On the Swan River there is a natural bay, Matilda Bay which is believed to have been named after Matilda, the wife of John Septimus Roe. He was, in the 1800s, the first Surveyor-General of Western Australia and was, for a number of years, a member of Western Australia’s legislative and executive councils.
Whats so interesting about Matilda Bay you may ask.
Nothing, I might have responded, if I hadn’t be commuting along the Mounts Bay Road, every day Monday thru Friday for the last couple of months. Due these regular trips I became aware of two features of the Matilda Bay shore line.
The first being a bronze statue, of a woman preparing to dive, mounted on a pedestal some meters offshore. Eliza is located at the site of the former Crawley Baths.
Apparently, when they opened in 1914, the baths were the largest enclosed body of water in the southern hemisphere. They were demolished in 1964.
Although Eliza was just dressed in seagull poo yesterday, during my many passes she has been adorned with all manner of clothing, banners and balloons. No one is sure who dresses Eliza but past costumes have included a Santa Claus outfit with beard and coincident with the Melbourne Cup, a frock and champagne flute.
Many years ago, nearly 30 I think. During my first ever visit to Perth, in actual fact my first trip to Australia, my daughter took us up to Kings Park.
At that time, as I recall there wasn’t much in the way of commercialism. Just a small kiosk where you could get a drink and a hot pie. Mrs Macs I believe.
But we weren’t there for the pies, we were there for the view. Unfortunately, I don’t have a digitised photo from that time.
Around 15 years ago we once again visited Kings Park. The view was still there but a new adventure was in store for us. Not long opened was the new Federation Walkway with its elevated section and glass bridge.
And so, here we are once again, back in Oz and I felt it was time to revisit Kings Park and take another high level look at the city ……
The views from the park are, as ever, amazing. Not just the city but the great expanse of water which is the Swan River and Matilda Bay, with a shore line that seems to extend for ever.
The city still rises like an island from the sprawling suburbs which are spreading further and further towards the horizon in all directions. In my mind I often parallel my view of Perth with the conceptual city in Stargate Atlantis. Although high rises are, more recently, springing up further away from the city centre.
However, the most noticeable thing, is how dense the high rises have become within the city centre. New buildings are seemingly filling every gap and are now spilling onto the foreshore.
In a previous post I mentioned what the city planners had allowed to happen to the Bell Tower, calling it architectural vandalism. Built in 2000 the bell tower stood proud as a Perth icon. It seems the vandals are still at work. What was once a clean, fresh looking city skyline is now becoming a jumbled mess. A couple of years ago Elizabeth Quay opened with great fanfare and celebrations. Since then the tower developments have continued. Having swallowed the bell tower, they also oppressively overlook Elizabeth Quay.
I have to say that, from Kings Park, it looks a mess. Nothing stands out. The only way to see Elizabeth Quay is from one of the river cruise boats.
So, in my opinion Perth is in danger of becoming a smudge on the horizon. Meanwhile Kings Park is a gem. A place where folks can escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Where they can get back to nature, either making use of the various lawns and park benches, or walking the forest ways.
From that humble kiosk, dispensing Mrs Macs pies, Kings Park now boasts a gallery, a large eatery and visitor centre. Here we partook of toasted sandwiches and cold drinks.
Kings Park is also home to various war memorials and artworks …..
Visiting Kings Park should be on every Perth visitors todo list. The views are gorgeous and the surroundings peaceful. The park and river are the lungs of the city.
Come and enjoy.
P.S. And if the city planners are listening. Please do not spoil this fabulous view by allowing a cable car attraction to be built between Kings Park and Elizabeth Quay. The additional traffic would also spoil the tranquility.
On Monday this week, 27th January 2020, The One Stop on Five Heads Road was robbed. The robber is described as Male, dressed in a black coat with hood up and dark tight jeans of tracksuit bottoms with white trainers. He was also wearing a pair of tights over his head and carrying a Blue Lonsdale ‘Bag for Life’. The robber got away with cash and cigarettes.
If you have been offered cigarettes for sale at a cheap price, or saw a red and white mini which was seen nearby at the time of the robbery the police would like to hear from you. The mini driver may been involved, or have seen something that can help the police.
If you can help please call the police on 101 and quote reference 44200033501 or crimestoppers on 0800 555111 where you can leave anonymous information.
After our visit to Cohunu we drove out to Serpentine Dam, or more precisely The Cafe On The Dam for lunch. We have visited before, the food is very good and the location good too. Well away from the hustle and bustle of city suburbia and where you can see the local wildlife.
During the course of our meal Steve was mugged by a Kookaburra who, along with his parrot accomlices, took the opportunity to raid Steve’s dinner plate and stole some chips. At the same time the errant bird knocked over his cold glass of Lemon, Lime and Bitters, drowning his Chicken Parmigiana, salad and fries.
Unfortunately, there is no CCTV footage of the crime in progress but I did manage to get some mug shots of the perpetrator and his accomplices.
Thankfully, nobody was hurt during this despicable crime.
Earlier today we spent a delightful couple of hours at Cohunu Koala Park. The park is located near the town of Byford, just 40 minutes drive away from the city of Perth in Western Australia.
According to their own website ….
Come and make friends with some of the unique Australian fauna living in the park. Stroll the bush tracks and pathways. Hand feed many of the free roaming animals. Have a chat with over 30 talking parrots, see dingoes, kangaroos, emus, deer and koalas, just to name a few of the animals that live at the park.
Needless to say I had my camera to hand so here are a few snaps of the, always photogenic, creatures.
First up are the Koalas, after which the park is named ….
Never the most dynamic of animals, the Koalas were, for the most part, sleeping.
Again, from the parks website ….
The Cohunu Koala Park colony was established in 1982 with the arrival of 4 koalas from South Australia. It now boasts more than 25 koalas in its colony. Our colony in Western Australia has an increase of approximately 4 baby joeys each year.
Koalas are marsupials, the female carries its young in the pouch for 6 months then on her back for a further 4 months.
Koalas live almost exclusively on eucalyptus leaves which have a poor nutritional value, thus to conserve their energy koalas sleep 18-20 hours per day, rarely drinking but relying on the water content of the eucalyptus leaves.
18-20 hours is pretty close to the sleep time for the average teenager. I wonder what their excuse is ?
Next up, here are a few Kangaroos. Also mostly asleep but there are a few that were hopping around.
It must be the heat that makes the kangaroos seek shady corners to doze in. They certainly didn’t seem to be too interested in the popcorn that we offered them.
Unlike the birds, and in particular the biggest bird on the planet, the Ostrich.
Two examples certainly made light work of the popcorn that we offered them. And, when shown empty hands, scarpered pretty quickly. I guess it was cupboard love after all.
One of the nice things about Cohunu is the fact that many animals are allowed to roam pretty freely. Although they may be kept segregated to different areas, Joe Public is still able to get up close and personal.
The pony, above, made itself known by nudging each of us in turn. Usually in the rump, as if to say “Gimmee the food”. It followed us round until, I guess, it got bored. Certainly the Emu was quite inquisitive too. Due to their size, they can be fairly intimidating but they are small when compared with the Ostrich. The Kangaroos didn’t seem to be phased by close proximity of us humans.
One species not encouraged to mix with us humans was the Dingo, although this one did seem to be quite friendly. At one time coming over and sitting by my feet, the two of us separated by wire mesh.
I got the feeling he was just looking for some company although, even mine wasn’t good enough, and he took himself off to the shade of the pipe.
In their blurb, the Cohunu folks claim to have over 30 talking parrots. Of course that is probably true and I am not here to dispute that figure. All I can say is that I am glad they weren’t all speaking at the same time.
Many did indeed say hello and at least one seemed to be apologising although we couldn’t work out what for. They are all characters and at least one let rip with the loudest bird call I have ever experience at close quarters. The repeated shriek fair rattled my ear drums. Here are just a few of the residents.
All that remains is for me to show you some snaps of some of the other residents of the park.
Also to be found around the park are a number of unusual creatures.