Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Two Day Trips

On Monday Maurice, Jim and I went for a trip into Perth.  I started the day with a trip to dentist to finish off fitting a crown, then met Jim and Maurice at the train station. 

We started with a trip across the river on a ferry.  This was the first ferry trip I've had since arriving in Perth.  We went for a lovely lunch in a riverside cafe, which I ate very carefully, having just been to the dentist.  The ferry cost me the same as a bus journey - so was only 85c to cross from Perth city side, to the south side, then because we returned in less than 2 hours, I was only charged 60c for the return journey! How's that for good value?

Jim and Maurice, with Perth city skyline,
and ferry to take us back to Swan Bells jetty in background

We followed a walking tour around Perth, the Boom and Bust Trail, which involved looking at various styles of architecture, mostly Victorian, built in boom years.  We ended up at the Supreme Court where the usher invited us to have a look at the main criminal courtroom.  This is a listed building with lovely wood panelling and a freestanding British Coat of Arms over the judge's seat.  Because it is a listed building they are not allowed to remove the British coat of arms in order to replace it with the Australian insignia.  I was able to sit in the chairs of the Judge, witness, and defendant to understand the different viewpoints that the various parties have.  The dock, where the accused sits, is very exposed.  I would not like to spend any time sitting there myself! 

The usher was a very interesting woman - she enjoyed listening to articulate debate from certain barristers and had the utmost respect for their reasoning and ability to articulate key points succinctly and clearly.  She said sometimes sex offenders cases were so disturbing that she had to mentally switch off, and sat in her seat, doing a puzzle, in order for it not to upset her.

Then yesterday, Maurice and I went on a day trip inland to Wave Rock.  This was a long day on a coach, but we both enjoyed it.  We stopped in York, which is a heritage town, very much in Victorian style. 
York Town Hall
York High Street

Original vitreous enamel sign

We went on to the town of Hyden, where there is a granite outcrop, significant to the indigeneous population. This has the western name of Wave Rock and Hippo's Yawn. Hippo's Yawn is a cave formed under a granite rock, which definitely looks like a hippo yawning. This is where aboriginal women would come to give birth, and compared to the arid surroundings, you could understand that it was shaded and safe, and therefore suitable for the purpose. The cave had been formed by water draining over the edge of the rock, and eating away at the underside until a large recess had been formed.
Hippo's yawn cave

Me, feeling the 38 degree heat, at Hippo's Yawn
Maurice, inspecting the ceiling

This shows the scale of the cave

Wave Rock is a bit further along this granite outcrop.  It is formed the same way, by water draining over the edge, eroding the underside.  We walked along the bottom of the formation, up the side and across the top.  In the 1950s a reservoir was built alongside the rock, to supply the local town with water.  Unfortunately the water was gathered by building an eyesore of a concrete wall along the top of the wave.  This drained the water to the side of the rock, rather than over the edge.  It was a truly hideous wall that would never be allowed today,by either the heritage lobby or indigeneous community, although I could see that if you were desperately short of water it was an effective solution in the 1950s.  Nowadays, I would think the water would be allowed to drain over the edge of the rock, but gathered at the bottom by some sort of underground drain, and pumped into the reservoir.

Maurice at the bottom of Wave Rock

Side view of wave rock
Note the hideous concrete wall at the top. 
A fine example of environmental vandalism.

Maurice was particularly taken with the geology of the rock and compared it in part to the Yorkshire grikes, and limestone pavements.  Some of the crevices, or gnammas, were natural, but the smaller ones were created by the indigeneous people using fire, to create natural water pools to gather rainwater.  Both Maurice and I thought it would make a marvellous place for geography field trips, where you could learn in detail about the geology and natural features of the area.

Vegetation grows in small gnammas created by the indigeneous population

Large vegetation in bigger gnammas. 
These have crevices that go down a very long way.

Vegetation in naturally forming gnammas. 
Bigger trees because the crevices in the rock go down a long way.

Specialised lichen growing on granite

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