Thursday, 19 May 2016

24 hours in Perth

To be strictly accurate, we are in Perth for around 38 hours but when you take into account arriving and departing, only one day really counts as being here.

Remembering jet lag, we have decided to restrict ourselves to a tour of Perth on the hop-on-hop-off bus, a visit to the National Art Gallery of Western Australia in search of some Australian paintings and a little bit of shopping for some essential items which we may not be able to get tomorrow when we stock up the van.

Hop on Hop Off Bus

The bus runs every hour during daylight and takes just under two hours to complete a circuit.

Hop On Hop Off Route

Although we do not intend to hop on and off, its advantage to us is that we get to see the most important sights in town with a commentary.

Just opposite the bus stop where we are waiting for the bus is an interesting looking building.

St George s Hall Facade

This is the entrance portico of the old St George’s Theatre which was built in 1879 and modelled on the Lyceum Theatre in London (I thought I recognised it when I saw it). When it was demolished to build the Law Courts (the building behind) they kept the facade. There is an audio account of the building here (with some terrible audio effects at the beginning).

Australia seems to be able to do all of :

  • preserve a large number of heritage buildings;
  • incorporate parts of old heritage buildings into new; and
  • completely destroy the image of an area by mixing new with old

An example of old immediately next to unsympathetic new would be

Old and New

this where an old department store on Hay Street is just the other side of the road from a modern slab.

An example of a preserved old building (albeit with a new usage) would be the Salvation Army Building on Pier Street

Salvation Army Building 001

which has a wonderful tower

Salvation Army Building

and another example of a preserved is the Railway Hotel facade

Hotel Facade Barrack Street

in Barrack Street

Railway Hotel Facade

which has been incorporated so nicely that they have left the impression of windows and glass.

There is a very good website here which has far better photographs of heritage buildings along Hay Street than I can take from a moving bus. It is encouraging and interesting (at least to me) that there are large numbers of well preserved old buildings. I know I always go on about this but I have learnt to appreciate good design in buildings (Bond Bryan in Sheffield take note) and to spot where there is a total lack of design. 

Being the start of autumn, the bus is almost empty so we get seats at the front. Along the way we pass 


The Cloisters on St George’s Terrace - built by convict labour in 1858 as the "Perth Church of England Collegiate School”. Its style is said to derive from Hampton Court Palace

Government House

as could this building on the same street which is Government House.

Grosvenor Hotel Hill Street

A lovely old colonial style building with a veranda - the Grosvenor Hotel on Hill Street which is surrounded by new buildings. 


The WACA (Western Australia Cricket Association Ground) from where I have heard commentary of many an English defeat (and the occasional victory).

Perth Skyline

Taking pictures from the top of a moving bus is difficult, hence this badly framed picture of the Perth Skyline.


This might look like a large lawn with a carpark next to it but many years ago Western Australian Airways, who were the first airline in Australia, used where the carpark is now as a runway.

West Australia Rowing Club

Nearby on the waterfront is this impressive timber building constructed in 1905 for the Western Australia Rowing Club  - its history is narrated here.

Central Post Office

Although this building is The Central Post Office, it now occupies a small section of the ground floor.

Water Jets

Of more interest to me was the pavement fountain outside of it which

Pat Stays Dry

encouraged you to stand on a square and get yourself surrounded by water jets whilst remaining dry.

Ever since we started going to Australia, we have been unsuccessfully looking for examples of Australian Art. By this we do not mean Art which Australia has acquired, we mean Art produced in Australia by Australians. So in another attempt to achieve this, we went to the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

Art Gallery of WA

And we were successful at last !

There were examples of Aboriginal Art in the two galleries we visited including

Mawalan Marika

The Wawilag Sisters and Yulungurr the rainbow serpent 1959 by Mawalan Marika.

Mawalan Marika FS

 Funeral ceremony by Mawalan Marika 1959

Paddy Jaminji

Kimberley landscape by Paddy Jaminki 1987

Sally Morgan

 Greetings from Rottnest by Sally Morgan 1988

Unknown Artist

Orion and the Pleiades - The myth of the three fishermen Burum-burum-runja by an Unknown Artist 1948 

Rover Thomas 001

Google the owl with four young by Rover Thomas 1981 

Gordon Bennett

Gordon Bennett 001

The Persistence of Language by Gordon Bennett 1987. We found this quite striking in that it considers race, identify and colonial rule. The words shown on the right are those used by some white Australians when referring to Aboriginal Australians. 

Ginger Riley

Ceremony time in Limmen Bight Country during the west season 1996 by Ginger Riley Munduwalawala

and also examples of European Art produced by Australian Artists 

John de Andrea

Allegory: After Courbet by John de Andrea. This sculpture is case from live models and therefore looks very realistic but is cast in shades of grey and looks similar to a black and white photograph. We found this exhibit, quite captivating. 

George Pitt Morrison

The foundation of Perth 1929 by George Pitt Morison showing a re-enactment of the naming of the capital of Western Australia in August 1829. 

Down on his luck McCubbin

This is a famous painting called “Down on his Luck” by Frederick McCubbin showing a rather morose drover trying to find work but failing 

Arthur Boyd

Near the Grampians by Arthur Boyd 1948 

Henry Moore

and we were amused that inside they also had a 1956 Henry Moore "Reclining Figure" which would have had its origins very close to where we live in the UK.

Statue outside ArtGallery of WA

Around Perth are lots of Statues and this one was outside of the Gallery. It was very pleasing to finally be able to find a museum which had Australian Art in it rather than art which Australia had acquired.

Around Perth we kept seeing posters like these:

I am an Aussie 001 

I am an Aussie

They are part of a campaign called "What is a Real Aussie”. National Identity seems to always be an issue in Australia  and there are details about the campaign here. We thought it was an interesting way of tackling issues related to racism.

Overall, we both agree that we could easily have spent more time here but Perth’s role was always planned to be only the gateway to the rest of our trip and therefore it did not get the time it could have usefully used. More time here would have meant less time elsewhere.

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