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flight_brisbane_to_perth_friday_29th_march_2013


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Our flight from Brisbane to Perth which basically followed the shortest possible route. We passed over several salt pan lakes including South Australia's huge Lake Torrens (on the thumbnail image and about 160 Km from north to south), which are mostly just dry salt pans, only filling up on average about once a decade. Just before flying over Lake Torrens, we passed over the Flinder's Ranges, but after Lake Torrens, we flew very briefly over the Great Australian Bight, where I was able to photograph the coastline near the Western Australian/South Australian state border, before flying over Lake Cowan at Western Australia's Eastern Goldfields.

42 files, last one added on Apr 18, 2013

fremantle_saturday_30th_march_2013


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Fremantle, being at the mouth of the Swan, is Perth's port due to its very shallow average depth. On a hill overlooking the town is a war memorial with a particular focus on the maritime services, namely the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and Australia's Merchant Navy, whose role in both world wars has so often not been given the mention or recognition it deserves, most likely due to its official civilian status. often however, they would face the same dangers as the RAN, but without the armaments to defend themselves. Later we would visit the Fremantle markets then take in the sunset to conclude our visit.

127 files, last one added on Apr 20, 2013

kings_park_sunday_31st_march_2013


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Perth's beautiful Kings park atop the Mount Eliza escarpment overlooking the Swan River from its north bank and its city centre. The native botanical gardens and the war memorial are other wonderful features of this jewel of Perth. The Swan river, fed by its tributary the Canning, whose mouth is also visible joining the Swan on its south bank, greatly enhances the breadth of the Swan River. For example, at the Canning mouth/junction to its north bank the Swan attains an imposing four kilometre breadth. That said, the Swan is very shallow, ruling out the possibility of any major shipping reaching the city centre, hence the Port of Fremantle at the Swan River mouth. The Mount Eliza escarpment, which bears Kings park upon its peak, was named after the wife of the New South Wales governor Joe Darling, upon the founding of the Swan River Colony in 1829 by James Stirling, later to be known as Western Australia. The last few images are of Perth's London Court, running north from St Georges Terrace to Hay St in the city centre, with its Old English theme.

389 files, last one added on Apr 20, 2013

mandurah_monday_01st_april_2013


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Mandurah is about 70 Km south of Perth's city centre or about 50 minutes by train. We caught the train from Canning Bridge Station on the Canning River, thus the first few photos are of it, and our train ride was only 40 minutes on the railway line that was opened in December 2007. Mandurah is WA's second largest city and has grown quickly since the turn of the century, in much the same vein as Queensland's Gold Coast. It is has become popular with Perth retirees and attracts many foreign visitors. The city centre foreshore is home to a variety of wildlife including dolphins, pelicans, and an abundance of marine life including the blue manna crab which has become synonymous with the area. It is also known for its protected waterways, beaches as well as boating and fishing activities. We saw some dolphins but I was only able to barely photograph one as it plunged back underwater.

172 files, last one added on Apr 20, 2013

swan_river_tuesday_02nd_april_2013


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We boarded our Rottnest Island Express Ferry from the Barrack St Terminal in Perth's city centre. While this was a longer and more expensive trip than if we boarded from Fremantle, where the service is also much more regular, we decided to take the opportunity to photograph the Swan River on our way to Rottnest Island. The on-board commentator informed us that the most expensive house in Australia lies on this river, priced at a mere $85 million dollars. Later, a friend of my brother-in-law informed me that Chris Ellison, the managing director of Mineral Resources, with its office located less than a kilometre from where we were staying in Applecross, had five houses torn down to be replaced by this extravagant behemoth. The final photo in this album is taken just as we leave the River mouth at Fremantle where additional passengers were picked up at two nearby terminals bringing the ferry to capacity.

123 files, last one added on Apr 14, 2013

rottnest_island_tuesday_02_april_2013


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Our first day on Rottnest Island, where I was greeted with my first sighting of the island's ubiquitous Quokkas. They are small macropods (kangaroos, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, pademelons, etc) about the size of a domestic cat. They are very placid and cute creatures and a volunteer guide told us that they were the first marsupials seen by Europeans—they being the Dutch of the 17th century. Because they mistook the Quokkas for rats they gave the island its name “Rottnest” meaning “Rat's nest”. They also live on Bald Island off the coast near Albany on WA's southern coast, and there is a small mainland colony of them on Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, also near Albany where they co-exist with the endangered Gilbert's potoroo (Thought extinct until their re-discovery in 1994). One feature that I found stunning about Rottnest was its incredibly clear water and its stunning ocean lagoons with their lovely shades of blue. You can travel around the island for just $14 by bus, getting off at any of the stops and catch the next bus 30 minutes later, or you can hire a push bike to get around. The island is just 10 Km form east to west, and only 4 Km from north to south at its widest with a narrow neck towards its west. It is only 18 Km from the coast and only 30 Km from Perth's city centre, which is usually easily visible from the main town centre at Thomson's Bay on the east of the island, where we stayed in one of the old and basic, but clean colonial bungalows. All in all, a very quiet, beautiful and delightful little island.

179 files, last one added on Apr 20, 2013

rottnest_island_wednesday_03rd_april_2013


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Our second and last day on Rottnest. I got up at 6am to take in the magnificent Rottnest sunrise which was beautifully enhanced by the perfect cloud formation on the eastern horizon. Usually you think of the sun setting over the ocean on the west coast, but being on Rottnest, it was just like an ocean sunrise on the east coast. The sun rose just south of the city centre at about 6:30am, and you could see the city centre beautifully silhouetted against the golden rising sun, exquisitely illuminating the surrounding clouds along with a golden pathway along the ocean to the beach on Thomson Bay. Later, we used our same bus tickets from the previous day, for another round island trek, as they had been purchased after 2pm. The previous day we only stopped at Parker Point, but this day we took two stops at Salmon Bay and the Roland Smith Memorial at the Island neck on the western extremity of the bus route. Of course, the lagoons with their eye catching hues were there again to be enjoyed. Before taking our 2pm ferry back to Fremantle, we had lunch and coffee at the Dome Cafe with a Perth couple we met on the bus, to delightfully round off our stay on Rottnest.

134 files, last one added on Apr 20, 2013

perth_mint_and_CBD_thursday_04th_april_2013


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The Perth Mint we visited the day after arriving back from Rottnest and it played a central role in the development of Western Australia's gold industry. During the 19th Century, three branches of the Royal Mint of London were established in the Australian colonies to refine gold from the gold rushes and to mint gold sovereigns and half-sovereigns for the British Empire. The Sydney branch opened in 1855, the Melbourne branch in 1872 and the Perth branch on 20 June 1899, two years before Australia's Federation in 1901. The Sydney Mint and Melbourne Mint no longer operate, making the Perth Mint Australia's oldest currently operating mint. After the foundation stone was laid in 1896 by Sir John Forrest, the Mint opened on 20 June 1899 as a branch of the Royal Mint in London to refine gold and manufacture gold sovereigns and half sovereigns to be used as currency in the colony. At that time, Western Australia's population was growing rapidly (23,000 in 1869 and 180,000 in 1900) due largely to the discovery of rich gold deposits in Coolgardie, Kalgoorlie and Murchison areas of the colony. As there was very little money available in Perth for which miners could exchange gold to pay for goods, the Diggers who flocked to the then colony of Western Australia in huge numbers from other parts of Australia and from around the world, deposited their raw gold at The Perth Mint where it was minted into gold coins. Although Federation occurred in 1901, the Mint remained under the jurisdiction of Britain until 1 July 1970, when it became a statutory authority of the Government of Western Australia. We had a solid solid silver coin engraved to celebrate our seven years plus of marriage and witnessed the melting and casting of gold and took in the various precious metal and historical exhibits. We were limited in the number of photos we could take, but I was able to get photos of the history of gold mining in WA, as well as a replica of a 19th century WA prospector's site together with REPLICAS of some of the largest gold nuggets ever found, which Sonia and I got to handle. Of course, gold being 20 TIMES AS DENSE AS WATER, means, if they were real, we would not have been holding them up!!! But just as in Juifen in Taiwan one year earlier, we got to touch real gold, albeit nowhere near the size of the 220 Kg we touched there.

55 files, last one added on Apr 20, 2013

kalamunda_friday_05th_april_2013


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This day we visited old friends of Sonia's in Kalamunda. It is located in the Darling Scarp at the eastern limits of the Perth metropolitan area. The word is derived from two Noongar (Indigenous language of the local region) words: kala meaning "home" and munda meaning "forest", hence spawning the Shire's motto "A home in the forest". At 300 metres (980 ft) above sea level, Kalamunda and the surrounding areas experience colder night temperatures than the bulk of the Perth Metropolitan area to the west. Although this is less pronounced in the summer as Kalamunda is not affected by the Fremantle Doctor sea breeze. Deep clay soils in the valleys in this area provide ideal growing conditions for stone fruits, apples and pears,wine production and for a small commercial rose growing industry. Located nearby is the Kalamunda National Park and the northern terminus of the Bibbulmun Track, a 963 km (yes....963 km) recreational walking trail stretching from Albany. Being on the Darling Scarp, many a great view one can take in looking west towards Perth's airport and city centre which I took time to photograph. Later in the day we were taken to the Mundaring Weir, constructed from 1898 to 1903. It is synonymous with the world famous Eastern Goldfields Water Supply pipeline built from 1895 to1903. It runs 566 km to Kalgoorlie, supplying water to all the surrounding regional goldfields from the Mundaring Weir. It does supply water to some parts of metropolitan Perth, but its primary function by far is to supply water to the arid goldfields. It was prompted by the discovery of gold in Coolgardie in 1892, only 40Km from Kalgoorlie, and it is not just mere coincidence that the Perth Mint was founded during its construction. C.Y. O'Connor was the chief engineer for this ambitious project, and while it was eventually completed, many short sighted critics constantly denounced the project which tragically lead to O'Connor committing suicide on its microscopically late completion. However, as can be seen by his statue at the Weir, his name lives on in memory, and his short sighted critics have rightly faded into historical insignificance.

148 files, last one added on Apr 20, 2013

penguin_island_saturday_06th_april_2013


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Penguin Island is a 12.5 ha island off the coast near Perth, Western Australia, 700 metres from Rockingham on the Mandurah railway line. It is home to a colony of Little Penguins, the largest population of the birds in Western Australia. The waters surrounding the island make up the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. The thumbnail is of five of the ten captive penguins, mostly rescued penguins who for example may have been found caught up in plastic bags or fishing lines and now deemed to be unfit to be released back into the wild. They are of course much tamer than the penguins in general, which do their best to avoid humans. Regular ferries carry tourists to and from the island and other marine-park sights. Access is also available by private boat BUT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SWIM OR WALK ACROSS THE SANDBAR TO THE ISLAND. This is because, despite the very shallow water, many people have drowned (eg late December 2010) due to high tides, strong winds or unpredictable currents. In fact, just after we boarded our ferry to the island, a young male Taiwanese tourist had to be rescued by our boat as he was drowning. Fortunately, he was rescued in time and was fine by the time the boat finished its very short trip to the island, where he and his friend got off. So, at extreme risk to their lives, they got a free ferry trip to the island, saving themselves $12. We also took a boat trip out to the other Shoalwater Islands, where colonies of Pelicans and Cormorants were prominent, as wells as sighting two sea lions. The big older one is named Macca after the first human inhabitant Seaforth McKenzie in 1917. He was of Canadian descent and fashioned a home from the limestone caves on the north-eastern face of the island. The younger and smaller sea lion is named Angus. Sea lions in the Australian eastern states had been wiped out by 1895, but fortunately still survive off the South and Western Australian coasts. From the 1920s, under the "rule" of McKenzie, tourism became popular and one cave housed a library and small store. Then in the 1950s holiday huts were added but then from 1989 to 1997 these huts were removed and replaced by the now present Penguin Discovery Centre and Research Centre. Tourists are only allowed onto the island during the allotted daylight hours and must catch the last ferry back to Rockingham at 4 pm. All in all, a very enjoyable day, full of numerous photo taking opportunities, and a delightful way to round off our trip to Perth. Definitely, amongst the numerous wildlife, the penguins were the cutest.

258 files, last one added on Apr 20, 2013

kings_park_at_night_saturday_06th_april_2013


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Beautiful Kings Park on the Mount Eliza escarpment overlooking the Perth city centre and Swan River at night. I managed to take these photos on my last night in Perth

33 files, last one added on Apr 13, 2013

flight_back_perth_to_brisbane_sunday_07th_april_2013


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On our flight back to Brisbane we took a more northerly route, passing over the north of South Australia and crossing into Queensland over its border with South Australia. Before doing so however, I photographed numerous vast, seemingly endless parallel ridges running from south to north in South Australia's arid north. The thumbnail is an example of this vast endless land form.

191 files, last one added on Apr 20, 2013

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