Perth 19th & 20th August
It was an early start today so we could catch a bus, then a connecting train into Perth where we arrived underground in the city centre. On alighting from the train, we found we were at the start of the Murray street Mall. It was quite early and not much was open, so I enjoyed myself looking at the architecture along this street.
Murray Street Mall
The first interesting building was located on the corner of Murray & William streets and was named "Queens Buildings." This fine old building has been around since 1898. On the opposite corner was the Hotel Wentworth which was established in 1928 and still continues trading today.
Hotel Wentworth & Queens Building
The next building I came across, was the former Commonwealth Bank built in inter-war Beaux Arts style of architecture in 1933, then around the corner in Forrest Place was Perth's General Post Office, built between the years 1911 to 1923 in the same Beaux Arts style. Close by was $1 million tax-payer funded artwork, "Grow your own" or "The Green Cactus." I could think of better ways to use one million dollars!
General Post Office & The Green cactus
My walking continued along to the corner of Barrack and St. Georges Terrace, where Stirling Gardens were located. These not overly large gardens were established in the 1830s as an acclimatisation garden, then became Perth's first botanical garden in 1845, making them the oldest public gardens in Perth.
I loved these well established mature gardens which had many sculptures scattered throughout.
Walking through the gardens, I came upon the impressive Supreme court building and the Supreme court gardens. These gardens were formed following the reclamation of the Swan River in 1903.
Front and rear of Perth's Supreme Court Building.
Once again there was plenty of lawned area, but what was different here is that I could follow a winding path through an area planted with tropical plants, this was very nice. Here there were many mature trees that were really quite large!
A little further on was the Bell Tower, home of the Swan Bells. I had read a lot about the Bell Tower, so when I emerged from Supreme Court gardens and saw construction going on around it I was a little disappointed. The whole area was in upheaval!
What is the Bell Tower?
Located in the Tower are 12 bells from St Martin-in-the-Fields, one of London's most famous Churches located in Trafalgar square. The Royal Bells are from the 14th century and were rung for important historic events such as -
Quote from website
"England's victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588, The World War II victory at El Alamein in 1942, ringing in the New Year at Trafalgar Square for more than 275 years, celebrating the coronation of every British monarch since King George II in 1727, the homecoming of Captain James Cook after his voyage of discovery in 1771."
It was too early to go up the Bell Tower, but if you do go up the Tower, you get to see the Ringers making these historic bells ring.
There is an Observation Deck where you have 360 degree views and a 26 bell Carillon that plays several well known tunes & national anthems if you pop a gold coin in the slot. It is the first of its kind in the world.
The Bell Tower
From the Bell Tower, we walked the short distance to the Swan River where the Barrack street jetty is located. It was early morning and I rather like water scenes at this hour of the morning. As it turned out, the water wasn't calm like I had hoped. We found this area was the Ferry terminal and from where day cruises departed from, including to Rottnest Island. There were a few cruise companies to choose from, each with different styles of boat. Some were old and others (the James Stirling) looked much newer and very smart!
It was such a nice spot that we stopped at a small café with outdoor seats overlooking the River. We were the first customers of the day, (she was still setting up). Scones, jam and cream overlooking the Swan River was a great way to start the day.
On our walk back up Barrack Street, I noticed the Heritage listed Weld Club, an exclusive Gentlemens club in Perth that has been around since 1871. I was attracted to the lovely architecture of the building, then the history of the club.
It was named after the then Governor of Western Australia, Sir Frederick Weld. This was no normal club which anybody could join, you had to be male and have a high social standing!
The Club ensured that the men who came here would not suffer from home-sickness, so it was formed along the lines of those in London. It had leather chairs where members could sit and discuss the politics of the day, perhaps read a British newspaper to keep them informed of news from London, or they could play a game of billiards, Croquet, Bowls and Tennis or perhaps go for a sail on the Swan River.
Chinese servants who were Cooks, Waiters, yardmen, Butlers and more.
The Chinese were here until 1927 when they were replaced by.....wait for it......women staff!
In 1995, it opened its doors to women members.
On returning the same way I had come, I turned into St. Georges Terrace to look at the sculpture 'Kangaroos in the city,' a sculpture depicting a mob of Western Grey kangaroos. The bronze kangaroos were drinking, listening and bounding away from danger, just as they do naturally! There is a total of five kangaroos including a joey in mother's pouch. This would have to be my favourite sculpture in Perth
I was looking into the sun and couldn't get a good photo of the full sculpture
My next stop was the heritage listed St George's Cathedral designed by Edmund Thomas Blacket for Perth, unfortunately Blacket died in 1883 and did not see the Cathedral when completed in 1888.
The Cathedral is built in English Victorian Gothic Revival style out of handmade bricks that came from different brickyards along the Swan River. The Cathedral was completed, opened and consecrated in November 1888.
St. Georges Cathedral
Blacket’s tower and tall spire were not constructed until 1902 and the Queen Victoria memorial bells were installed on the second anniversary of her death in 1903. The Soldiers’ Memorial Chapel (1923) was built in memory of Anglican members of the AIF from WA who fought in WW I.
St. Georges Cathedral
There are many beautiful stained glass windows and memorials to Western Australian pioneers, numerous icons and the Villers-Bretonneux Cross, hewn by soldiers after the famous WWII battle in northern France
St. Georges Cathedral
After leaving St. Georges, I walked further along St. Georges Terrace and found the heritage listed Uniting Church - St. Andrews.
The Church was built in 1906 in Federation Gothic style for the Presbyterian congregation, a style often seen in Churches of this denomination. Since my visit, it is no longer a church but being turned into a hotel.
Still on St. George's Terrace, I stop to look through the fence at the magnificent, heritage listed Government House that was built mainly by convicts between 1859 to 1864. I'm afraid this is all you can do, as Government House is only open to the public on minimal occasions but the gardens are open to the public on certain days. I found by peeping through the fence I had good views of this two storey mansion built in either early Stuart or Jacobean Revival style making it quite unique! The building has 16 rooms on the ground floor and 25 on the first floor and is surrounded by large
Another building with interesting architecture we the Perth Town Hall at the corner Barrack & Hay Streets.
The Town Hall was built mainly by convict labour in 1870, making it one of the oldest buildings in Perth and one of the best known.
Perth has quite a few interesting sculptures. One I liked was 'The footprints in time' - five bronze sculptures of men dressed in different attire, made especially for the 175th anniversary of Western Australia. They represent the business people who have built the CBD.
The sculptures were placed in St. Martins Centre which happened to be the site of the first Businessman's club.
THE FIVE MEN ARE ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY IN A CURVED LINE...............
- 1 . Dutch exploration who from the 17th century explored the region, mapped and named the Swan River - 1697
- 2. Anglo-Celtic settlement of Swan River settlement, now Perth - 1829
- 3. Discovery of Gold which brought money and people to W.A. - 1885 - 95
- 4. Post Word War II European immigration. A large amount of people settled in W.A. - 1945 -55
- 5. The Business man, holding a mobile phone to his ear - 2004 onwards.
Another interesting sculpture was of Percy Button, a man I had never heard of!
The bronze statue is of Percy Button, dressed in a long tailed coat and hat and doing what he used to do, handstands!
Who was he?
Nobody real famous, but a street entertainer who put a smile on many faces. Percy Button was a Londoner, born in 1892 and raised by his grandmother on the Isle of Wight. It is believed he learnt his skills when working for a circus in England. When 22years old, he came to Perth and became a vagrant, at some stage performing to bystanders who responded by throwing coins into his hat. Sometimes the police arrested him for vagrancy, only so he could get a good feed and a warm bed for the night!
"Percy the Unwashed" as he was often known by, gave up the acrobatics and began playing the mouth organ. Sadly, a vicious attack by a thug in 1940 left him close to death, he never really recovered from a downhill spiral after this attack and passed away 3 years later. The statue was erected in his honour on the very location where he performed, probably still putting a smile on many faces!
Another church I visited was St Mary's Cathedral, officially the "Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary."
St. Mary's Cathedral
St. Mary's Cathedral
This beautiful Roman Catholic Cathedral, situated on the highest point of Victoria Square, is the seat of the Archbishop. The Cathedral was completed over many years, with the first phase completed in 1865, seventy years later and it was still incomplete!
St. Mary's Cathedral
This gothic style Cathedral is lovely inside, in-fact, I thought it the best of all the Churches I saw in Perth.
One experience I didn't expect to find in Perth, was an English style Arcade. Known as London Court, this two storey shopping arcade and office complex was built in 1937 for a wealthy gold miner and financier Claude de Bernales.
London Court is built in Tudor style architecture, has huge wrought iron gates at each entrance and half timbered walls which feature hand carvings, gargoyles, masks, shields, crests and wrought iron signs, weather cocks, lead lighting and more, just like in the "Old country." There isn't any cobblestones, but to get a similar effect, Terracotta tiles were laid in a crazy pattern on the floor. Even the rubbish bins are like the English ones!
I was at the Hay street entrance to London Court, taking a photo when I noticed an interesting clock! This wasn't any ordinary clock, but one whose face is a replica of the "great Clock" at Rouen in France. The clock chimes every 15mins, so stand there and wait to see the four knights above the clock, known as "Tournament of Armoured Knights", circle in the window when the clock chimes
At St Georges Terrace entrance end of London court is another clock, where in the window above is a miniature St George doing battle with the dragon. This clock is a replica of "Big Ben" in London.
My next point of interest was in the archway, for here I found copper coloured old style sailing ships on the ceiling and surrounds, quite interesting! Don't know who the ships are though!
Once inside the arcade, I stopped and turned around, as often the interior is different to the exterior. Lucky I did, because it was! On one end of the court stands the statue of Dick Whittington with his cat, and at the other end is a statue of Sir Walter Raleigh. Next, I found a dovecote on the side of one of the buildings and weather vanes scattered along the rooves.
What I did miss because I didn't know about it, was the stairways taking you to the second and third floors to where you can look down onto the court. This would be nice and give a different 'feel' to London Court.
London court has lots of souvenir shops that I poked my nose in and plenty of other interesting ones to keep everybody happy.
I really loved this beautiful arcade!
Tomorrow we will go to Kings Park and the Perth Mint