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.
Look what they did to the Bell Tower in Perth. Criminal, vandalism is what I say
When the tower was first constructed it was surrounded by park land and fountains. Was visible from all directions and from along the shore line.
This is what one travel blogger had to say …….
This is the hallmark of Australian tourism located at Barrack Square of Perth. Bell tower has high glass spires and it is the largest musical instrument in the world. Here, you can also try your hand at the art of ringing bells. The bells in this tower include original bells of St. Martin in the Fields Church, the Parish church of Buckingham Palace in London.
Well not anymore. I guess developer money has spoken.
The poor old bell tower is now swamped by highrise buildings. Gone are the open spaces and fountains. Should you venture up the tower, the only real view is directly across the river. The bells are still ringing but are only audible when you are close by. The loud music from the nearby bars tends to drown out the lovely chimes.
This is nothing but commercial vandalism. Perth City should be embarrassed and ashamed.
Out of the blue, a phone call from our grandson, and an offer of an evening trip up the Swan River, on Christmas Eve. Being our wedding anniversary, what better way to round off the day. Few details were provided other than that we needed to be present at the East Street Jetty for around 19:00.
The trip was being provided by my grandsons partner who runs a charter business.
Arriving at the jetty, we soon found other folks, similarly awaiting the arrival of a boat.
While we waited Steve and I started to scout out the area as a possible fishing venue, having already noted the presence of several anglers. After chatting with one guy, who was packing up, we have added the jetty to our list . Easy access with parking very close by and straight into deep water.
It wasn’t long before our transport appeared upstream and was tied alongside ready for boarding.
MV Cygnus is a fully licensed 53′ Catamaran and is apparently capable of catering for up to 60 people. I think that might be a tight squeeze, however we weren’t that many so had room to meander.
Shortly after boarding it was time for a little something to moisten dry throats. Make the most of the next photo. It features yours truly which is a rare occurrence as it’s not often that I step in front of a lens.
By 19:15 we were underway, heading up river and it was time to point the lens outside of the boat. Having made a similar daytime trip, several years ago, we knew we would see some very nice properties along the river banks. At least while the sun was still up. However, an evening trip was going to be somewhat different.
These cranes, silhouetted by the setting sun, look somewhat like prehistoric creatures heading to the river to drink.
My grandson is a member of the Water Police. This picture shows some of their toys. Am I jealous ? , go on, ask me.
Down here in Oz it gets dark very quickly so photography on a moving platform becomes something of a challenge. Here are some “snaps” taken once darkness had arrived.
At some point we tied up to a buoy, so that the hot food could be cooked on the huge BBQ at the stern. We sat swinging at the whims of the river currents and the wind, just offshore from Mosmans Restaurant.
The crew laid out quite a spread, with steaks, chicken drummies and prawns cooked on the BBQ, supplemented with a variety of salads and roast vegetables followed by fresh fruits and cheeses.
Food consumed, we were then of further up river until the city came into view. Time for some more snaps but, several beers in, I wasn’t really up for the challenge.
Yes, that’s twice I’ve been in front of the lens on one single occasion.
Here is the best of a bad lot …..
It would have been nice to have cruised right up into the city, but that was as close as we got. Still looks good though.
There was a disco on board and we did get up to dance, a bit. Well that’s perhaps a very loose description of the gyrations I was making. I am pleased to say that there are no photos of that brief interlude.
All too soon we were heading back to the East Street Jetty. Just a short distance, from the jetty, is the Left Bank, bar and restaurant.
This place, The Left Bank, was having a Xmas Eve party. It started at Noon and was going on till 2 am . From the jetty we could see that they had swarms of hi-viz jacketed security outside. We could hear it from the river as we cruised by. Call me an old fart, but any pub that requires that level of security is not a place I would want to frequent. Having said that we did have a nice early evening meal there a few years back.
So there you have it, our trip up the swanny.
There are many interpretations of the phrase “up the swanny”, including ballsed up, stuck in the mud, tits up, up shit creek, up the creek without a paddle and so forth.
None of these are applicable. We had a great time and our thanks go to Kate and her crew for a super evening.