The Wild, Wombat’s Wonderings!


Part 6


4 December 1999 – Kevin would be my chauffeur for the day.  We headed off to nearby Dunsbourough [had a lovely meat pie from the Dunsborough Bakery] & Meekup Beach.  Next were Cape Naturaliste & its lighthouse.  We took a nice walk thru the brush.  It was going to be a warm day.  Yallingup Beach is not only pretty, but has some good surfing beaches.  The waves were really good, but there were a goodly number of folk out there in the water.  We then headed over to Yallingup/Ngilgi Cave.  This was about the best of the caves so far.  As it was hot, we stopped for some excellent ice cream on the way back.  An excellent day. 


5 December 1999 – Did some reading & worked on the diary.  In the afternoon Moira & I headed out for some local sightseeing.  The main focus was going thru the Wonnerup House.  It is a National Trust house built in 1859.  It was most fascinating.  Across the street is the old 1-room schoolhouse.  I was still having troubles with WorldNet.  As I had been in touch another WorldNet office sent me a survey on how I happy I was with their customer service & response.  I don’t think they liked the answers I sent back.  Moira gave me a quick rundown on the basics of Cricket.  I think I understood.


6 December 1999 - A busy stay at home day.  I actually worked on my diary, did my laundry, sorted out the mess in the car & washed it.


7 December 1999 – Happy Pearl Harbor Day!  And here I am driving a Toyota!  Up the road to Perth.  I stopped in Bunbury.  I watched some kids body surfing, peered out from Malston Tower & toured the Dolphin Centre.  Then up the South Western Highway to Perth.  I looked at Serpentine NP.  It would have to wait for another day.  Found my way to the home of Sally Beasley & Dave Lockett.  Their home is inhabited by Evan, Morgan - a loverly standard poodle & two cats.


8 December 1999 – Took the rail into the city centre to arrange for a couple of tours.  I stayed about to watch the crowds, some street theatre, exhibits on the mall & enjoy the bright & sunny day.


9 & 10 December 1999 – The heat is settling in.  I decided to putter about, work on my diary & read.  It was delightful to do not much of anything.  Hot, brilliant days have a tendency to do that to you.  The temps are in the 30’s.


11 December 1999 – Up early & headed down to the city centre to catch my van for a day trip to the Pinnicles in Nambung NP about 250 km north of Perth.  I had seen a picture of the limestone pillars & have wanted to wander thru them myself ever since.  They are a marvelous alien & strange looking formation.  I wasn’t disappointed.  On the way back we took a wild 4WD road to the sand dunes near Lancelin.  Even with a very strong wind the lot of us gave sand-boarding a go.  The sun was out & we got rained on briefly. :-)  I had great fun even if I lost a layer of skin to the sandblasting.


12 December 1999 – It was a hot, lazy summer day.  I worked on bringing the diary up to date & read.  It is great to visit the home of fans.  No shortage of books.


13 December 1999 – I spent the afternoon with Travis Lindsey.  He is working on his Ph.D. on Upfield.  We dropped by the spot where Upfield lived while in Perth.  Then we drove out to a local noted in one of Upfield’s books.  We had a delightful chat all the while on Upfield & other things while visiting the above & a few more sites related to Upfield.


14 December 1999 – Dave drove me to the bus depot much to early.  I was catching the 0615 bus to Coolgardie.  I dozed thru much of the 5+-hour ride, tho I did actually watch the movie the drive showed.  I did note how the land dried out, especially after Merredin.  By Southern Cross it was bone-dry desert & getting hot.  In Coolgardie, the home of the “coolgaardie safe,” I met the others on the tour & off we went to tour the town.  This is the birthplace of the Goldfields.  It is essentially a ghost town, but once boasted a population of 15,000.  Harry, our tour guide, really knew his history while taking us to sites: cemeteries, Warden Finnerty’s Residence, the historic Railway Station, a couple of museums & a camel farm.  It was a fascinating day.  We then carried on to Kalgoorlie & my hotel.  I took a stroll down to a steakhouse.  It was excellent.  As it was still early, I couldn’t resist taking a walk down Hay St.  This is a 1-block stretch containing 3 brothels.  The first, Langtree’s was the class act of the 3.  At all 3 the girls displaying their wares were much better looking than those I saw many years ago in Amsterdam.  I dropped by Langtree’s, there was a courtyard, for a look & a chat.  I told them I wasn’t buying which didn’t faze them at all.  I mainly chatted with Liz, the receptionist & Grace, a truly lovely working girl of 25.  I mentioned I do backrubs.  This resulted my doing Liz’s hands.  She loudly announced to the other girls I was giving her a hand job. :-)  I then did Grace’s back.  She seemed to have pulled a muscle or something in her back.  A work related injury.  I asked Liz for a card.  She gave me one & a $20 discount card should I wish to avail myself of their services.  I rather doubt it.  You get 20 minutes for $100 & an hour costs $230.  Hmm, spend 45 minutes in a brothel, spend nothing & come away with a $20 gift certificate.  That’s about right! :-)


15 December 1999 – We left early the next morning for the tour of Kalgoorlie & Boulder which have a combined pop. of about 30,000.  The day would be hot & sunny.  Harry pointed out the various bldgs. of note.  I really liked the bldgs.  We then went to the KCGM Superpit.  This is a humungous open cut mine.  It is an amazing hole in the ground.  There is still a large amount of gold in the area.  This was followed with a tour of Hannans North Tourist Mine.  It is a non-working goldmine.  We watched a simulated pouring of gold, went down the main shaft of the mine for a tour – our tour guide here spent over 30 years in the mines & tried our hand at panning for gold in a salted crick.  I managed to find a few specks of gold.  The daughter of the couple I had met in Mt. Isa [& her husband & son] joined me after dinner.  We had a nice chat.


16 December 1999 – I started the day with a stroll thru the town.  I then spent a few hours in the Museum of the Goldfields.  It was quite good.  I also purchased a “2-Up” set.  I intend to use it a cons to earn back some money to cover this trip. :-)  The ride back was uneventful.  The land went from desert back to the green of the coast.  The Goldfields are dependent on the water pipeline from the hills of Perth.  The pipeline is an amazing feat. 


17 December 1999 – Another lazy day.  The temps have been in the 30’s for some time.  Not conducive to moving too much.  Read, worked on diary, did laundry & picked up film.  Bugger!  The camera didn’t date stamp the photos as it was supposed to.  This will cause a minor problem.  We picked up Italian & went over to Sally’s mother’s for dinner.


18 December 1999 – Perth is into a hot spell, tho the weather for tomorrow isn’t promising.  The horrendous cyclone & its follow on didn’t come anywhere near here, but it will affect weather all over WA.  One of these days it hit 39, that’s about 103F back in the US of A.  Temps in the mid & upper 30’s have been the rule.  This is not conducive to doing much of anything.  I am staying with a house with 2 cricket mad persons.  This has resulted in my further education in the sport of watching grass grow.  However, I must admit that I am finding it interesting.  As with baseball & football, not to mention exciting golf, all the good plays & action are endlessly repeated.  Thus, one doesn’t really have to watch all the time.  Read, do something important & catch the highlights in the replays.  I must admit that the names of the positions show an inventiveness I wasn’t expecting from Poms.  The day, as I noted, was hot.  I stayed in to work on my diary & read.  That afternoon I went out with Sally to get goodies for the BBQ.  I managed to find a brick in the road & trashed my tire & bend the wheel.  This was not a good thing.  Bugger!


19 December 1999 – The day dawned cloudy.  Since I have been in Perth, I’ve nearly forgotten what they look like.  However, thanx to John & Ilsa we have them here.  It rained for most of the day.  Granted the rain was very welcome, but not on the day we picked for the BBQ.  A couple of us even went down to the park to try & catch the strays whom I couldn’t reach on the phone.  I in any case almost everyone was alerted & came over to Sally & Dave’s which was the original venue.  The rain notwithstanding we all had a fine time.  It was sort of a small room party with much better food.  Of course, by the time everyone left, the sun was out for a splendid sunset.


20 December 1999 – It was bright & sunny and warm today.  Grrr!  I dropped off the tire & wheel for repair.  The chap said the wheel could be saved, but he wouldn’t have a tire until this afternoon.  I then picked up Sally & took her to work.  From there I headed over to the Post Newspapers to meet Bret Christian.  He had helped me locate some Upfield info & was a fan of sorts.  We had a chat & his photog took a couple pictures of me.  I may grace the neighborhood papers.  From there I headed over to meet & chat with Terry Walker who wrote Murder on the Rabbit Proof Fence.  We had a lovely chat about Upfield, the locales of his novels, SF, mysteries & auto racing.  He raced in his younger days.  I picked up a copy of his book for Alicia Smith, a local SF & Upfield fan.  Then back to have the tire put on.


21 December 1999 – The ruined tire screwed up my plans to head east for a 4-5 day trip which was to begin yesterday.  I’ll cope.  I hope Sally & Dave will with me.  The heat was back so I worked on my diary, did email, read & went shopping with Sally.  While in the shopping centre, we ran into Stephen Dedman & his companion.  He is an up & coming SF writer.  He graced ALBACON IN 1998.   It is really bizarre to go Xmas shopping in 90F degree heat.  I feel like we are coming up on the 4th of July not the end of the year.  A quiet day.


22 December 1999 – It was another scorcher today, but I missed most of it.  I was up & out early to head over to the SciTech Centre & IMAX.  I mad use of my aged status to save a fair amount at the concession rate.  The SciTech Centre was a delight.  There was lots of stuff to play with.  I had a great time.  I also took in two IMAX films.  One of them “THRILL RIDE: The Science of Fun” was superb.  It was all about how roller coasters & other thrill rides do their thing on one.  It is worth trying to see.  Afterwards I headed over to the cinema for a preview showing of Muppets in Space.  The Swancon folk, they host the local SF con, had arranged for it.  It was a delightful movie.  Since I know next to nothing about the Muppets, I wasn’t jaded about their antics.  It is definitely worth seeing unless you don’t like the Muppets & silliness.


23 December 1999 – I did some email & then headed downtown to drop by the Battye Library.  I wanted to do some research on an Upfield novel.  I was also able to meet & say thanx to Steve Howell.  He tracked down some Upfield related material for me & smoothed the way for me to get The Beach of Atonement from the library thru Interlibrary Loan.  I spent a fascinating afternoon going thru the microfiche of one of Upfield’s novels.  I was also intrigued by the news & events of the day as recorded in the paper.  As the novel was run in serial at the end of 1932, there was a few words about the 1932 Presidential election.


24 December 1999 – Another very hot day.  Sally & Dave have too many intriguing novels about.  I’m being seduced to stay in from the heat by lots of words.  Read, did email, worked on the diary & lazed about.  Not very productive, I guess, but it sure felt nice.  I did go & pick up a bunch of photos from the trip.  The promised date stamp on the photos didn’t materialize.  I was not amused.


25 December 1999 – A slow hot day.  The families began to gather shortly before noon.  There were a total of 14 folk at the party.  This was a rather new & novel experience for me.  Xmas Crackers?  There was no shilling in the Xmas pudding.  Darn!  All in all we ate too much, but that was to be expected.


26 December 1999 – Boxing Day was a total write-off.  Everything was closed up tight being both Sunday & a holiday.  This was definitely a day to hide away.  It was hot, too.  I finally got my trip summary update off to Chuck for posting on the ALBACON web site.  The posting was now up to mid-November.  That evening we went over to Sally’s mother’s place for her housewarming. 


27 December 1999 – I finally bestirred myself regardless of the heat.  Yes, it was bloody hot again today.  I took a drive out to Mundering Weir.  This is where the water pipeline begins that supplies the Goldfields with their water.  I blessed CY O’Connor every time I took a shower in Kalgoorlie. :-)  He designed the Freemantle Harbour among other things.  He was asked to come up with a way to supply the Goldfields with water.  He developed the reservoir & pipeline system.  This was in 1897 or 8.  The pipeline went into action in 1903 10 months after he had been driven to suicide by the usual bunch of unbelievers & scum decrying his work.  Unfortunately the museum at the weir was closed.  On the way back I drove thru the hills of Perth.  It was quite pretty.  I drove down what is called the Zig-Zag Road for good reason.  A fun drive.


28 December 1999 – I took one look at the sun & heat & said, “Screw it.”  I spent the day doing not a hell of a lot of anything.


29 December 1999 – About ready to recycle underwear – did laundry.  Drove down to Freemantle & took the ferry across to “Rotto,” Rottenest Island.  Rotto is about 19 km off the coast.  It is a delightful spot for just about anything you might want to do on a hot & lazy summer day.  I walked along the beaches chatting with folk, grabbed some lunch & then took the tour of the Island.  Our first stop was to see Quokkas.  They really do look like big, fat rats.  However, they are in fact miniature kangaroos.  They are cute & love to have you give them water, which is in short supply on the island.  Then off to the watch tower & lighthouse.  We headed out to the far tip of the island for a short walk.  There are a number of wrecks scattered about the island.  Good for diving & snorkeling.  On the ferry back I had a nice chat with a couple from Bologna, Italy.  I got to use the 3 words of Italian I still remember.


30 December 1999 – This afternoon I braved the heat, which wasn’t so bad, and headed over to King’s Park to meet Travis Lindsey.  It was quite windy, & the air was dry.  The view of Perth & it harbour from the War Memorial was marvelous.  We stopped for some scones at a tony café in the park.  They were quite good.  We then walked over to a lookout tower.  I remarked that the double spiral staircase of the tower meant it held the DNA for Perth.  The view was excellent.  We could easily see Rotto from there.  As we exited, I noticed that the name of the Tower was the DNA Tower.  Duh!  It was an exceedingly pleasant afternoon.


31 December 1999 – Well, it was the last day of the year, century, and millennium.  [I know, but I claim that there WAS a Year Zero!  Prove me wrong! :-)  What to do today.  I drove out to Yanchep NP about 55 km north of Perth.  It is a lovely small park with a umber of hiking trails.  I began with a short walk thru Boomerang Gorge.  I then walked up to the radar bunkers from WWII.  The long Ghost House trail intersected this latter trail so I went back & picked it up.  It was a nice long trail thru the brush of about 10 km.  The sun & heat gave way to sort of hot & cloudy.  I actually felt a few drops of rain as I finished up the walk.  However, by the time I arrived back in Perth it was getting sunny & hot.  The clouds soon disappeared.  That evening we all went over to Ian & Susan’s home for New Year’s Eve.  While there was only the 5 of us, Ian & Susan fed us like there was about a dozen.  Good stuff!  It was reassuring when New Zealand stayed lit.  We watched as Sydney put on a very nice fireworks display.  Slowly the hands on the clock swept to midnight!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Etc!  At least for Oz & NZ the Y2K bug had run into pesticide.


1 January 2000 – Ghod!  Does that ever look unreal.  I remember as a kid thinking how far off the year 2000 was.  Would I actually get to see it?  Well, I didn’t spend the day on the beach.  It was too hot.  I got up about 1000.  Too warm to sleep in any later.  Another day in the upper 30’s.  Relaxed, read, worked on the diary, did some email & went out for a Chinese dinner with Sally, Dave, Evan & some friends.  The afternoon was spent in delightful conversation with friends. 


2 January 2000 – Another do nothing day.  However, that will soon end.  I head up the coast tomorrow morning for about a week or ten days.  Into the wild wastes of the western Australian coast.  Time to put a few km on the car.