Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australia Day Thoughts - Coming to Australia

Want to be at home among the Gum Trees? Read On...
Visiting, Working or Studying in Australia

Today is Australia Day and that seems as good a time as any to talk about coming to Australia - another thing which people have been asking about.

Visiting Australia
If you simply want to visit, the easiest way is to apply for the very cheap eVisa which is available to most people coming from European Countries. This site will tell you if you are eligible and also has the relevant forms. It’s very easy to apply over the internet and basically you just have to show that you are of good character and have enough money to be able to support yourself during your stay. Don’t try to come without going through this process, because Australia is very harsh on illegal immigrants and people who overstay their visas:



Working Holidays
Western Australia has an excellent website on this topic including places where you can apply for jobs:
Here is their checklist:
·  Apply to Department of Immigration and Citizenship
·  Apply to Australian Taxation Office for tax file number
·  Ensure you have spare money
·  Open a bank account
·  Bring suitable work clothes
·  Make sure you have sufficient insurance and health cover


Working Holiday Visa

Under Western Australia's working holiday maker program, visitors aged 18 to 30 can supplement their travel funds through temporary employment. Citizens from the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, Republic of Ireland, Republic of Korea, Malta, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Hong Kong, Finland, the Republic of Cyprus, France, and Italy, Belgium and Taiwan aged between 18 and 30 and without children can participate in the Working Holiday Program.


Working Holiday visas now allow you to work in any one job for six months, instead of the previous three month restriction, so there'll be plenty of opportunities for you to work in Perth and Western Australia.

 

 Workstay Australia


Do Some Seasonal Work and Extend Your Stay

Working Holiday Makers who spend at least three months doing seasonal work in regional Australia are eligible to apply for a second Working Holiday visa and extend their stay by 12 months. Find out more about seasonal work.
http://jobsearch.gov.au/harvesttrail/default.aspx


There is also a section on Work That Makes a Difference. For example, you could become a Conservation Volunteer.

Working in Australia or Migrating to Australia

If you want to work or stay permanently in Australia, the short answer is, if you are in a job where skills are short in Australia, particularly engineering or IT, you may have a chance to be sponsored – just look down the jobs lists and see who is recruiting. There are also firms such as  live.inaustralia.com who specialize in this and who offer a free assessment of your chances. Don’t be sucked in to using immigration agents as they often charge a lot of money for services you don’t really need! If you do decide to use one for any reason make sure he or she is on the list of those approved by the Australian Immigration authorities!

Kate Southam and Zsa-Zsa Bowie Wilson at CareersOne * have written extensively on this:

*[You may not get this website straight off. If you have difficulty click on Kate’s column and scroll down the left hand margin until you see the article Migrating to Australia: Sponsorship]

The Career One Website http://www.careerone.com.au/
has job listings and where you can put your resume for people to see, it also tells you a lot about what to expect in Australia, your legal rights as an employee and the expectations of employers. There are also useful tips on things like writing cover letters and resumes and dealing with interview questions.

Two other useful sites Kate mentions are the Australian Embassies, Australian Embassy. and this website to read information tailored to migrants already in Australia looking for work. South Australia has its own immigration website.


Studying in Australia

For the people who want to study in Australia, this is the site
Most universities also have their own sites so if you know where you want to study it’s worth contacting the university in that state.
If you scroll to the bottom right of this site, you can translate information into most languages

If you specifically want to improve your English, here is a list of English Courses in Tasmania http://www.international.utas.edu.au/ELC/static/courses/PathwayEnglish.php

Our friendly kangaroos will look under your car and make sure everything is alright


PS The Blog will be a bit quiet now until my sister gets here in March as I will be working on another project until then, but do check back from time


Monday, January 24, 2011

Plight of the Bumble Bee (and Others!)

The Bees were still looking good in the Caucasus - Photo by German Esipov
Too Few Bees 
How are your bees? Bees have been in mysterious decline in many parts of the world especially in the USA and Europe.  Although it has not been officially confirmed, it is believed that  a particular group of pesticides called neonicotinoids are responsible.  It is certainly apparent that in those countries where these pesticides have been banned - France, Germany and Italy, the bees are making a recovery 

Bees don't just produce honey. They are the world's major plant pollinators including most of the ones we eat.
Aavez is calling on the US and the UN to ban these these pesticides too, so click on this link to add your voice.






Another pretty picture, but like the rabbits and Salvation Jane in the Mallee, looks can be deceiving. 
Too Many Bees?
Have the bees all come to Tasmania? It may look like it, but they are the wrong ones. I was  really shocked when I took this picture that there were now so many bumble bees (Bombus terrestris). I saw my first one when I first came back to Hobart in 1997,  but today they far outnumbered the small Tasmanian bees  and even the European honey bees by about twenty to one. I have also just read an article which confims that they are now found throughout Tasmania in every type of vegetation and at every altitude after being accidentally introduced in 1992.
Although welcomed by farmers and especially tomato growers (see the ABC story about farmers wanting to introduce it on the mainland) because of its ability to produce bigger yields, it is rapidly displacing the tiny Tasmanian bees many of which are specially adapted to small native plants which may die out if the bees are unable to compete for nectar and pollen against the larger European ones.
Many of our plants, birds and animals exist nowhere else, not even on the mainland and some, such as  the Swift parrot which compete for the same food, are already endangered, so this is not a good sign and shows how quickly introduced species can take over in a place where they have no natural enemies (See the article What Harm Could Exotic Bumble Bees do in Australia)
Although the European honey bee was introduced much earlier (and we will never know at what cost to native flora and fauna), it too is at risk from new imports which may also bring new diseases. While I sympathise with farmers having to compete against cheaper imported vegetables, honey production has long been an important  and well established industry in Tasmania too and should not be put at risk for a few dollars more in someone's pocket.

PS. I spoke with Daryl Connell, of The Tasmanian Honey Company yesterday and was pleased to hear that so far honey production has not been affected in Tasmania, though as he adds "...
 though this is difficult to measure, given the other contributing factors such as climate, geography etc."


Friday, January 21, 2011

So You want to be an English Teacher?


Many people have asked me about teaching English overseas and another friend expressed interest in it only  last week, so I thought I should mention one or two resources here. Even better than my own experience (Click for start) which you can read about  right at the beginning of this blog, Englishdroid can help you out with all kinds of information, job listings, links to other useful sites and teaching tips and resources (even tips for students on learning and speaking English, courses etc).  
 Yes, it does help if you have Celta or Tesol qualifications, but they aren’t always necessary.  Usually you do need to have a degree, though again, not necessarily in English or Education. Some places are happy to give training and others do not need you so much for teaching as they have very good local teachers, but they do want native speakers for conversation and to give students experience of hearing English as it is spoken in real life rather than in text books.

 Glotagog X513 also has a lot of wonderful teaching tips and a wicked sense of humour. He has also kindly given permission to reprint a lighthearted  exchange here which may answer some of your questions about what it's really like.
Thanks Glotagog X513! Where are you now?


Dear Terry
While we usually require a university degree and an ELT certificate from an approved institution, I am prepared to make an exception in your case, based on your experience.
Tursdville is a bustling city which has largely been constructed in the last eight months. While it lacks some of the modern facilities we associate with Western cities, it has a lively atmosphere that blends the traditional customs of the Dystopians with their eagerness to acquire the benefits of rapid development.
As a home bird myself, I can’t tell you much about the night life. Of course, there is Turdsville’s huge red-light district, serving the needs of the migrant workforce, and I believe there is a monthly disco in the Sheraton Hotel (a bit pricey).
Maureen
From Encarta:
Turdsville, city in northeastern Dystopia, a major industrial center. Manufactures include iron and steel, aluminum, transportation equipment, machinery, machine tools, chemicals, tanning, processed food (especially sugar and soybean products), and wood and paper products. Modern industrialization accelerated in the 1990s. In 2004 demonstrations against migrant workers left 90 dead and 940 wounded. Population (2003) 1,520,000.
Dear Maureen
I have a few questions:
  1. How many other teachers are there? Where are they from?
  2. Will the school provide accommodation?
  3. Are there mosquitoes?
  4. Will I have to teach kids?
  5. Can you buy things in the shops like mint-flavoured dental floss? If so, is it expensive?
  6. What’s the salary?
I read on the Internet that there were riots in Turdsville last year and some foreigners were killed. Is it safe now?
Terry

Dear Terry
First, let me reassure you about the security situation here. Obviously, the embassies have to protect themselves, so they bend over backwards to be cautious. The recent advice from the British Embassy—Do not under any circumstances go to Turdsville, Dystopia, unless you are stark raving bonkers—should be taken with a pinch of salt. I have lived here now for several months and seen hardly any incidents.
To answer your other points:
  1. There are 5 teachers, including one native English speaker, Emilio (from the Philippines).
  2. The school provides a large shared house, which you will have all to yourself, as Emilio lives with me in a room in the military barracks.
  3. There are mosquitoes, but not nearly as big as the ones in southwest Dystopia, which you may have seen on the National Geographic channel’s Giant Scary Gnats of Death.
  4. You might have to teach children occasionally, but most Dystopian children are quite well-behaved if you are strict enough.
  5. I haven’t actually noticed mint-flavoured dental floss in the shops, but I’m sure it’s there if you look for it.
So, when are you coming?
Maureen

Dear Maureen
Thanks for the information. I still have a few questions.
  1. What are the promotion prospects? Could I become a Senior Teacher after one year?
  2. What are Dystopian girls like?
  3. You still haven’t told me the salary.
Terry

Dear Terry
Promotion prospects at Express English are excellent. There is every chance you will become a Senior Teacher, if not the Director of Studies, within a month or two.
I may not be the right person to ask about Dystopian women! You will have to ask Emilio. They are certainly very strong.
Sorry, I thought I had already told you about the salary. It is being reviewed, so it may increase before you arrive. At present it is 136 billion wobli a month (after tax).
Maureen

Dear Maureen
There are about 270,000,000 wobli to the US dollar, so this means the monthly salary is $503.70. How can you live on that?
Terry

Dear Terry
I never was any good at maths, I’m afraid, but if you say it’s around $500, I expect you’re right!
Frankly, it’s best not to think in terms of other currencies, but about how far the money will go in Turdsville. Obviously, if you choose to frequent places like the Sheraton (where a small bottle of imported beer costs 2.7 billion wobli), your salary will not go very far. However, at a roadside food stall a large serving of the staple food, blup (a sort of dumpling boiled with cabbage), costs only 29 million. Some local people earn as little as 3 billion a month, so you will be 45 times richer than them!
We really want to open a TOEFL class next week, so can you get here before then?
Maureen

Dear Maureen
  1. What sort of electric sockets does the house have?
  2. Is there a satellite TV with English language channels?
  3. Does the school provide free Internet access for the teachers?
  4. How many bars are there within a two-mile radius of the school?
  5. What are their opening times?
  6. Do they serve Guinness?
  7. If so, how much is it?
  8. What about health cover and holidays?
  9. Do I need a visa before I leave?
  10. Do you reimburse my visa and airfare and, if so, how quickly?
  11. If I don’t want to live in the teachers’ house, can I get a housing allowance instead?
  12. Are there any penalties if I leave early?
  13. Can you send me a draft contract?
Terry

Dear Mr Terry
How do you do? Yes please, I am, and to introduce.
Maureen go and Emilio also, very bad peoples, now we have nothing foreigner so please to come at once we answer all question after you here, I make Special Offer good salary you DOS and have plenty Dystopia girl they very like Western man even old and ugly man they still like, no problem.
Your faithful
Wondo (owner)
P.S. Also many homo boy here, also like Western man.

Dear Mr Wondo
I’m booked on Dystopian Airlines flight DY 4562 arriving Turdsville 10 August 2230 hours local time. My friend Kevin is also coming. (Can he be a Senior Teacher?) Please meet us at the airport.
Regards
Terry


So should you take the job? My advice, on the whole, is yes. We English teachers are the unsung pioneers of the age, exploring the world’s dreariest places, spreading the present perfect to unenlightened regions. Wilfred Thesiger may have crossed the Empty Quarter by camel, but would he have survived a year teaching in Hafr al-Batin?



 This is Glotagog X513 's advice but I say go for it too.  You meet a lot of nice people, gain a deeper insight into another culture than you do as a tourist and really get out of your comfort zone. 

Big Hi! to any of my students if you are still reading this after all this time. There will be a comprehension test after lunch!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

When Everything Old is New Again

This is for all you old car lovers out there. It was parked in the street this week
[By the way, Morris Minor fans I have just found the photo from Ariah Park which made me think of you. It's on that blog  page now].




I am looking at my ‘new’ calendar which features old travel advertising. I must say I do rather like old advertising. I don’t know why. It’s not as if it was particularly great in artistic terms or reflected particularly good times either in society or my life. It’s probably a sign of getting older to find things from one’s childhood – retro clothing, old cars, toys and advertising quaint and fascinating. I used to collect glossy posters of bright shiny cars with fins. There was very little colour around at the time. No digital photography, nor colour photography, few photos in the paper and the printer’s palette was very limited.

Just when I was getting a little nostalgic my son –in –law sent me these, just to remind me how times have changed and not to get too sentimental about those good old days.



Thank goodness for the women's movement!



There were worse things than the Marlborough Man. Here's Marlborough Mum.

It's a real shock seeing cigarette advertising now
So are ads like these!

If there is any nostalgia it was for a time of security and optimism and when we could still believe in advertisers' claims. While wages were low and many things were wrong, you could also believe that neither you nor the objects of desire would be redundant in half a year’s time.

Those images were also bleeding edge  (this means even sharper than cutting edge) at the time. It made me wonder how today's red hot copy will look tomorrow. Will people want to collect those images too – or only for their absurdity?

We musn’t knock the ladies in the Temperance Poster [Ariah Park Post] either. Were it not for them leading the charge for women’s rights half the population would probably still not be allowed to vote, sign cheques, own property or hold jobs.


Friday, January 14, 2011

The Real Chocolate War

The Post Christmas chocolate eating orgy is almost over.

Here I am down to the last  of the Christmas chocolates - you know those with the squishy pink centres, the Turkish delight and one green chocolate frog, and it is now a political decision -
a matter of putting one's mouth where it will do the least harm or the most good, as to where the next ones should come from. Absolutely nothing is value free these days. In case you are wondering how I came by so much chocolate in the first place, it's because my daughter visited the Chocolate Factory while she was here.[The Cadbury Building is still here, but our Chocolate Factory if it ever was ours not just British shareholders,' now belongs to Kraft and the classic purple Milk Chocolate is now made in New Zealand].

The current Aavez campaign https://secure.avaaz.org/en/ivory_coast_chocolate/?vl, 
is about putting pressure on the companies which are indirectly funding the dictatorship in the Ivory Coast and a brutal regime of repression.


Greenpeace recently had a successful campaign involving chocolate  too
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/features/Sweet-success-for-Kit-Kat-campaign/ 
In that case it revolved around preventing more rainforest destruction and protecting Orang Utan habitat.


If you would like reasons not to eat chocolate at all, just watch Episode of 7 of the current series of "Bones." Not only is there a revolting dead body inside a giant chocolate, but Temperance Brennan, the Jeffersonian' s forensic anthropologist and based on a real character, goes on about permitted levels of rodent droppings, hair, dead insects and dirt. I have also read that somewhere else but can't remember where. Not that it seems to have deterred me. However, there is also evidence that people who eat dark chocolate have lower rates of heart attack. I'm going with that one for the moment. At least till I have finished all these.


Enjoy! But don't forget to sign the petition!

Cheers,

Veronika

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Instant Karma

I just made a small donation to the Brisbane Flood Appeal. I would much rather have gone there to help with the cleanup but I can't afford to go down the street, much less to Queensland. I also checked their website and it said that the only way to help was to send money. They probably have enough people standing around with nowhere to go.
Five minutes later I opened the letterbox. There was a Gift Voucher inside for 20 cents more than I had given which made me feel pretty good.


Waterworld
I'm not sure if anyone overseas has seen the terrible images from the Queenland floods. About a third of the state seems to be underwater including Brisbane, Australia's third largest city. Lives have been lost, so have crops and livestock. Houses and cars have been swept away, shops inundated. Thousands of homes are without power,  bridges and ferry terminals have been have been washed away, towns are cut off and transport is at a standstill. It's to be expected that new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard is there to offer support, but it was also nice to see ex-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, wading in to help in a very personal way. Occasionally there are lighter moments too. I just watched "The Drift" a  floating waterfront restaurant (empty, fortunately and looking like a great big wedding cake), break free of its moorings and drift majestically into a bridge. It's not funny for the owners of course, but it was a bit like watching the Titanic. You knew what was going to happen, but it was unstoppable and inevitable and I couldn' t help thinking that perhaps they should have called it something else.

Spare a thought for Brazilians and Sri Lankans as well
 I see that there have been huge floods in Brazil and Sri Lanka  as well. In Brazil more than 600 people losts their lives and one hundred thousand people have lost their homes. In Sri Lanka, though the death toll is lower, 1.7 million people are homeless. Ultimately houses and roads can be rebuilt and crops can be replanted, but no amount of money can ever replace a family member. We hope you are all safe and let me know if there is any way I can help.


It's still raining here too. There is flooding in Northern Tasmania as well. My fig tree thinks it's autumn and has shed all its leaves. Only the tree ferns are happy. They are a rainforest species.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Esperance and Points East

Esperance, Western Australia
Esperance, 720 km South East of Perth was one of the last places I visited in Western Australia, accidently coming upon the dog cemetery at Corrigan and spectacular Wave Rock at Hyden along the way.  Esperance, which has about 12,500 people, was named by a Frenchman, the indomitable Captain Bruni D' Entrecateaux [who had also been searching for lost countryman, La Perouse in Tasmania] in 1792, while sheltering from a storm and making repairs to his boat. Matthew Flinders visited in 1802 and mapped it for the crown in 1826 leading to the establishment of a military outpost at Albany to stop the French from claiming it. Eyre put in an appearance here too on his epic journey from South Australia in 1841 - indeed he and his aboriginal companion, Wylie, would have died here had had they not been rescued by the English Captain of a passing French whaling ship at the aptly named Lucky Bay.

Although subsequently favoured by whalers, sealers and pirates, today it's so popular with tourists that I couldn't get anywhere to sleep. With very steep fines for free camping, my stay was brief to say the least, and there was a gale blowing the whole time I was there so I couldn't give its much vaunted and beautifully named beaches the attention they deserved. I will say that it is an excellent place for wind farms and it was  the first place in Australia to get one back in 1987.

Sadly, these are among the photos which I lost when the computer crashed, so if you'd like to see more, you'll have to go there yourself. Just be sure to book first!

I came upon this unsual cemetery dedicated to Man's Best Friend by accident at Corrigan, one of the wheat belt towns on the way to Esperance

I think this sign sums up a lot about life in the Australian outback - the devotion of dog and master and vice versa, the reliance on the Flying Doctor Service and the way country folk pull together esp. in isolated places
Wave Rock at Hyden, the biggest of several amazing granite outcrops in this area
While you would swear that this was wind erosion, it has actually been caused by water percolating through the rocks with the base eroding more near the bottom because it didn't dry out as much  
I first saw this place about forty years ago when the main highway wasn't sealed. It was a torturous trek and you had to bring in everything yourself - fuel, water, food, spares. Now there is a sealed road right up to it, though you do pay a small entrance fee for the priviledge of having facilities, including a camping area and store. The rock itself hasn't changed, though there are a lot more visitors.

The beaches around Esperance have been voted the best in WA. They seem to have it all -white sands, clear water, lovely names - Twilight Beach, Blue Haven BUT what you don't see is the wind blowing or the rips and the water was absolutely freezing. On the other hand, the wind turbines over the hill were going splendidly.

Butty Beach by name and nature. It's reserved for naturists but not surprisingly there were no butties to be seen there that day!

The shoreline in Esperance itself is dominated by a  very  long jetty -the Tanker Jetty, where the locals like to drop in a line. Built in 1934 at the height of the Great Depression to create work for local people, it is one of the last big wooden jetties of its kind. (That's what the one at Hamelin Bay used to look like) Though no longer in use since a new one was built in 1965, it's still a major feature and one which the locals were relunctant to lose. As I strolled here I had a lovely surprise.

A nose suddenly appeared in the water
Followed by Sammy the seal
Sammy has been frequenting these waters for years - such lovely eyes, but...




He is  a menace to fishermen because he steals their fish and has been known to attack the odd child. 
     



Despite his bad habits, it was still a pleasure to meet him, especially as it was completely unexpected. A nice little bonus before I had to head back. There is a pleasant Esplanade along the beach and a very nice sheltered and landscaped picnic area at the western end.  There is a tearoom too, about halfway along, but if you are looking for shops for supplies, try one of the back streets, because it took me ages to find one and I just read someone else's story where they had the same problem. My other minor disappointment was that after driving miles out to the national park on the Eastern side, which promised to have accommodation I was almost there when I came upon a sign saying it was all booked up and had to turn around and go back which did not improve my health and temper either.

Nevertheless it's quite a nice little town and I look forward to seeing it again sometime when the weather is better and it's not so crowded. It's hard to imagine that it was the centre of gravity once when access to Western Australia was mostly by ship, especially when the Gold Rushes were on. Ironically, it was the deepening of the harbour at Fremantle in 1897 and the opening of the railway between Perth and Kalgoorlie five years later, that lead to its decline, so I should be happy that it has discovered new life as a tourist destination, even though it hasn't exactly worked to my advantage on this occasion.

That's all for Western Australia for now folks, unless some more photos turn up. I look forward to looking at Broome and the Top End, the next time around. 
 
By the way, should you be wondering why I am doing this and not posting photos of exciting places around Tasmania, it's because it's been raining virtually non stop since I got home. There is enormous flooding in Queensland too. Once in a while the normal summer pattern of drought brought by El Nino is disrupted by la Nina - the child, which dumps vast quantities of water on Eastern Australia (WA is having bushfires at the same time). At least we won't be having water restrictions this summer, but I am thinking I should invest in a wetsuit if this keeps up.



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Weird and Wonderful Places around Perth - South East


Jarrahdale - endangered species?

Perth has the strangest development pattern. Leave the city and the coast, and settlements become very small and scattered with very little connection between them. Despite being the largest state and covering one third of the Australia, the total population of 2,010,113 (in 2006) is less than the city of Melbourne and 80% of it lives in Perth [http://www.australianexplorer.com/western_australia.htm.] It is almost as if Western Australia gave up building towns and settlements after 1870, once the good agricultural land had been exploited and the gold rushes began. The gold rushes brought twice as many people to Australia in 1852 as the convict system had and by the 1870's the population had quadrupled. Although no more convicts were brought into WA after 1868, those that were already there, continued to serve out their sentences and were responsible for the construction of many fine buildings and public works.

This peaceful clearing in the woods is all that remains of Hoffman's Mill which once employed and housed hundreds of people and even had its own school

Townships typically developed around a particular natural advantage such as good land, the port or a river and were subsequently sustained by the building of railways, roads and the pipeline to service an export industry which supplied the motherland with raw materials. Although this pattern was common in the initial stages of other states and most former colonies, most other states developed secondary industries after a time, leading to self sustaining communities. Here it seems that this phase did not eventuate and once the resource was depleted people simply moved on to the next. Although Western Australia has now moved on to the tertiary phase of tourism and services, those places which were not within easy reach of the motoring public were subsequently abandoned, once the resource expired. Places such as Mountain Quarry and Strathham's Quarry near Darlington, or Hoffman's Mill, further afield, are typical examples of places which once employed hundred of people but of which nothing remains except a few odd clearings.

 Most places aren't as pretty as Hoffman's Mill and it's hard to imagine them once being filled with people. The stone for Fremantle Harbour came from here

 All that remains of a giant wharf built at Hamelin Bay in the South West to ship timber to pave London streets. This area has also now found new life as a tourist destination.

Jarrahdale - see it while you can
Jarrahdale, (about an hour South East of Perth, although a shadow of its former self, when it boasted brick factories, a railway and several sawmills, is still hanging on by the skin of its teeth.
Ironically, although it was the timber industry which gave it life in 1872, it may well be its undoing. Traditional methods of harvesting were slow and selective and did not disturb the entire forest canopy as modern clear -felling does. Nor does modern logging and milling employ many people. Jarrahdale's fledgling tourist industry may not survive if timber company Gunns succeeds in getting access to its forests. At present the town has a fine collection of  cute timber cottages, a couple of interesting shops, an Irish pub with a real Irish publican and some pleasant walks and is one of the few green spots left close to Perth. Better see its forests while you can and help the locals to "Keep the Jarrah in Jarrahdale."
Modest timber cottages characterise Jarrahdale and there is a fine collection of them here

Precisely the kind of humble architecture that doesn't usually survive in the Australian bush

The little Post Office, now a museum, was closed the first time I called
 
So was this little gallery and the machinery museum which all said " Appointment Only"
Be sure to go right into the town because it straggles along for quite a while and there are lots of little houses in its back streets. And don't go on a weekday!
The first time I called, my view was a bit jaundiced as the outskirts are a bit chatty and when I arrived in the town centre, it seemed that almost everything was either closed or by appointment only, including the machinery museum, the gallery and tea room, the Post Office Historical display and the Millbrook Vineyard and Restaurant. It was too early for the pub and the only place that was open, featuring a big teapot, turned out to be selling teapots, not food or drink, though its wares were beautifully laid out.

This time I ventured a bit further and lo and behold, not only is there a seven days a week tea room and general store at the far end of town– wonder why the other lady didn’t mention it when I asked – (you do get that in small towns), but some extremely charming wooden cottages.

 The place that says Teas, doesn't sell much in the way of refreshments, but has lovely accessories

 Loved the splashes of colour in here and the display, so you get two pictures!

The tearoom on the other end of town, on the other hand, serves a lot more in the way of refreshments, but also has a few items for sale.

 And a nice display!

  Walking Trail near the Cemetery, Jarrahdale


Oops! Looks like  I have cut the Dale out

The closing frontier
Tourism may seen ephemeral, but at the end of the day, people need something a bit more sustainable than holes in the ground and tree plantations that take twenty years to grow and support nothing else. This incidently, is the same company with which we have had issues in Tasmania. Go Jarrahdale!
  Serpentine Dam and Falls
Just a little further South, via a windy scenic route past the Serpentine Dam, are the Serpentine Falls. Like any body of water in Western Australia, they are regarded almost as sacred ground and have been nicely landscaped. There is a small entrance fee if you come with a vehicle, but it's worth it, even just for the shade trees and picnic facilities. The wildflowers were lovely here when I came through and the wildlife - mostly kanagroos and birds, was really tame.

Serpentine Falls


Worth it for the Shade Trees, Picnic Facilities and very tame Wildlife

Going further South, there is Pinjarra, one of the oldest settlements in Western Australia, having been started in 1830, the year after settlers first arrived at Swan River. Resistance by Aboriginal people was strongest here and they retaliated by spearing the odd cow and the occasional white person. This prompted the Governor at Swan River to send in troops with the result that between 14 and 40 aborigines were killed. The “Battle of Pinjarra” as it was called was the only major skirmish with the indigenous population and is commemorated in a very small memorial.

This stone commemorates "The Battle of Pinjarra, 1930, the only serious skirmish with indigenous people
 
The peaceful Murray River which first brought settlers to the area in the 1830's
In this area too, is the Fairbridge Farm School begun in 1912, one of those noble experiments, like taking aboriginal children from their parents to raise them as whites. In this case Kingsley Fairbridge hoped that by taking orphans and poor children from the crowded streets of Britain, he would not only remove them from the clutches of grinding poverty, but would make them strong and healthy and provide them with the skills needed to build the colonies. While there does not seem to be the taint of child abuse associated with similar establishments on the eastern seaboard and the cottages are very quaint – today they are holiday cottages and Fairbridge hosts conferences and children’s adventure camps and the place apparently does noble things for disadvantaged youth through its Foundation, I still feel as if the place is haunted by the ghosts of children wrenched from their families and familiar surroundings and transported to a very strange land far over the sea.

Chapel and memorial gardens at Fairbridge Farm School


Two of the Cottages at Fairbridge - they had enobling names like Shakespeare


Speaking of immigration, there‘s a memorial  a bit further South at Harvey – quite a nice area, with other charms such as it’s cheese factory, The Big Cow, and the house where May Gibbs, the author of the children’s classic about the Gumnut Babies, “Snugglepot and Cuddlepie” once lived, set in very pretty gardens along the river. There is also a tourist information office here but I discovered all this by accident when I followed an intriguing path under the bridge along the river.
This memorial near Harvey is for migrants who were interned during World War II - about 1,000 Germans and Italians. A nice little chapel has been built here too

Governor Stirling's House at Harvey, where children's author, May Gibbs lived for a time as a child  
 
Nice gardens!

 Marlborough Country
Going North, there’s a scenic Route from Jarrahdale to Byford where it’s easy to get onto the Tonkin Highway back to Perth. Byford is  a horsy, bootscootin’ sort of place where they still have a rodeo, people wear big  hats and drive big red utes.  (Gidgegannup on the way to Toodyay, is a bit like that too – with Motocross Races, Paintball and Line Dancing Championships advertised proudly on the highway). Unfortunately, the suburbs have started to encroach on Byford, so for better or for worse, it won’t stay that way much longer.

 First Pub in Western Australia - the Narrogin Hotel on the road to Albany dates from 1853
It didn't always look as grand as this though!
Heritage Country
Eventually, you come to Armadale, another early settlement and only an hour out of Perth along the Albany Highway, one of the first roads built by the convicts in 1853. It also has one of the first pubs, the Tudor -style Narrogin, though it was originally of wattle and daub. This is pleasant, undulating country with orchards and fine English- style trees. It even has an Elizabethan village and a Pioneer Village which contains an interesting collection of small shops. Nearby is the Araluen Botanical Park, full of roses and both Native and European plants. Roses were first brought to the colony by the same man who brought the grapes (Sorry, I don’t have the notebook here where I wrote down his name), but they do seem to do extremely well here and they must have been such a relief to the settlers in this alien land, so far from Ye Olde England.

This pioneer village next door to the Narrogin Inn
 was originally created as a theme park about eight years ago but didn't do very well, so these days it is used as offices and small independent shops.

Another little street of shops. In amongst them there's an organic food store that sells real bread, another that sells Dutch specialties, a school and cinema.

Alas, Kelmscott and Gosnells, much closer to Perth, and also early settlements, have almost been swallowed by roads, suburbs and commercial development, but in between you do get glimpses of fine old buildings, though they may be tyre outlets or take away shops.