Kalgoorlie – Full Time Gold Town

Old crucibles from a nickel processing site. Gold is by no means the only valuable commodity in these parts

Kalgoorlie/Boulder – Two Towns 

Most people know about Kalgoorlie – generally called Kal by the locals. But actually this isolated built up area is made up of two towns, Kalgoorlie and Boulder. Prior to 1989, Boulder was a town in its own right, but it was merged with Kalgoorlie to form the City of Kalgoorlie–Boulder in the 1980s.

In the winter of 1893, three prospectors, Patrick (Paddy) Hannan, Tom Flanagan and Dan Shea were travelling through the area, when one of their horses lost a shoe. During the forced stop  the men noticed signs of gold in the area around the foot of what is now the Mount Charlotte gold mine. Naturally they decided to stay and investigate. On 17 June 1893, Hannan filed a Claim, triggering a gold rush to the area. Kalgoorlie – originally called Hannan’s Find – was born.

The centre of Kalgoorlie has the feel of a party town – which it definitely becomes at weekends due to the number of transient mine workers etc… Boulder on the other hand, has more of a small town feel.

The concentrated area of large gold mines surrounding Paddy Hannan’s original find is often referred to as the Golden Mile, and has been referred to as the world’s richest square mile of earth.

Paddy Hannan statue

Classic Kalgoorlie pubs on Hannan Street

Boulder town centre is basically Burt Street where there are some nice old buildings and more than a few bars and cafés. At the northeastern end of Burt street lies the key to the ‘Golden Mile’; The “Super Pit” (see below).

Boulder town hall

Hotel (pub) in Boulder


Of course none of this would exist if it wasn’t for a certain precious metal. Gold!

There are quite a few other active gold mines in the area but this is what it’s all about. The aptly named “Super Pit” on the edge of Boulder town centre was the biggest open cut gold mine in the country until a few years ago. The Super Pit is approximately 3.5 kilometres long, 1.5 kilometres wide and over 600 metres deep – and it is still growing. Work never stops here.

At 600m deep you can barely see the bottom from the lookout

He may be small but that digger bucket is big!
Huge trucks make the long climb up from the bottom of the pit.

Officially called the ‘Fimiston Open Pit’ but colloquially known as the Super Pit, it employs around 1,100 employees and contractors. Originally consisting of a large number of underground mines, there were attempts to make one huge open pit in the early 1980s when businessman Alan Bond headed up a scheme.

Now there’s a character and a blast from the past! I remember stories about Alan Bond being on the UK news regularly during the early 1980s – for both business deals and corruption in equal measure. Bond never managed to achieve his golden dream but it soon happened anyway. (Proving he was right, I guess.) The Super Pit was eventually created in 1989 by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines, a 50:50 corporate joint venture between Homestake Gold of Australia and Gold Mines of Kalgoorlie.

The scale of the ‘Super Pit’ can be seen from above when viewed alongside the town

Museum of the Goldfields

Because of the dates of our visit a lot of businesses were closed, including tourist attractions.   It was New Year’s Eve and we had been visiting a few places outside of the town. By the time we arrived back in Kal the museum of the goldfields was just about to close. Luckily they let us in. It’s free to enter and the staff are really friendly and helpful.

Old mining winding gear at the Museum of the Goldfields
Views of Kal from up the winding gear tower

Entering The Vault…
There is plenty of gold inside The Vault

 During the 1890s, this whole Goldfields area boomed, with an area population exceeding 200,000, composed mainly of prospectors. Kal’s population is now about 30,000. The area gained a reputation for being a “wild west”, notorious for its bandits and prostitutes.

There is still a working brothel in the area and, strange as it may sound, they offer guided tours! It was mid afternoon of New Year’s Eve but the main door was open, leading into a kind of foyer/reception area. We rang the bell but it was either closed or they just weren’t answering. The tour is adults only (no surprises there) so Dani would have had to sit that one out. Here we are entering the premises. Only checking… Honestly!

Just checking if the guided tour was on…

Old Boulder Cemetery

The first cemetery for Boulder was located a fair distance south of town and is now known as Old Boulder Cemetery. It only operated between 1899 and 1904 but almost 800 burials took place.

The overgrown but fascinating Old Boulder Cemetery

I know it’s a little morbid but these places and their history fascinate me. Initially this place was made for 48 blocks with a total capacity for over 10,700 graves. In the end only 11 blocks were ever used. The cost of digging in the ironstone plus poor road access meant that this cemetery closed and a new one closer to Boulder was opened.  As we have seen before in other old cemeteries in Australia people were buried in blocks assigned to their religious denomination. Sectarian segregation of the dead! Personally I think it’s crazy but, as I have argued before, maybe this is common everywhere…

Very few graves had any kind of headstone (and even fewer remaining in a good state). Only 62 graves (about 8%) ever had any monumental work. Very few families in early Boulder could afford headstones so numbered metal pegs marked their burial spot. You may spot a few on the photos…

The site is protected and as you can see some of the signage is relatively new but the place is very overgrown. It makes these places all the more interesting (for me).

There was even a separate block for Roman Catholic Children. And yes, there were a noticeable amount of small infant graves. Sadly, infant mortality would have been high when this cemetery was in use.

And there were several infant graves

The Gold Trail to Kalgoorlie

It was the day before New Year’s Eve when we left Perth heading east for the world famous gold mining town of Kalgoorlie.

Perth to Kalgoorlie

You can do this route by train. The train is called “The Prospector” and there is a regular daily service that takes 7 hours. If I was ever in Perth again I would like to take that train for a short break in Kalgoorlie.

This time however, we drove. Along the Great Eastern Highway, aka route 94. For the most part the road follows the same route as the railway (no surprises there). Another thing that you see along most of the route is the water pipeline. The real lifeline in fact for Kalgoorlie. It is called the Golden Pipeline and runs about 560km from Mundaring dam (near Perth) to Kalgoorlie in the dry outback. The pipeline was completed in 1903 and is part of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme. As valuable as gold is, you cannot drink it and it will not keep you alive in a desert. Without this pipeline large scale gold mining in and around Kalgoorlie would not have been possible.

The Golden Pipeline. Not made of gold but carrying something far more precious if you are stuck in the dry desert interior of WA.
Dani at the Golden Pipeline supplying water to Kalgoorlie


As you arrive into Meckering heading east you can’t fail to spot The Big Camera. I thought this place deserved a post all of its own so another separate post will follow. (Keep an eye out for that one.) But here is a photo just to whet the appetite…

The Big Camera at Meckering

Meckering is famous for something else. It was the epicentre of one of the biggest earthquakes in Australia’s history. There are some souvenirs in a park on the edge of town. Starting with a fun read from the board shown below…

Part of the pipeline damaged in the quake
Old railway lines bent by the force of the earthquake

Cunderdin and Merriden

There are several small towns along this road. This area is known as the Wheat Belt and the small towns exist and survive mainly off the agriculture. Cunderdin is 160km from Perth. Merriden lies a further 108km to the east. Here are some buildings of interest in Cunderdin…

Merredin is a fairly large town for these remote parts. It seems very pleasant and well to do. Clearly the farming in this area is bringing a lot to the local economy. The town retains most of the original old buildings – which is always nice to see.

Old Merredin Court House


Cummins Theatre in Merredin

Merredin Post Office

The modern movie cinema at Merredin

If you are planning a stopover on this Perth to Kalgoorlie run you could do a lot worse than this place. Merredin is also on the Western Australia ‘Public Silo Art Trail’…

Merredin is on the WA Silo Art Trail
Although this is not the best example we have seen (by some way!) Still…

Tammin and Kellerberrin

In between Cunderin and Merredin are the small towns of Tammin and Kellerberrin. I couldn’t resist taking pictures of their Post Offices. These historic buildings would have been among the first to be built in any town as they were the only means of communication to the the rest of the world before the railways were built. Wherever you visit in Australia, if they have not been replaced with modern post offices then the originals are always photogenic (in my opinion anyway).

Tammin Post Office
Kellerberrin Post Office

Southern Cross

The welcome sign states that Southern Cross is a five star town. Good one. It is located about 370km east of Perth and is a real crossroads town. It lies at the extreme east of the wheatbelt and the start of the mining region. Both industries have impacted this town.

The five stars of the Southern Cross as they appear on the flag
Celebrating the farming and mining heritage of this town at the Wimmera Hill Lookout
View from the Wimmera Hill Lookout
A handy watering hole for a quick refreshing beverage…

The Palace Hotel, Southern Cross
The Club Hotel, Southern Cross
Southern Cross Post Office

Southern Cross is a nice enough town but we only stopped a short time for some light refreshment – in a pub. Then we moved on to the next stop…


Coolgardie lies 558 kilometres (347 miles) east of Perth and has a population of approximately 850 people. Although Coolgardie was once the centre of the gold mining industry in WA with a much larger population.

It is now known more as a tourist town and a mining ghost-town and used to be the third largest town in Western Australia (after Perth and Fremantle). Throughout the 1890s the mining of alluvial gold was a major industry and the town prospered. So much so that in 1895 the railway was extended from Southern Cross and opened in 1896.

But by the early 1900s the gold was running out and by the First World War the town was fast becoming a ghost-town. The line was further extended to Kalgoorlie in 1896 and eventually re-routed in the early 1970s leading to the closure of Coolgardie station.

Coolgardie Railway Station closed in 1971

During its height there were 700 mining companies based in Coolgardie that were registered with the London Stock Exchange, and business was good. This is very evident in the grand buildings that were built, many of which can still be seen. Thanks to these buildings the town has seen a bit of a revival in recent years due to tourism. Here are some views of the town…

Coolgardie Post Office

Ben Prior Park open air museum
Ben Prior Park

The Denver City Hotel, Coolgardie

Over the road from Ben Prior Park

Lindsay Pit – abandoned gold mine – just outside town
Home built for the first Mining Warden John Finnerty

There is also a small pioneer cemetery in Coolgardie.

The well fenced off Coolgardie Pioneer Cemetery

From Coolgardie it’s only a 38km drive to the town that took over as the gold mining centre; Kalgoorlie. And that’s where we spent the next few days and saw in the new year…

More to come about Kalgoorlie and the rest of our WA trip in future posts…

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Film Review – Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre

A Year Late Hitting the Big Screens…

A year later than I intended watching this Guy Ritchie movie but here goes… The film stars Ritchie’s favourite action man Jason Statham as Orson Fortune, a kind of super-spy/secret agent working for the British secret service.

The film title is made up using the main character’s surname and “Ruse de Guerre” which is french for ‘ruse of war’. Think of it as a classic tale of deception like using the Trojan horse as a gift to gain the upper hand and ultimate victory.

Josh Hartnett plays Hollywood actor Danny Francesco who is ludicrously thrown into the action because the arms dealer’s favourite actor. Harnett’s character is the stereotypical molly-coddled actor and is clearly meant to add to the comedy element. However it just doesn’t work very well.

While we are on the subject: What the hell happened to Harnett’s career? He first came to most people’s attention (mine anyway) as the edgy, rebellious college student in The Faculty in 1998 and I for one thought his career would really take off. It almost did in 2001 when he starred in the fairly good Black Hawk Down then the epic (but not so good) Pearl Harbour. He then did little of note until 2006 when he starred in The Black Dahlia – a decent movie – and the very good Lucky Number Slevin. He then made nothing of note until recently when Ritchie gave him a role in Wrath of Man in 2021. It’s hard to see where he goes from this one… Anyway. Back to the movie…

Well, well, well… 

This film was supposed to have been released a year ago. I remember seeing the trailer in the cinema while watching another movie that I reviewed here and thinking ‘I may go and see that’… Then the makers/distributors (whoever) decided not to release it because the baddies in the film are Ukrainians. – Pause while you stop laughing…..

Right. Now you have stopped laughing I can confirm that it is true. Ukrainian baddies do exist. What a shocker eh?

As pathetic as that may sound it is true that they pulled the movie for a year because of the situation in Ukraine. I needed to see that the film makers hadn’t subtly (or not so subtly) somehow changed the nationality of the baddies to… well; Russians of course… They haven’t – which is good – but the film still lacks that certain something.

Spoiler alert (of sorts): It turns out that the real baddies are in fact Bio-Tech billionaires. Well, well, well. How bizarre! Who would have ever thought eh?


A Ukrainian mafia gang manage to steal a device known as “The Handle”. The item is deemed to be important and has been priced in billions of dollars. The British government hires Nathan Jasmine (played by Cary Elwes) to retrieve “The Handle” before billionaire arms dealer Greg Simmonds (played by Hugh Grant) can sell it to the highest bidder. Nathan hires super-spy Orson Fortune to lead a team made up of… well, a highly forgettable cast really. Sorry but that’s the truth.

Simmonds throws a lavish party on his luxury yacht. Fortune manages to get onto the party yacht pretending to be manager of film star Danny Francesco. It just so happens that Simmonds’ favourite actor is Danny Francesco. Fortune’s team basically blackmail the actor into playing himself so that he can get close to Simmonds. Fortune’s team play their part in the ruse so as to be in a position to snatch “The Handle” when Simmonds does the deal with the Ukrainians.

The problem is that there is a rival team of secret service type operatives competing for the prize of retrieving “The Handle”. This team is led by a bloke called Mike and he and Orson do not get on. The whole thing turns into a farcical game of cat and mouse with plenty of weapons and shooting.

Basically that’s it. Oh, and at some point of course Simmonds realises that Danny Francesco has been playing him for a fool. In fact it’s all the usual farcical stuff you would expect from a Guy Ritchie movie plot.


I actually struggle to give this film 2 stars (out of the usual 5). One star may be a little cruel but it was a close call, so 2** it is. I feel like I watched this film so that you don’t have to. Unless you really want to of course…

It was as unbelievable as a James Bond or Mission Impossible movie but with much more intentional humour. But sadly also a lower level of production quality. I definitely think Guy Ritchie should stick to the more street-based films and stories where the humour works a lot better and more effort is put on the storylines/twists and characters than on exotic locations. Compare this film to Ritchie’s previous offering (The Gentleman – see review for that one here) and I am sure you will agree…

Finally – for me at least – I think Hugh Grant has fallen back into the category of annoying. He was fine in The Gentlemen but totally unconvincing as a tough yet slightly comedic, gangster-like arms dealer. It really didn’t work. It seems that Grant’s role in The Gentlemen went to his head – and maybe Ritchie’s too. Let’s just say that Ritchie’s next movie could do without Hugh Grant, and leave it at that.

While we’re at it let’s hope there are no plans for an Operation Fortune 2 (and 3, 4 etc…) The characters and background are now established for a sequel (or three – ugh) and it certainly looked like that may be the intention at the end of the movie. If they do make more then they will seriously need to get some better writers involved. And let’s hope they stick to having only British and Russian baddies in future eh? Can’t be too careful…

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Rottnest Island

Rats Nest Island?

Just about everyone who visits the Perth area takes a trip over to Rottnest Island. Some stay there in the various types of accommodation on offer. Others go for a quick day trip. We were the latter category as we took a fast ferry from Fremantle to the island that was first documented and named by the Dutch sailor and explorer Willem de Vlamingh.

The Dutch were the first Europeans to document the Swan River and surrounding coast as far back as the 1690s. Including Rottnest Island. Willem de Vlamingh called the island ‘t Eylandt ‘t Rottenest – meaning Rats’ Nest Island –  after the quokka population he saw there. He clearly mistook them for being some kind of giant rat. And to this day the quokka is the main reason most people go to the island.

It’s easy to see how the first Europeans to see the quokka mistook them for large rats. Like many other animals unique to Australia these are certainly different if not plain odd.

From 1838 to 1931, Rottnest Island was used as a prison camp for over 3,600 Aboriginal people, keeping them separate from other prisoners housed at Fremantle prison. Today it is a holiday haven and tourist trap. The island has a permanent population of around 300 people but attracts around 780,000 visitors each year.

The island lies some 18km (11 miles) off the coast of Fremantle and there are plenty of boats ferrying visitors throughout the day. There are also hundreds of privately owned boats that make the journey and weigh anchor in the many beautiful bays around the island. It is clearly a popular destination.

It’s not all about the Quokka…

There are regular bus services covering all corners of the island, but many visitors prefer to hire (or use their own) bicycles. We hired bikes and headed off to one of the many great little bays for a spot of snorkelling.

Private boats lie off the beautiful coast all around the island
A hard afternoon of snorkelling…
One of the many awesome bays to swim, dive or snorkel
There is still a functioning narrow gauge railway on the island. Although we never used it.
The island even has one of those little cinemas.
Great eh?

The port area is the only place you could call “built up”. There are several shops, cafes and bars where people spend time waiting for their return ferry or keeping an eye on their own craft in the bay. When we were there it was packed with yachts and plenty of small motor boats.

Bathurst lighthouse near Pinky Beach


These little marsupials are like a cross between a rat and a kangaroo. Which makes them even more odd than the kangaroo itself. They only live in south western Australia, mainly on two islands (the other being Bald Island near Albany) and in a few forest locations between Albany and Perth.

The quokkas are not afraid of humans as Dani was pleased to discover

At first while we were cycling we only spotted a few. However, by the time we were waiting for our return ferry they were coming out all over the place. Take it from me: You are definitely guaranteed to see them if you visit Rottnest Island.

As the sun descends quokkas appear all over the island
In the beer garden waiting for the return ferry
Thompson Bay near the ferry terminal jetty was packed with boats
The bike hire place does well. Here it is after most had returned the bikes
Pick a helmet your size…

If like us, you visit Rottnest Island for the day, I can safely say that you will be thinking: ‘This is definitely a place I want to return to and spend a few nights on the island.’

Fremantle Prison

On our first trip to Fremantle we did the obvious thing and visited the imposing Fremantle prison.

Main Entrance to Fremantle Prison

Early History

While the Swan River colony was established originally as a “free” colony, there were always plans to expand it. And what better way than by using prisoners as free labour. By the 1840s demand for cheap labour became too much and the colony agreed to accept convicts from Britain. Just like the eastern states, Western Australia was built (initially at least) off the sweat of convicts.

Oddly, Fremantle prison is not automatically called a ‘gaol’ as most of the others we have visited in Australia. It was built by the convicts who would serve their time there. They would then be expected to stay and farm locally on their release. Over time the colony would expand and thrive.

The first convicts arrived from Britain in 1850 to support the colony’s dwindling population, and it soon became apparent that the temporary prison (the Round House) was inadequate. So the convicts built the new gaol, which was opened in 1855 and continued to be used as Fremantle’s prison until as recently as 1991. It housed British convicts, local prisoners, military prisoners, enemy aliens and prisoners of war. In August 2010, Fremantle Prison was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. This gaol was used for convicts up to 1868, long after convict transportation had ceased in the eastern states.

Inside the Prison Block

Typical single occupancy cell
Four sharing one cell

Church of England Chapel
Prison Catholic Church. Paintings done by prisoners.
Artists were encouraged to practice their skills in their cell


The problem with constructing a prison in such a remote location meant that the cost of shipping in building materials was prohibitive. Local materials were needed and so it was constructed from local limestone. However, this rock is soft and it was easy to carve out. The prisoners knew this of course and hence there were many escape attempts.

That proved to be largely unimportant however as there really was nowhere for escapees to go. The unforgiving environment coupled with its remoteness meant that most escaped prisoners were soon knocking on the door to be let back into the prison. Then they would serve their time and become new citizens. There were some successful escapes but only by those who had some serious outside help which had to include a ship to get as far away as possible.

Exercise yard

Basic gym equipment. The prison only closed in 1991

Moondyne Joe

Joseph Bolitho Johns, better known as Moondyne Joe, was Western Australia’s best known bushranger. His story proves that real life is indeed stranger than fiction.

Joseph Johns – aka Moondyne Joe

Born in Cornwall and already a prisoner in the British system, Johns first arrived at Fremantle in 1853 as just another convict. After two years (of good behaviour) he received a conditional pardon in 1855. He then settled in the Avon Valley but was arrested for horse stealing in 1861. During his sentence he made several escapes.

In July 1865, Johns was sentenced to ten years for killing a steer. He soon absconded from a work party and was on the run for nearly a month, during which time Johns adopted the nickname Moondyne Joe.  When caught, Moondyne Joe was sentenced to twelve months in irons. In July 1866 he received a further six months in irons for trying to cut the lock out of his door, but later succeeded in escaping again.

As punishment for escaping ‘Joe’ received five years hard labour on top of his remaining sentence. Incredible measures were taken to ensure that he didn’t escape again. A special “escape-proof” cell was prepared for him. The soft stone cell was lined with the hard jarrah wood and over 1000 nails. In early 1867 Moondyne Joe was set to work breaking stone, but rather than let him to leave the prison, the acting governor ordered that the stone be brought in and dumped in a corner of the prison yard, where ‘Joe’ worked (supposedly) under  constant supervision. The Governor was so confident of the arrangements, he was heard to tell ‘Joe’: “If you get out again, I’ll forgive you”.

Moondyne Joe’s “escape proof” cell, clad in very hard Jarrah wood.

It turned out that the rock broken by Moondyne Joe was not removed regularly, and eventually a pile grew up until it obscured the guard’s view of him below the waist. Partially hidden behind the pile of rocks, he was able to take an occasional swing at the prison’s outer wall with his sledgehammer. Sure enough in March 1867 Moondyne Joe escaped through the hole he had made in the wall. A few days before the second anniversary of his escape, Moondyne Joe was recaptured, returned to prison, and sentenced to an additional four years in irons. Eventually, the new Governor heard of his predecessor’s promise, and decided that further punishment would be unfair. Moondyne Joe was released in May 1871.

In the early days prisoners were tied to this device for a whipping

Some prisoners clearly maintained a sense of humour
Office left as was when prison closed
Photo taken shortly before the prison closed. What a difference! Who says prisons have gone soft?
Admin. Office
Obligatory pose for Daniel when we visit these places…



I always thought that Fremantle was a suburb of Perth. Well, these days the whole area is one  continuously built up conurbation – referred to as the greater Perth metropolitan area. But it is separate and it is very different.

Fremantle is famous for its well preserved architecture. This includes convict-built structures and hundreds of gold rush-era buildings. Often built in limestone with ornate façades the streetscapes off a stunning variety of architectural styles. Fremantle stands as one of the best example of British colonial (Victorian and Edwardian) architecture

A Little History

Fremantle and Perth were both founded in 1829 but as Fremantle is located at the mouth of the Swan River it became the port and was developed first. It is named after Charles Fremantle the captain of the ship dispatched by the British to start a colony on the west coast before the French made a move on the territory. This was a recurring theme in the geography and colonisation of the “new world” in those days of course.

The Fremantle colony struggled for its first two decades. Then the British decided to turn it into a penal colony – just as the convict era was coming to an end in the other states of Australia. Convenient that eh? Ship in an army of convicts to use as labour to build up a city and port. The other most obvious result was the building of Fremantle prison (see future blog post).

Fremantle was actually declared a city, in its own right, one hundred years later in 1929. Definitely worth a visit and (in my opinion) easily better than Perth city centre.

Fremantle Railway Station

The Record Finder – A ‘Gold Mine’ of Vinyl

There are plenty of interesting shops in Fremantle but this one was my personal favourite. The Record Finder specialises in that old form of music reproduction – vinyl. There are plenty of other items on offer such as old magazines and comics. As well as posters and that newer forms of music – CDs. But – for me at least – that’s not even the best part…

Here they sell radiograms! Now, younger readers will not have a clue what a radiogram is, but I remember them well. My nana always used to have one. It is basically a record (vinyl) player, speakers and radio all built into the one unit. Usually (at least the ones I remember) with space to store your favourite vinyl albums/LPs. Check out the photos below. I love those things and really think they should make a comeback. Who knows? With so much vinyl records being pressed again radiograms may be the next big thing. And some of them are big!

You don’t even need to try hard to find it. It would actually be impossible to miss this place as it sits right on the High Street. At the heart of the architectural heritage. Every visitor will walk past it.

We visited Fremantle twice. Once right at the start of our WA adventure and then again for our last day before flying back east. On our 2nd visit I had a good old chat with the owner and was pleased to find out that the business is going well. Despite being closed down due to Covid restrictions for much of the past two years. What a great shop!  If you fancy a bit of (relatively recent) retro musical history then The Record Finder is the shop you really must visit.

Inside this record collectors paradise…

For more information on this record shop check out: facebook.com/therecordfinderfremantle 

More Views of Fremantle

The legendary, original singer of Aussie rock band AC/DC was born in Scotland and moved to Melbourne when he was six. But after four years he settled in Fremantle where there is now a statue in his honour.

Bon Scott statue
Esplanade Hotel. Not the original but rebuilt to look the part…
The famous Fremantle Market buildings

Fremantle station plus zoom on swans
The old Post Office (top right & bottom left) plus a classic pub building

Eight Years Old Today (This Blog)

Today is the eighth birthday for this blog. Wow! Where does the time go?

Eight years ago I made my (first) break from the workplace. Well it was a bit more really as I had to plan my escape.

So much has happened since then – as it does of course. But the biggest change in Dani’s life is the move to Australia. Last week Dani began his fourth school year in Australia.

Back when I started this blog he was in nursery in Madrid and dressing up as Clarke Kent (aka Superman). The best way to see how he has changed is to look at one of the more recent photos side by side with one of the first…


Hmm… Hardly changed at all really. To me anyway.

To see my first blog post – from way back in February 2016 – click here

Now I need to get back up to speed with the posts for our Western Australia trip. And push on to blog-birthday number nine.


Pinnacles Desert and Cervantes

Here we go, back to the WA road trip. Please remember to hit the like button, share with others who you think may like the post and (if you haven’t already) please subscribe to receive email notification of posts….

North of Perth to the Pinnacles Desert

The Pinnacles Desert is part of the Nambung National Park and lies just under 200km and about 2 hours drive north of Perth. The national park overlooks the Indian ocean and is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. For me it was as unique and fascinating as Mungo National Park (see here , here and here for posts on that site). It gives you a kind of otherworldly, surreal feeling.

Some were small…
…Some were bigger. But there are thousands of them

Thousands of limestone pillars that seem to have been pushed up through the yellow desert sand. The place has almost a spooky allure. A place where you could easily lose yourself in the landscape and tranquility. That is of course, apart from the hordes of tourists that now visit the site. And this is a sample of what people come to see:

Incredibly this place remained largely unknown until the 1960s even though it had been surveyed and documented back in 1935. The Pinnacles area was added to the national park in 1968 and has been protected ever since.

We even saw some emus roaming the park. Here are some more photos. Enjoy…

It’s a beautiful place. One of those places that would look very different yet equally stunning at various times of day – or year. Personally I thought the vivid colours on this hot summer’s day were perfect.


The seaside town of Cervantes took its name from the famous Spanish writer Miguel Cervantes – but not directly. In fact the town is named after an American whaling ship called Cervantes which ran aground about a mile offshore in the area in 1844. That ship was itself named after the Spanish writer.

Cervantes lived in the same era as Shakespeare and wrote many books; the most famous being Don Quixote of course. And there is a nod to this book (as well as the old whaling ship) as you enter the town….

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza with the ship ;Cervantes’

The welcome sign at Cervantes gives a clue as to the origin of the town’s name

However tenuous the link between the township of Cervantes and the Spanish literary master  there is plenty of evidence that the builders of the town knew where Señor Cervantes was from. Most of the streets are named after Spanish towns & cities.

Street signs in Cervantes, Western Australia

The small town is a holiday spot with beaches and caravan parks, but the main attraction seems to be a place called the Lobster Shack. A large restaurant attached directly to a factory processing the lobster catches provides the perfect combination. Fresh lobster meals by the thousand. It was packed! But it was worth the wait for a table and the lobster was terrific.

The entrance to the famous Lobster Shack is misleading…
Inside it is large with several eating areas
Outdoors as well as inside

The Shack is right on the beach

This part of the Western Australia coast is known as The Turquoise Coast. It is easy to see why…

One of Cervantes’ beautiful beaches