Garden Show I guess). This was not to be.

The only thing with came close to a bloomfield were these pink everlastings around the carpark!

I had a bit of a look around the WA botanic gardens which feature plants from different parts of WA. There were lots of Kangaroo Paw (left) and Geraldton Wax (right). And then more kangaroo paw and geraldton wax.

So I headed to a path which said 'nature walk' and once I got passed a tour group, enjoyed walking through bushland and spotting wild flowers. Most of them I have already seen at work, so I wasn't too impressed (Though I did realise I'm quite spoilt having bush and wildflowers at work!). We have lots of grey cottonheads (yellow flower below - don't know why they are called 'grey cottonheads'!), kangaroo paw and wild gladiolus (pink below)

However, I did see a spider orchid along with donkey orchids (pictured in a previous post) and also Fringe Lilies, which had been my ambition to see. I was lucky to see them because they are smaller than I imagined (2cm across) and grow on vines which coil themselves around other plants. I was really lucky to have this photo come out, because I really needed super-macro!

<--Spider orchid

Fringe Lily-->

<--Blue devils

The nature trail was meant to be a circuit. I really should have guessed that Kings Park would be as badly sign posted as the rest of Perth. Turns out it is a circuit - if you know which paths to take. They are not marked. They just cris-cross each other. So I ended up walking for a rather long time and got rather sunburned (just like the other time I went to Kings Park). I eventually made it to the perimeter road at the south end of the park and considered hitch-hiking back to my car because it was quite a way. I was very unimpressed and really don't think the whole expedition was worth it to see a tiny lily and one orchid!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Light at the end...?

Had a crazy day at work yesterday. Winds gusting to 44kts (82 km/h), rain, changing visibility....
I couldn't open the balcony door because of the winds!

That was fine, until the automatic thermometers went down! I was sending out reports every 5-15 mins instead of the usual 30 mins, and had to run through the wind and rain to read mercury thermometers. Then I had to try to fix the auto ones.

I couldn't get a tech out to fix the thermometers (why do things only break on a Sunday?) so walked to the enclosure every half hour to read the temperature. I was feeling bad for the guy who had to do this on night shift.

They were supposed to be fixed today, but weren't. And now the auto rain gauge doesn't work either. So it's lucky there is no rain today!

So now I am on nightshift, wandering out into the dark, cold night twice an hour. I'm hoping it doesn't get as cold as last night: 0.4 degrees!

But at the end of the day I was rewarded for my efforts by witnessing these amazing rainbows!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Catch up

I am trying to catch up on some of the Broome posts I haven't finished. There are many more I would have like to have done, especially regarding history.
I have been sorting and editing photos, especially some of the 800 I took on my scenic flight. So there's more Broome to come!
I also found this photo, which I am surprised I hadn't already posted (I haven't have I??). The ultimate bizarre critter pic!
This is disgusting looking thing is a shell-less snail according to a book about the Roebuck Bay mud flats. It was about 8cm long.

The Great Divide

This is an aerial image of part of Broome. The empty sand dune you can see is Kennedy Hill.

At the base of the hill is the Kennedy Hill settlement. Apparently this was a traditional Aboriginal camp. When Broome was first established as a town, the Indigenous people were not allowed to live within its boundaries. Kennedy Hill was one of their 'out of town' camps.
The white settlers lived to the west of here (the greener areas in the second pic) and had to have permits to allow them to employ Aboriginals as servants.
As you can see Town has come to this out of town camp, which sits just outside Chinatown. It is a dusty, red area, almost still a shanty town.
Below are some pictures of the street that runs between Kennedy Hill and town. Bit of a contrast? On the opposite side of the road are new million dollar apartments and town houses.
On the opposite side of the sand dune are expensive hotels.
To the west (right in this pic) is the new multi-million dollar police station and the old, over-crowded prison.

I found that this really summarised the historical divide between cultures and classes in Broome, which still exists in a big way today.

Monday, September 15, 2008

How sweet the smell...

I love blossom!

I love the smell,
the way it contrasts against the dark branches of the leafless tree.

I love that it signals the ending of winter - when I see the blossoms emerge, I know there is hope of better things to come

I also love blossom in Asian art. I bought this last time I was back in Melbourne

More flowers...ok, weeds

I took a number of photos of these vibrant purple flowers, only to realise on the way home that it is Patterson's curse - a vicious weed!

Guildford Again

Perth Hills

On the weekend I braved the rain and headed to the Perth Hills in search of wildflowers. Got rained on a bit, but did get to go for a bit of a walk and see some flowers.

Grass trees

The sun did come out in the end:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Interesting signs


One of my favourite spots in Perth (not that I've seen much of it) is Guildford. Mostly I drive through it on my way to Midland for furniture shopping, Spotlight, patchwork stores, but twice now I have actually stopped. There are a number of quaint antique stores and cafes and lots of old buildings. This week I stopped, not to shop (although I was on the way to Midland) but to check out the buildings and history of the area.
<--Guildford Post Office

Now an outer suburb of Perth, Guildford was originally a market town on the upper reaches of the Swan River serving the developing agricultural regions. It was a favourite area of Capt. Stirling who founded the free-settlement of Perth and established his country retreat here.

The Guildford Hotel was built in 1886, during the Gold Rush. A number of hotels were built in this time, often on street corners on the way to the Goldfields. It was built in 'Federation Free Classical Style' with a heavily embellished and symmetrical facade, demonstrating the prosperity of the time. Now painted in deep red and green, the original colours of the facade were apparently more muted.
<--Guildford Hotel, pic from

The landmark hotel was almost condemned in 1991 until new owners stepped in and restored the building. It was at this time it was discovered that the original parts were contructed with convict made bricks.

Sadly, last week the Hotel burned down. It was quite a shock. Unfortunately I hadn't gotten around to taking photos of it prior to this. The fire gutted the building and caused an estimated $3million damage. But how can you put a price on history?
Pic from ABC news online-->

Stepping out of my car half a block from the hotel, almost 2 weeks after it burned down, you could still smell the smoke in the air. All that remains is the facade, tall and straight and unblemished aside from some scaffolding, trying to deny the destruction of its innards. Pansies are still growing in the flower-boxes on the boarded up windows. But burned metal hangs down from what was once the roof. And the dull-grey sky can be seen through the upper story windows.

The owners have vowed to restore it to its former glory. The current/former/temporary premier (election was last weekend, votes are still being counted, neither Lib or Lab got enough votes to rule outright, so they are waiting for the Nationals to decide who they want to side with) said the Government would look at helping to fund the restoration. Let's hope he is out of power before they can decide on this!
Most of the original 120 year old materials are gone: the sparking Jarrah boards, the intricate ceiling roses and cornices which were part of its architecture. All gone.
Can the Guildford Hotel and its history really be restored?

The remains: