Flying via Qantas from Singapore on my way to Melbourne, I arrived shortly before dinner in Perth for a few hours of lay-over. My friend Jo-Harri and a friend of his picked me up in a car at the airport. It took me a long time to get out of the Arrivals area that he was at the point of thinking that something had held me up, bringing back some bad memories of past airport pick-ups.
We went for dinner at Lucky Chan’s Laundry and Noodle Bar.
Jo-Harri and I had gone to the same university together and although he took up a Bachelors in Mining and Metallurgical Engineering (thus the job in Perth) and I took up a Bachelors in Biology, we met and were inducted together as members of The UP Repertory Company, a university theater group.
I insisted on having coffee and a bit of dessert after dinner, as I haven’t had coffee since I left Singapore, and coffee to me, is life, you know, we dropped by a cafe and bought some for take away.
Jo-Harri then took me to King’s Park, located on the western edge of the central business district in Perth with panoramic views of the Swan River and Darling Range and overlooks the city as well as Perth Water and Melville Water on the Swan River. It was late at night but we took a walk around, walked by the State Memorial, took a few minutes to say a prayer at The Flame of Remembrance and Pool of reflection, while gazing at ducks swimming peacefully in the pool, their shadows cast by the flame unmoving in the stillness of the pool. The pool was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II herself on April 2000. The War Memorial has an inscription of the roll of honor with the names of all servicemen and women who enlisted in Western Australia to die in the Boer War, World War I, World War II, Korean War or Vietnam.
Afterwards, we drove home to his apartment where I stayed the night. He was up early the next morning making us all breakfast. What a lovely host!
I didn’t have so much time as my flight leaves at four in the afternoon. They asked me what I wanted to see or do, and as always, I said I wanted to see the museum and art gallery. I make it a point not to miss a visit to a museum or art gallery of any city I happen to find myself in. They said they knew exactly where to go.
But first, a visit to one of their most famous beaches – Cottesloe Beach!
It was a nice bright, windy day in February still in their last days of summer, and we had fun taking selfies.
They were in the process of preparing for Sculpture by the Sea, which I was going to sadly miss in my Australian trip, because all my schedules in the cities it was going to be held at were at the wrong time!
“Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe is staged on the beautiful Cottesloe Beach, Western Australia. The exhibition is featured from the sea wall all the way along the sand towards North Cottesloe and on the surrounding grassed areas creating a beautiful sculpture park. Access to Cottesloe Beach can be made from the ramps or stairs at different locations along Marine Parade.” – Source
On the way to the Perth Cultural Centre, I took a selfie in the car and was surprised to see myself looking invigorated. I was really having a hard time the past weeks and it was nice to see my face looking brighter. I would say it was the sleep and breakfast!
“The Perth Cultural Centre has been designed to be a fun, safe and interactive space. They have worked closely with the cultural institutions in the precinct to activate the space and invite people to connect with Perth’s cultural heart. It has hosted a number of major events including St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, FringeWorld, Perth International Arts Festival and the Artbar outdoor concert series. Pop-up bars, cafes and shops are fun to explore and allow emerging businesses to test a shopfront environment.” – Source
Entrance is not free to their featured exhibits but there are areas and collections that are free to the public. I spent most of my time at the museum shop though because I saw this book, “A History of the World in 100 Objects.” I bought it for 50AUD as a present for my daughter because I knew she would love it. She loves history.
“The Western Australian Museum is the state museum for Western Australia. It has six main sites: in Perth within the Perth Cultural Centre, two in Fremantle (Maritime and Shipwreck Galleries), and one each in Albany, Geraldton, and Kalgoorlie-Boulder. The Western Australian Museum is a statutory authority within the Culture and the Arts Portfolio, established under the Museum Act 1969.” – Wikipedia
Since the one in the Cultural Centre is currently closed to the public, collections are temporarily housed in other locations. The other sites are open though.
The Perth CBD and Cultural Centre is unique in that it used to be dotted with freshwater wetlands. Consequent developments has “focused on reintroducing an ecosystem that will become home to plant and animal species once common throughout Perth, including native fish, frogs and invertebrates. They have consulted with experts to take a sustainable approach to landscaping and design, including using recycled gravel from other parts of the site and locally-sourced salvaged timber. The existing steps have been repurposed to provide seating for an outdoor classroom for school groups and visitors.” One can see this concept everywhere.
The Art Gallery of Western Australia is a short walk from the Western Australian Museum.
“The Art Gallery of Western Australia, founded in 1895, occupies a precinct of three heritage buildings on the south-eastern corner of the Perth Cultural Centre. The Gallery houses the State Art Collection, which includes one of the world’s finest collections of Indigenous art, the pre-eminent collection of Western Australian art and design, as well as Australian and International art and design.” – Source
The painting in blue in the middle is entitled, Triptych Alice, based on Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, painted in 1957 by Charles Blackman, is one of my favorite pieces at that time. “Blackman was inspired to paint it after hearing that tale in the audio version that his wife – the blind writer Barbara Blackman – was listening to. In this painting, Blackman has playfully combined his wife’s challenges as a blind person with a floating Alice character as she deals with a topsy-turvy world of fun and frustrating obstacles.” This description I took off the gallery’s wall, because I am that kind of person who takes photos of descriptions.
My second favorite was another series but I couldn’t take a photo of it or the description because it was something that could only be appreciated in 3D.
This was however, my third favorite:
We didn’t get to see everything and a day at the Perth’s Cultural Centre is hardly enough. I wish I can come back some time in the future because I find Western Australian culture immensely interesting.
We had to rush to lunch and found ourselves in one of the hippest places, as usual – Toastface Grillah. It is a hip, laneway cafe with exposed brick, specialising in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and coffee, located at Wellington and Barrack Streets, at the Perth CBD.
Shortly thereafter, I was back at the Perth airport bound for Melbourne. It was a wonderful few hours of stay and I only have my friends to thank for. Actually, if Jo-Harri was not there, I would have never thought about dropping by. Perth may not be as famous as other Australian cities but it sure does have its own sights and culture. It is also worth visiting, even if it takes hours and several timezones to cross the Australian continent.