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Walk around Perth

How many courthouses? No wonder Australia is full of the descendants of convicts!

sunny 24 °C
View 2013 Round the World Trip on FrancisRTW's travel map.

The first place we visited in Perth was the Mint founded in 1899 as a result of all the gold being mined locally in the Western Australia's eastern goldfields. It is the oldest operating mint in Australia and one of its top exporters responsible for refining nearly all Australia's annual production of gold. Unfortunately with all that gold around we weren't allowed to take any photographs but the highlight of the tour was watching gold being heated up and poured in the Melting House to make a gold bar. Apparently they have been cooling and re-melting the same gold bar for their gold pouring displays for years!

Perth Mint

Perth Mint


Recreation of Prospectors' Campsite at Perth Mint

Recreation of Prospectors' Campsite at Perth Mint


Me by the statue of a couple of gold prospectors outside Perth Mint

Me by the statue of a couple of gold prospectors outside Perth Mint

Next up was the grand "Beaux Arts-style" General Post Office in Forrest Place. The GPO building itself is now listed and the square in front of it is popular for events and festivals. Murray Street and Hay Street seem to be the main shopping streets in Perth and include London Court, a mock Tudor Shopping Court built in 1937 by a wealthy gold miner and financier. The restored Town Hall is located on the corner of Hay and Barrack Streets.

The General Post Office on Forrest Place, Perth

The General Post Office on Forrest Place, Perth


London Court Shopping Arcade, Perth

London Court Shopping Arcade, Perth


Shops along London Court, Perth

Shops along London Court, Perth


Perth Town Hall

Perth Town Hall

We then stumbled upon the Old Perth Fire Station which unexpectedly had quite an interesting museum and heritage centre. Downstairs we some old fire engines and equipmnet but upstairs there were displays about all the different types of disasters the Western Australia Fire and Emergency Services might have to deal with - bush fires, cyclones, tsunamis and earthquakes; very well done but is it safe to live here?

Old Central Fire Station, Perth

Old Central Fire Station, Perth


Old Fire Tenders at Old Central Fire Station, Perth WA

Old Fire Tenders at Old Central Fire Station, Perth WA

Just up the road from the Fire Station was St. Marys RC Cathedral; the originally building built in 1863 is quite pretty although I think the jury is still out on the recently added extension on the righthand side.

St Marys Cathedral, Perth

St Marys Cathedral, Perth

Talking of jurys... it was at this point I began to notice a theme - almost every second building seemed to be some sort of courthouse! I found this quite amusing bearing in mind Australia's convict past (even if West Australians proudly point out that unlike the eastern states they were not originally a convict colony). First up we passed the District Court as we made our back down Hay Street, I didn't bother photographing that. Then we reached Perth Concert Hall, a fine auditorium built in the early 1970s - with the Commonwealth Court nestled beside it on the left.

Perth Concert Hall with the Commonwealth Law Court beside it

Perth Concert Hall with the Commonwealth Law Court beside it

We then continued along St George's Terrace past Government House and the impressive Council House where had my photo taken by the statues of a mob of Kangaroos outside Stirling Gardens. Not surprisingly this is a very popular photo site with tourists!

Government House, Perth

Government House, Perth


Me by the Mob of Kangaroo Statues on St George's Terrace, Perth

Me by the Mob of Kangaroo Statues on St George's Terrace, Perth

Across Stirling Gardens is the Supreme Court with hidden behind it the Old Court House. This is a lovely old building (the oldest in Perth) which was originally built in 1836 and in its early years also doubled up as a boy's school, church and concert hall.

Supreme Court, Perth

Supreme Court, Perth


The Old Court House, Perth

The Old Court House, Perth


The Courtroom at the Old Court House, Perth

The Courtroom at the Old Court House, Perth


Me in the dock at the Old Court House in Perth

Me in the dock at the Old Court House in Perth

Our final port of call on our walk around Perth was the Bell Tower at the bottom of Barrack Street by the jetty. It was opened in 2000 as Western Australia's Millennium Project and contains bells from St. Martins-in-the-Fields in London's Trafalgar Square. The oldest bells date from 1550 and are referred to in the nursery "Oranges and Lemons" with the words "you owe me five farthings say the bells of St. Martins".

The Barrack Street Bell Tower

The Barrack Street Bell Tower


The Bells inside the Bell Tower

The Bells inside the Bell Tower

We finished off the day in true Perth style with a drink in Maylands watching the sun set over the Perth City Skyline.

Sunset over the Perth City Skyline from Maylands

Sunset over the Perth City Skyline from Maylands

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in Australia Tagged churches markets city sunsets perth prisons mints Comments (0)

Rottnest Island

Chasing Quokkas on Rotto

sunny 27 °C
View 2013 Round the World Trip on FrancisRTW's travel map.

Rottnest (or "Rotto") is a small island 12 miles off the Fremantle coast famed for its wildlife (and in particular "quokkas", cat sized marsupials) and used as an idyllic holiday retreat by the locals. The day started with catching the early ferry from the Barrack Street Jetty in Perth and then an hour long cruise down the Swan River past West Australia's equivalent of Millionaires Row to Fremantle.

Perth from the Barrack Street Jetty

Perth from the Barrack Street Jetty


View from the ferry on the Swan River between Perth and Fremantle

View from the ferry on the Swan River between Perth and Fremantle


Fremantle Harbour

Fremantle Harbour

Having berthed up beyond the "Costa Deliziosa" Cruise Ship (the big cruise ship currently in port) and loaded up with more tourists, bicycles and ballot boxes (for the imminent state election), the ferry sped past ships queueing to berth up in Freemantle Harbour. Arriving on Rottnest Island about 30 minutes later, we then got on a RIB (Rigid Inflatible Boat, apparently similar to those used by the SAS) for a 90 minute "eco-tour" right around the island stopping at coves to see the wildlife along the way.

Bicycles and Ballot Boxes being loaded on the Rottnest Ferry at Freemantle

Bicycles and Ballot Boxes being loaded on the Rottnest Ferry at Freemantle


Approaching Rottnest Island on the Ferry

Approaching Rottnest Island on the Ferry


The RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) we were on going around Rottnest Island

The RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) we were on going around Rottnest Island


On the eco-tour RIB speeding around Rottnest Island

On the eco-tour RIB speeding around Rottnest Island

The ride bouncing along at up to 35 knots outside the speed restriction areas was fun and we saw lazy New Zealand Fur Seals, nesting Ospreys and well as foraging Stingrays but I must admit I had hoped to see more as dolphins and seas lions are often also seen on the trip I took.

New Zealand Fur Seal at Cathedral Rocks on Rottnest Island

New Zealand Fur Seal at Cathedral Rocks on Rottnest Island


Kayaking and snorkeling amongst the seals on Rottnest Island

Kayaking and snorkeling amongst the seals on Rottnest Island


New Zealand Fur Seal floating on his back on Rottnest Island

New Zealand Fur Seal floating on his back on Rottnest Island


Osprey perched high up on a cliff on Rottnest Island

Osprey perched high up on a cliff on Rottnest Island

On returning to Thomson Bay (the main settlement on the island) I hired a bicycle for a couple of hours to explore the island's interior as with cars non-existent this is the recommended way to get around. I managed to reach the Oliver Hill Guns (WW2 Battery installed to defend Freemantle Harbour), Wedjemup Lighthouse and ride past some of the salty pink lakes (4 times saltier than sea water and like the Dead Sea you naturally float in them) before I had to return back to make sure I was back in time for my ferry.

The WW2 Gun Battery on Oliver Hill

The WW2 Gun Battery on Oliver Hill


Wadjemup Lighthouse on Rottnest Island

Wadjemup Lighthouse on Rottnest Island


A pink lake on Rottnest Island

A pink lake on Rottnest Island


Me exploring Rottnest Island by bicycle

Me exploring Rottnest Island by bicycle


Geordie Bay full of yachts on Rottnest Island

Geordie Bay full of yachts on Rottnest Island

Back in Thomson Bay I made a quick visit to the museum and "Quod" (old prison now hotel, Rottnest was used as an aboriginal open prison during the 19th century) was beginning to worry the only quokka I would see would be the one sleeping by the surf boards at the bicycle hire shop. I need not have worried, literally just before I got back to the boat one wandered out in front of me and good as posed for my camera!

The Quod (Old Prison) at Thomson Bay

The Quod (Old Prison) at Thomson Bay


The Old School and Chapel at Thomson Bay

The Old School and Chapel at Thomson Bay


Quokka posing for me as I am about to board ship

Quokka posing for me as I am about to board ship


The Ferry back to Fremantle and Perth

The Ferry back to Fremantle and Perth

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in Australia Tagged beaches animals birds museums lighthouses boat forts cruise_ships harbours tour perth marine_life videos prisons solo Comments (0)

A day in Freo

Visit to a Martime Museum with a submarine, historic prisons and a brewery

overcast 20 °C
View 2013 Round the World Trip on FrancisRTW's travel map.

Fremantle Port (affectionately known as "'Freo" to the locals) sits at the mouth of the Swan River about 25 minutes west of Perth. It has retained its old buildings and charm and apart from the Port Authority Building itself doesn't have the skyscrapers found in Perth. A lot of migrants arrived from Europe through Fremantle including my cousins from Ireland and there are several statues of migrants around the port area. Fremantle is also home to the eye catching West Australian Maritime Museum opened in 2002 with the old museum now used as a Shipwreck Gallery. Amongst the new museum's displays is the Australia II which was the first non-American yacht to win the Americas Cup and brought the competition to Fremantle in 1987.

Fremantle Port Authority Building and the Leeuwin II Sail Training Ship

Fremantle Port Authority Building and the Leeuwin II Sail Training Ship


Migrant Statue near the Fremantle E-Sheds

Migrant Statue near the Fremantle E-Sheds


The West Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle

The West Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle


Sama Biasa - an Indonesian Fishing Boat confiscated for fishing in Australian waters

Sama Biasa - an Indonesian Fishing Boat confiscated for fishing in Australian waters


The 1983 Americas Cup winning yacht Australia II

The 1983 Americas Cup winning yacht Australia II

On a slipway alongside the museum there is the Oberon class submarine HMAS Ovens. It was originally commissioned in 1969 and was operational for 26 years before being handed over as a museum ship. It was a fascinating tour and left with the impression that if needed she was maintained in such good condition that she could be put to sea again.

HMAS Ovens

HMAS Ovens


Forward Torpedo Room within HMAS Ovens

Forward Torpedo Room within HMAS Ovens


Looking up inside the Coning Tower within HMAS Ovens

Looking up inside the Coning Tower within HMAS Ovens


HMAS Ovens Engine Room

HMAS Ovens Engine Room

A couple of minutes along the sea front is an odd 12 sided stone prison called the Round House, built in 1830-31 and the oldest surviving building in Western Australia. It where the first hangings in WA took place and was also used for holding aborigines before they were taken to Rottnest. In front of the Round House there is a signal canon once used for ships in the harbour to set their time and still fired daily at 1pm and underneath there is the Whalers Tunnel carved through the sandstone and used to access the beach where whales were once landed and processed.

The Round House in Fremantle

The Round House in Fremantle


The courtyard within the Round House

The courtyard within the Round House


Me by the 1pm Signal Gun near the Round House

Me by the 1pm Signal Gun near the Round House


The Round House and Whalers' Tunnel

The Round House and Whalers' Tunnel

Away from the coast is Freo's biggest tourist attraction and Western Australia's only World Heritage Site - Freemantle Prison. Built in the 1850s based on Pentonville Prison in London, it was in use right up until 1991 when a prison riot and fire exposed how out-dated it was (modern fire appliances couldn't get in the main gate).

Fremantle Prison Main Block

Fremantle Prison Main Block


Inside one of the division wings at Fremantle Prison

Inside one of the division wings at Fremantle Prison


Exercise Yard at Fremantle Prison

Exercise Yard at Fremantle Prison

As we were guided through the different parts of the prison - the different prison wings ("divisions"), exercise yards, solitary confinement block and the hanging room and the associated prison stories and superstitions - it felt like being on the location of a film set and I kept thinking of Shawshanks Redemption.

The Chapel at Fremantle Prison - note the 6th commandment reads "Thou shalt do no murder" rather than the more usual "Thou shalt not kill"

The Chapel at Fremantle Prison - note the 6th commandment reads "Thou shalt do no murder" rather than the more usual "Thou shalt not kill"


Prison superstition - 6 and 16 missing from a wall because they look like a hangman's noose

Prison superstition - 6 and 16 missing from a wall because they look like a hangman's noose


The Hanging Room at Fremantle Prison

The Hanging Room at Fremantle Prison


I escaped! Me outside Fremantle Prison Main Gate

I escaped! Me outside Fremantle Prison Main Gate

Our final stop in Freo was the Little Creatures Micro Brewery on the Esplanade. The beer tasted great and I could happily have spent hours getting quite merry on it but we needed to get back to Perth.

The Little Creatures Micro Brewery in Freo

The Little Creatures Micro Brewery in Freo


The bar inside the Little Creatures Micro Brewery

The bar inside the Little Creatures Micro Brewery

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in Australia Tagged churches museums beer harbours perth submarines prisons aborigine breweries warships americas_cup Comments (0)

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