State Capital of Western Australia
03.08.2010 - 09.08.2010 13 °C
A very cold start to the day with 6 degrees in the van, so Brian & Maureen’s canvas van would have been even colder.
First task was to take Mary off for X-rays nearby to verify what injury she had. Some shopping followed and then we drove to the Royal Flying Doctor base at Jandakot airport (south of Perth) so that Mary could finally buy her RFDS T-shirt. Fortunately that shop had what she wanted so at last was happy!
Headed off into the city to find the famous King’s Park to see the sights, especially its view of the Swan River and the CBD of Perth. A beautiful day and so we managed to get some good photos. Of course there was a Park shop so more postcards etc.
Tom tom then got us back home with no problems. A tiring day.
First task of the day was to return to the doctor to get his verdict on Mary’s X-rays, which was not very conclusive, so, a scan was organised for the Thursday.
Looked in the shops for a while and then headed off to see the Botanical Gardens part of Kings Park, this time by train.
Wow, what a pleasant surprise after so many years of ancient transport in Brisbane. The Perth transport system seems to be streets ahead in terms of modern trains and almost no ancient buses. The Joondalup Line trains that we used were very quiet, modern, and virtually graffiti free. The only vandalism we saw were a few scratched windows (that is bad enough) but no sign of the carving and idiotic scribbles that we see all over Brisbane’s transport vehicles. On this train line the tracks were situated in the median strip between the in and out motorway lanes. An excellent idea indeed.
A brief look at the CBD and then back to camp for an early shower before it got too cold again.
A few chores and then to the scan place for the next round of medical appointments. I managed to get some silver/grey undercoat spray to provide protection from rust as a result of my backing into a tree back at Denham CP. Just in case of rain starting off the corrosion process.
Booked at the RAC garage, which was next door to the scan clinic, to arrange an appointment to have my van brake lights repaired (again) before we headed off south on the Monday following.
Back at the camp I managed to get three sides of the van properly washed and cleansed of the caked red dust accumulated from the previous several weeks of travelling up north. Rather tiring but the van looked so much better for the facelift.
A final visit to the doctor revealed that Mary had a few aging problems in her lower vertebra mainly due to aging (!) and about which not much could be done other than take shorter journeys with more short breaks to fix the nerve pain.
Headed off into the city again to check out some of the remaining older buildings. Got some good photos and enjoyed a short ferry ride over the Swan River to South Perth. Had an ice-cream there and then headed back to the CBD. We made an interesting comparison with the Citycat ferries on the Brisbane River in that the Perth ferries carried more passengers with only a skipper on board and no ‘crew person’ to sell/check tickets or assist with mooring the vessel at the dock. Adjacent to the ferry terminal was a Carillon and as we approached across the large park to the terminal we could hear the beautiful music drifting across to us. The bells had originally been a part of the famous London church, St Martin in the Fields (I think).
A tiring but interesting day.
Mary and I made an early start to the nearby Stirling Rail Station, to catch the two trains to Fremantle for a day’s sightseeing. Very easy to manage and enjoyable too.
As we arrived about 0900 and many shops didn’t open till after 9 we ordered a coffee and then looked through the E Shed markets, near the Rail Station. E Shed had been a large wool store in a ‘previous life’ and now housed a range of T-shirt, food, knickknacks and so on.
Then to the WA Maritime Museum for a quick look. Wrong! What a fascinating museum it is, housing Australia II, several famous round world and similar yachts, and tones of maritime memorabilia. As we had booked in for the HMAS Ovens submarine escorted tour we left the other items until after that tour was completed. A Scots chap was our very knowledgeable guide who gave us a detailed insight into a submariner’s life on board Ovens, and similar submarines.
We clambered up steps and into the bowels of this once in-service submarine, seeing how cramped and claustrophobic the working and rest quarters were for the crew. Even the captain’s bunk had an extension through a wall into a working area so that he had enough room for his feet! Vivid descriptions on shipboard life, the torpedoes (various sizes), the massive electrical systems and the absolute need for silence at all times, were explained. Those of us who were taller than ‘normal’ had some interesting time climbing through small doors and up and down ladders. A most memorable visit and one that I would recommend highly to any Fremantle visitor.
We resumed our visit around the many other fascinating exhibits, including lifeboats of significance, a history of naval exploration of Australia, how lighthouses worked – the list was extensive.
We passed by the Round House (previously a nasty prison) with a cannon adjacent that was fired at 1300 each day apparently.
We decided to eat our own lunch rather than obtain the famed fish and chips on offer nearby.
Then came the main Fremantle Prison with its forbidding walls and gates. The admission price to take the ‘inside’ tour was too expensive so we satisfied ourselves with looking through the few rooms not included in the official tour. The Art Gallery had a very sad display of Prison Art of Older Prisoners, mostly from the USA, with many pathetic histories of the special problems for aged prisoners.
The Fremantle Markets nearby proved quite interesting and we bought one or two knickknacks that caught our fancy.
A walk through the old shopping precinct brought us to the WA Shipwreck Museum. Although similar to the excellent one in Geraldton (mentioned above) they had a wide range of historic items for perusal, including the development of the range of navigational tools such as chronometers, and various measuring devices. All with well scripted material and actual items or copies of these instruments. The historical relevance of these developments was also explained. Some exhibits, such as the Batavia ship were similar to Geraldton Museum, but most added a great deal of fascinating information. Another world-class museum not to be missed.
Mary had to check out E Shed again and then back to the trains and so to home and an early night.
We had decided to attend the North Beach Baptist Church as it was quite near to our van park, and so we managed to obtain a rare car park in time to arrive as the service started.
The whole service was very well presented by quality musicians and singers, meaningful prayer time, and an excellent address by the pastor. A most uplifting time indeed. This church was looking at employing a fourth pastor to their ministry team and was exploring ways to increase services to benefit everyone.
Maureen and Brian had family commitments and so Mary & I headed to North Beach so that Mary could add even more shells to her massive collection! We were persuaded to get a reasonable fish and chip lunch at the local shops, and then Mary spent quite a time beachcombing while I took a photo or two and waited.
Next was the much needed visit to the laser carwash as, with some 11,000 Kms on the trip clock, the car was in desperate need of a makeover. That was accomplished and she looked the better for it, at least for the time being.
Back to camp and I completed washing the awning and the remaining side of the van before a quick shower before it got cold again. A few quick chores completed to prepare for an early start in the morning and then a good night’s sleep.