Western Australia: Fremantle, Swan Valley and Perth

(22/5/2018 – 30/5/2018)

After leaving the car at Toyota in Melville for a service, we travelled into Fremantle city by bus where we spent the day at the WA Shipwrecks Museum and the WA Maritime Museum.

The WA Shipwrecks Museum is recognised as the foremost maritime archaeology museum in the southern hemisphere.   What a fascinating morning we had here.   Steeped in history, the galleries house hundreds of relics from ships wrecked along WA’s coastline.

The Batavia (wrecked in 1629) Gallery was incredible.   There were many artefacts from other Dutch shipwrecks too.   The ship was built in Amsterdam in 1628 and set sail on her maiden voyage.     The ship didn’t make it’s destination as it was shipwrecked off the coast of WA killing 40 of its 341 passengers.   A mutiny occurred soon after, leading to a massacre among the survivors that remains Australia’s largest recorded mass murder.

The Batavia Gallery is the centrepiece of the Shipwrecks Museum.   The gallery houses the reconstructed remains of the Batavia, excavated by archaeologists in the 1970s.

After an extensive treatment and restoration process, the remains of the ship’s stern were rebuilt in this gallery.

The gallery also features a skeleton of one of the people murdered on the Abrolhos Islands.    There is an elevated viewing deck to look down upon the stern of the Batavia, and appreciate the size and scope of the wreck and gallery.    Amazing!!!

After lunch we wandered over to the WA Maritime Museum where they had an exhibition on called “Horrible Histories” – Pirates – The Exhibition.      Since we had run out of time to see everything that afternoon, we were allowed to come back the next day to the museum to see all the other exhibits.

WA Maritime Museum is symbolic of Fremantle’s past, present and future as a coastal city and port.

The Museum is home to the winning America’s Cup yacht, Australia II, an Oberon class submarine — HMAS Ovens, Jon Sanders’ Parry Endeavour and many other iconic vessels from WA’s maritime history.

We also visited the Round House which was Swan River Colony’s first civil gaol and WA’s oldest remaining building.     From up here there were beautiful views over the harbour and Bathers Beach.    A time ball was erected at the turn of the century, and a blast from a sea cannon at 1pm each day, enabled the mariners to adjust their chronometers.   To this day they still continue to do this where they fire a “blank” cannon and lower the time ball on the Gun Deck next to the Round House.  It is still fired to enable  mariners and tourists to calibrate their digital watches.     We were lucky to be there at that time to hear the Cannon being fired.

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Round House

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Round House

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The Ship of Stories Sculpture – Anzac (2014)

This sculpture depicts the animals that were taken to Egypt to provide moral and practical support for Australian troops.  The Anzac fleets carried enormous cargoes, including many animals who played a vital role in the First World War.   Horses are the most obvious war animals, as they were used for transporting troops and supplies. Sadly, of the 136,000 horses who accompanied Australian troops to the First World War only one returned home.  Donkeys and mules were also used for carrying heavy supplies on the battlefields.  It is so interesting to learn more about our history.

The Ship of Stories – Anzac (2014) is an acknowledgement of the role animals played in the Australian and New Zealand war effort.

We then finished off the afternoon with a ride on a huge ferris wheel.

Views of Fremantle from the gondola car

On Thursday we packed up and travelled to Swan Valley where we checked into Discovery Parks Caravan Park (Stay 6 pay 4 nights).    The weather changed for the worse with storms and rain setting in for a few days.  Swan Valley was about 30 minutes from Perth.

Swan Valley is another lovely area of boutique wineries,  fresh local  produce, breweries, distilleries, food and craft markets, cafes and restaurants.    Margaret River Chocolate has a factory in Swan Valley and is the largest  chocolate factory in WA, couldn’t resist going in to this one as well!!!!!   We also met up with some friends (who had moved to Perth from Brisbane) for lunch one day and then visited Windarra Honey.

One day we did the Great Valley Rally which was a fun car adventure exploring the Swan Valley.    It was like a treasure hunt starting and ending at the Swan Valley Tourist Info Centre.   We had a clue sheet to follow and it took us a few hours to complete.   It was a great way to explore the area and learn a bit about the history of Swan Valley.

 

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Saw this little cottage near a Church on our Swan Valley Rally Drive

On Tuesday the weather had cleared and we drove into Perth.   We visited the Perth Mint for a couple of hours and then we had lunch before driving up the coastline stopping up at Cottelsloe and Scarborough beaches.

We really enjoyed the tour of the Perth Mint.  We sat in and saw a traditional gold pour in their original 1899 melting house, during which pure gold is heated to molten temperatures and, as it cools, transforms into a gleaming solid gold bar – amazing to see.

The centrepiece of their remarkable Gold Exhibition is the Australian Kangaroo One Tonne Gold Coin and is the largest and most valuable coin in the world. Tipping the scales at a massive one tonne of 99.99% pure gold, this huge coin measures nearly 80cm wide and 13cm deep.   The coin was awarded a prestigious Guinness World Record in 2012 and is valued at more than $60 million.   It is showcased in all its golden glory on a revolving platform.

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Perth Mint

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Scarborough Beach

We packed up on Wednesday morning and headed further north towards the Turquoise Coast area which includes a number of regions such as Cervantes and Jurien Bay.

 

(22/5/2018 – 30/5/2018)

 

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