Perth Western Australia (WA)
On the map of Australia, Perth is a very long way from Sydney. By air it is about 3,300km and takes almost 5 hours! We set off on Boxing Day evening – three hours ahead of Perth time – arriving (Perth time) only 2 hours after we had taken off.
Perth is a lot smaller than Sydney and Melbourne so much easier to get a feel for the city centre. It has the usual mix of old and new architecture. Well, “old” as in ‘original buildings’. None are really very old of course.
For me large cities are more or less the same but I did quite like Perth.
Pouring Gold at the Perth Mint
Between 1899 and 1931, more than 106 million gold sovereigns and nearly 735,000 half sovereigns were minted in this place, for use throughout the British Empire. But the making of gold sovereigns stopped when Britain abandoned the gold standard in 1931. The refinery remained busy as staff turned their skills to making fine gold bullion bars. A new facility was built in 1990 with the old mint becoming a tourist attraction.
Gold played an important role in the development of Western Australia and still does. Although the gold rush died off a long time ago there must still be plenty of nuggets on or near the surface out there in the wilds of the outback and deserts. The last (very) large nugget was found as recently as 1995 and weighs over 25kg (see photo). It is the second largest nugget in existence. These days however most gold is hidden within the ore and rocks and is extracted by the hundreds of tonnes, then processed to extract the tiny gold fragments.
The highlight of the tour was the gold pour. Most of it is captured on a video as we had front row seats. So sit back and enjoy the following video/photo montage… And see how quickly you can identify the backing song…
Fun Fact: Gold is such a good conductor that it only takes about 90 seconds for the molten metal to solidify.
Pouring molten gold to form a Gold Bar
Here are some more photos of Perth…
While staying in Perth we made a couple of trips to Fremantle and also north up the coast. More on those trips later…