Perth and Fremantle
This part of our journey is a trip down memory lane. It is not only a chance to catch up with old friends, but a chance to review at least a part of our passage into our seventies. Wow, how did we get here?
Helen and Michael’s wedding takes place in the grounds of the John Forrest National Park, just as our own did some thirty-odd years ago. It is a rainy day but this does not dampen the sprits of all who are there. May you two have a wonderful life together!
We had forgotten just how beautiful a city Perth can be, especially around the Swan River, which runs through its heart and is kilometres wide in places as it flows out to the Indian Ocean via Fremantle.
We catch up with friends in Perth and Fremantle, in particular Chris and Richard, and then Michael and Patricia with whom we stay for a few days. Thank you, thank you for such good company and delicious food!
Now it is time to turn to the South West of Western Australia and return to Albany, Torbay and Denmark to see how things are down here. We spent more than fifteen years in this area, and Max, Zoe and Pippa spent much of their childhoods on this wild and remote southern coast.
We are extremely lucky to be offered the keys to good friends Jonathan and Pam’s house in Little Grove, across the Princess Royal Harbour from Albany town. J & P are currently in Scandinavia, so it is a pity we will not see them; however it is a pleasure to be able to stay in their beautiful house for ten days and keep their home fires burning.
Of course, everybody tells us that the weather has been almost like summer in the week before we arrive. This is not our experience since a series of cold fronts begins their procession along the south coast just in time for our arrival.
As always we feel the need to revisit the coastline around the harbours and along the southern ocean. The scenery here is spectacular and we never get tired of admiring it’s rugged beauty. Along the peninsular out from Little Grove is the old whaling station, now a tourist attraction to show the slaughter that was carried on here in past times.
The series of cold fronts passing along the coast are making for some serious swell on the ocean and we delight in watching huge waves hurl themselves on the rocks all along the coastline, and which provide lots if opportunities for those brave enough to ride them. We visit a number of the beaches being careful not to get caught by the tide.
It is interesting to remember that it was the very remoteness of this southern shore that attracted us in the first place and, in the end, moved us on. We shared the excitement of building our home on the Wolery ecological community in the nineteen eighties while working as craftspeople; Jacqui with her ceramics and me making baskets.
We are lucky to to be invited to a Wolery shared meal, which is a great opportunity to catch up with friends whom we haven’t seen for many years. The Wolery itself, has matured into a settled community with some families having three generations living there. Thank you all for a lovely evening!
While we are in Denmark we also manage to catch up with a number of other friends and exchange our stories and see what they are doing.
And of course we took the opportunity to visit many of the spectacular beaches which this southern coastline is known for.
Our last ten years living in the area were spent in Torbay, living in a house we had built on a five acre block. These blocks of land had been laid out when it was envisaged that there would be a township every ten kilometers of so between Albany and Denmark along the long departed railway line. Few of these settlements actually happened and Torbay was eventually settled by those who wished a quiet semi-rural lifestyle with access to work in either Albany or Denmark. Just like us!
We revisited our old house, at least from the road, and made sure went to our local beaches.
Time to leave
As with all things, our time on the South Coast must come to an end and as a parting gift to ourselves, we spent a beautiful day camped next to the inlet of the remote Normans Beach, some fifty kilometers west of Albany on the road to Esperance, our next destination.
It was truely a day to remember!
During our time here, we have especially enjoyed the warm welcome we have received from all our old friends, too numerous to mention individually. It has been heart warming to see people so well and to enjoy a glimpse of their stories since we last met.
Our whole experience of revisiting Western Australia has been a very positive one for us, in spite of the best efforts of the winter weather to dampen our spirits. We can see how living and working both in Perth and on the south coast laid so much of the foundation of our lives today.
I guess it’s time for us to begin our journey back to the east. What adventures await us, I wonder?