An Autumn Day in Perth, Western Australia, May 2016

Day 7 of the “Ultimate Australian Rail Holiday” Tuesday 24th May 2016 

On the official schedule, today is a free day. You might choose to go to Rottnest Island, home of the cute quokka – a little marsupial, like a rat but cuddlier; or to Wave Rock – a huge rock formation that looks like a . . . wave; or to the Pinnacles – limestone formations looming up from the ground of the remote Nambung National Park; or to New Norcia, a Benedectine monastic mission founded in 1847.

Here are a few gratuitous photos from my 2007 trip to New Norcia:

There is no question for us, though, that today is a free day to catch up with my very long-lost friend – J – who has lived in Perth since 1963. In a shameless plug for my memoir, I Belong to No One, you can meet her too on page 20!

It’s been almost ten years since we last saw each other, and J has given up her day to be at our disposal. We are half expecting that our visit will be spent inside a coffee shop, sheltering from the weather, but it brightens up considerably as we wander around the Elizabeth Quay waterfront development. The Bell Tower on Riverside Drive dates to the Bicentennial in 1988.

The Bell Tower, Perth, WA, May 2016

The Bell Tower, Perth, WA, May 2016 – mid morning silhouette

The Bell Tower, Perth, WA, Feb 2007 - Early Evening

The Bell Tower, Perth, WA, Feb 2007 – early evening backlit










I stopped to chat with this cormorant. He broke off cleaning himself to pose for me. I could hear him asking, “which is my better profile – this side? . . . Or this?”

Another around the corner wanted in on the action too.

Perth has so much public outdoor art, I am quite envious. I already featured other examples in my earlier post (here). In the collage below, I believe the one of the fountain pen nibs, to be found at the entrance to the Supreme Court Gardens, is meant to symbolise that “the pen is mightier than the sword” – or I may have just made that up. It’s amazing how bright some of these photos look. They are definitely 2016 vintage. I guess the forecast was “cloudy with sunny patches”.

Riverside Drive Perth, behind the Supreme Court, May 2016

Our meanderings led us back to the Kings Park Botanic Gardens. This time with no time restrictions we wandered at will, had lunch, and took a long route back to the car park.

I was very taken with one particular plant, an Eucalyptus Macrocarpa according to the sign.


It has eye-catching grey-green leaves, and a large broad-waisted pod. Can you see it hanging down amongst the leaves in the photo below?


The pod dries out and the top falls off. Then the flower emerges – the red is very striking, but is not the only colour –

And how the bees just loved it! Practically drowning themselves they were! (Derrick – there are more of these shots 🙂 )

The floral display dries up, and after that falls away, all that is left is a bare base with an empty stem:

The truly amazing thing is that seemingly the tree goes through these stages simultaneously. 

I failed to get the name of the below little beauty, and also failed to get its “seeds” into focus:

There is so much to see in these gardens, with so many different themes and atmospheres, both native and formal. And plenty of sculptures, such as the Firefighter’s Memorial.

And to cap off a lovely day, J gave me a memento from our young childhood – old home movie film converted to play on a CD. The black and white footage, with the sound of the projector whirring away in the background, dates back to 1963 and before. How precious! Thank you, J!

For Reference: We booked our tour through the Australian Holiday Centre.

18 thoughts on “An Autumn Day in Perth, Western Australia, May 2016

      • I checked back with the Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority, who advise that the plant is ” a Calothamnus graniticus subsp. Leptophyllus, a Priority 4 species from the Jarrah forests between Busselton and Perth”. In checking what constitutes a Priority 4 species, I find – Priority 4: Rare, Near Threatened and other species in need of monitoring. So definitely the first time I have seen this plant. Let’s hope it never becomes extinct. It is very special and attractive.


  1. In KingsPark there used to be a Karri (?) tree that had been ‘murdered’ /”ring barked” if memory serves me, and the rings dated it back to the time of the Pharoahs, well quite a way back I really forget, 🙂 Is it still there?


    • Correct. I think. If it was lying on its side. Twenty years ago hubbie and I had a mystery flight to Perth, were on the ground for five hours, went to Kings Park and I have a photograph of sitting on a huge – HUGE – log. In the vicinity of the war memorial overlooking the city. I looked for it this time and not there. My friend has a vague memory that it disintegrated????


      • Googled the log it was not as old as I thought; must have been drunk at the time and you’re right it disintegrated heres the google stuff
        he Karri Log was an iconic and a memorable part of Kings Park. It is remembered by generations of visitors locally and from afar. It was installed 25 June 1958 and was located on Fraser Avenue near the Garden Restaurant (now the Fraser’s Restaurant complex).

        The Karri log was transported in three sections from Donnelly River in Western Australia’s south-west to Kings Park. Estimated to be 363 years old when felled, the log was 32 metres in length and weighed 110 tonnes.

        Various attempts were made to preserve the log over the years with little success. Internal rot was causing the log to subside in places, causing safety concerns. It was removed on 8 October 2001.

        The log was not replaced. However, the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority has planted more than 300 karri trees in the Botanic Garden for future generations.


  2. Love all the public art and Perth appears so modern with wide streets, palm trees and blue sky – looks like it’s a close cousin of California. I suppose to you, it is also the other side of the continent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It seemed a very liveable city – why not – with such a relatively small population and what looked like good infrastructure. Some residents complained the state was in debt, but I don’t have too much of a problem with governments borrowing for infrastructure or asset growth. Someone has to be prepared to look ahead. The palm tree look was unique to that particular roadway, but the city streets are quite wide, and easily navigated based on a grid system layout.


      • Yes, I don’t understand this reluctance to borrow to invest for the future. Perhaps the idea of a long term future doesn’t get enough votes for the politicians. Just as well people in the past didn’t see the world that way as we wouldn’t have magnificent tree lined avenues etc, etc.


        • I think people get scared by the numbers, when in reality it is no different to being prepared to take on a 30 year mortgage in order to get a house. As opposed to taking out a 5 year loan to buy a car. One appreciates, the other depreciates. Good debt vs bad debt. Governments come to power by scaring people into thinking the opposition will saddle future generations with bad debt, and ignore what is being put in place to make that future liveable.


          • That is such a sane way of putting it. Sadly, the political approach is two-fold, either it’s discussed in terms of macroeconomics – all jargon and too complex for the general public to comprehend. Or, it’s reduced to idiotic simplicity as expressed by ‘balance the country’s books like balancing your household budget’!! Sometimes politicians – especially the Oxford PPE’s – are too removed from everyday living. Boris et al not sure those types even have mortgages!

            Liked by 1 person

          • I was listening to a radio interview discussing that so may British politicians come from the boarding school system, and the behaviours learned in that survival environment, such as bullying, evasion & avoidance (of getting into trouble), and going with the crowd are not conducive to developing mature adults. Plus some misogyny thrown in for good measure. A bit like having overgrown naughty schoolboys in charge of the country. Interesting theory . . .


          • Oh so accurate – just don’t get me started on the British public school system, my bête noire. The biggest missed opportunity in British politics was when the post-war Labour government didn’t simply ban all fee paying schools and champion true equality through educating all children in state schools.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Another fabulous post, Gwen. I really enjoy traveling along with you via your blog. I’ve been absent quite a bit lately. Life has gotten in the way of reading and blogging, but I try to pop in on my favorite blogs from time to time.


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