Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 126 - 130 Fremantle – 12-16 Oct 2009

20,390 kms, 28 degrees C

Perth is the next flagstone on the trip. After four months on the road we have topped 20,000km, which is half way around the world, from London to Christchurch (the furthest city in the world) and have started to make our way back again!

WA is a big place. It is the 2nd largest subnational entity in the world, behind the Sakha Republic in Russia. WA is 2.6m sq km – by comparison, the largest US state is Alaska (no, not Texas) which is 1.7m sq km. And Queensland is also bigger than Alaska.

We have now driven from the NE tip to the SW corner. And we had to stop for fuel. A few times!

It was great to meet up with our good friends Peter and Sylvia Gregory for a fish supper in Northbridge. Peter is a Paediatric Dentist in Perth – Sylvia was busy organising a family function to celebrate her parents 60 years of marriage. That is not a typo, 60 years! Sylvia had letters of congratulation from the Queen, Prime Minister Krudd and just about anyone and everyone who counts below these two in the great food chain of life. Quite remarkable.

We stayed in Mosman Park, near Fremantle, where we spent quite a bit of time. “Freo” is a lively city that has been engulfed in the urban sprawl of Perth. It has a great market, wonderful streetscapes and microbreweries, such as the Sail and Anchor. We tried to sample the complete range of boutique draft beers, all of them wonderful, while watching, “the youth of today”, drink bottled Corona. Are we getting old and crusty? I thought so?!

There are wonderful walking trails, fresh seafood shops on the waterfront and great architecture. We spent more hours than planning in the maritime museum, which has lots of interesting stuff on migrants to Australia. This was of particular interest to Nicko as his mum visited Perth a long time ago. Stuart’s relos landed here while on a £10 passage to Adelaide in 1948. In many ways Freo really was the gateway to Australia.

There are a number of historical moments in Auzzie history where any true blue will tell you where they were when it happened. And they are all sporting, such as Kieren Perkins winning the 1500m freestyle at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 - we were in a shopping centre in Parramatta, watching it on the tele. Next would be Kathy Freemans win in the 400m hurdles at the Sydney Olympics. But the top of the stack would have to be when Australia II won the Americas Cup in 1983, with its controversial winged keel. It was financed by Alan Bond, a corporate crook known as the “lovable rogue”. Unless you were his creditors of course!

Australia II is in the Freeo Maritime Museum, along with the Auzzie jacket worn by Prime Minister Bob Hawke the day after celebrating the success in the US, when he uttered the immortal words, “any boss who sacks a worker for not turning up today is a bum”. It doesn’t get more Auzzie than that!!


Honora said...

Interesting to hear about Freemantle as I know little about it. Fascinating "Australia" jacket; hope you're not going to get a replica of that! Thought you said it was cooler? 28degrees? Phew! X Mum

Stuart Riley said...

Mum, the weather is variable, today didnt get above 23 for example, but 86pc humidity!

Interesting place. I reckon Harold and Irene would have hit the port of freo. And a few others!!