Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Perth -- City of lovely Trees and Green Parks

When we came to Canada it was for two years, because there would be a job opening up for the OS in his field at the University of Western Australia in Perth at the end of that time. Somehow we just stayed on in Vancouver and it was almost 50 years later that we went to Perth, on our recent trip to Australia.

Now I always joke about Vancouver being at the end of the earth but in a way Perth is even more remote. As you stand on the beach, looking west at the Indian Ocean there is nothing between you and South Africa, 5415 miles (88715 km) away. If you look to the East, the nearest significant city is Adelaide, 1329 miles (2139 km) distant.

Perth is a beautiful city built on the banks of the Swan River and stretching to the Indian Ocean. It is a city of green parks. Yes despite the lack of rain, the parks and sports fields are unbelievably green, kept so by underground bore water. In fact there's about 150 cubic kilometres of water under Perth and 40 per cent of its water come from underground.

It is a city of the most beautiful trees as you can see above, in its 1000 acre Kings Park, where this beautiful avenue of Lemon scented gums make a splendid canopy for the main roadway. Situated on Mount Eliza the park is a beautiful mix of natural bushland, cultivated gardens and lawns and a botanical garden, all cultivated to endeavour to ensure the conservation of native biological diversity and cultural heritage icons, while providing for the diverse range of visitor interests.

Many of the trees in the park are dedicated to a soldier who died in the First or Second World War and there are over 1100 plaques at the bases of the various trees. In fact the park is filled with many memorials including an eternal flame of remembrance. One of the most moving is the Bali Memorial, dedicated to the 16 Western Australians who died in the Bali Bombing on October 12, 2002. The memorial is beautifully place looking out over the Swan River to the Darling Range but in addition it is carefully placed so that a ray of sun enters the memorial at sunrise on October 12th each year.

A view of the plaque with the names of those who died in Bali. My photo does not do it justice but there is an excellent one here which gives you a better idea of the configuration.

Adjacent to this memorial is this stand of 16 native Australian grass trees which are extremely slow growing, growing about 1 metre every 100 years so these are about two hundred years and they can be transplanted with care. When I was a kid these trees were commonly called black boys but this in no longer acceptable.

Another slow-growing interesting tree is the Australian Boab tree, native to the Kimberley region of Western Australia. They are deciduous in the dry season, only leafing out when the wet season approaches. How do they know? They are already covered with leaves when the first rains arrive.

Fruit/nuts of the Australian boab tree.

View from Kings Park towards downtown Perth, with the river
widening into a very large bay area

The fountain at the Pioneer Women's Memorial with its ever changing
display of jets of water

I think most people know that the black swan is unique to Australia but I have always associated it with Perth for some reason, although it is certainly found in other parts. They are to be treated with respect as they can do quite a bit of damage if they attack. However these were more interested in food as they hustled out of the Swan River to see if we would oblige.

I think I could have settled quite happily in Perth, despite its isolation, if we had actually ever moved there, for as you can see it is a very beautiful city.


Moggs Tigerpaw said...

JMB, It looks beautiful and lovely pics.

I like the thought of the trees as memorials, permanent enough as even stone isn't forever, and somehow right.

Your grass trees almost made me blush (lowers the tone) ^_^. I know just what the one in front reminds me of *giggles*

Janice Thomson said...

What a great post with fantastic photos JMB! I have seen those gum trees before and wondered what they were called. The boab is such a fascinating tree with its huge trunk.
Nature is so marvelous in her incredible varieties of plants.

Carver said...

JMB, What a great job you did showing us beautiful Perth through your camera lens. I enjoyed this so much, both your words and photographs. Take care, Carver

Liz said...

Perth does look like a beautiful city.

I am so impressed that something can be built so accurately as to let a ray of sunshine in once a year1

Vic Grace said...

I visited Perth in 1977 and don't remember too much now but I do remember the black swans as that was the first time I had ever seen one.

Nunyaa said...

I have never heard a bad word said about the beauty of Perth. Amazing photos JMB, I myself would hope to visit there oneday. Hope you enjoyed your holiday and traveled safely :)

CherryPie said...

It looks beautiful, I really need a holiday now :-)

jams o donnell said...

It certainly looks like a beautiful city jmb

jmb said...

It is a lovely park Moggs and you can see wonderful views of the city and the river from its heights. No kidding, I did not notice before.

Australia has some remarkable fauna and flora Janice, although the boab is related to the one in Africa.

Thanks Carver, it is a lovely city and I enjoyed the visit.

Indeed Liz, a wonderful idea but one does not often get to see it. I suppose they have a service there every year.

Vic Grace, I certainly believed as a child that black swans were native to Western Australia, although they are found elsewhere in Oz. They used to have some in Stanley Park at one time too.

Perth is a very lovely city Nunyaa but you have to be able to take the heat. But then you live in Queensland so that should be no problem for you.

It is Cherie and I hope you get a holiday soon.

It is Jams, I loved it.

Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting.

Ellee Seymour said...

I hope to visit Australia one day. There are so many places I would love to visit. I'm glad it was so special for you.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Beautiful pics as always. How touching that some of the trees are dedicated to soldiers. I had no idea that the nearest big city was so far from Perth!

kizzie said...

I didn't know about any city/town in Australia until a few years ago, I was reading this online forum and a girl said she is from Perth,Australia. After that, Perth became one of my very healthy obsessions. It's soo beautiful!