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Is Perth turning into one Long Subdivision?

Lest the foregoing posts make it seem that everything in WA is old and or abandoned, but that is most definitely not the case. The City of Perth is compact but has all the attributes of a modern city -gleaming towers that reflect the blue of the skies, lovely river front parklands, one of the oldest universities in Australia, trendy shops and eateries, world class entertainment and a zoo, but except for its bell tower, there is little to distinguish it from anywhere else. 
There are your Maccas, and Targets and all the other retail chains. All very handy when you need them, but a bit bloody boring to look at when they all look the same. I am looking for those things which make a place different. Much the same can be said for the housing.
The whole of Perth - indeed much of Western Australia, seems to be in the middle of a housing boom

By far the majority of the population appears to be living in endless new subdivisions springing up north and south along the coast in almost identical houses of four bed, two bath configuration, or the odd ‘lifestyle’ village intended for retirees. 

They remind me of those even –aged timber plantations that pretend to be forests but are totally devoid of any other form of life. Not only are these houses visually uninteresting after you have seen a few hundred, but their stories have yet to be written. They remind me of the new mining towns – functional and more comfortable to live in, but nowhere near as interesting or charming as the old ones.

...especially along the coast where it stretches almost as far as Geralton

I thought Brighton Beach sounded like a nice place to have lunch, but it too was in the process of being transformed into another exclusive 'lifestyle' community and I was chased away by the builders.

You aren't welcome at Brighton Beach

I tried to find two lookouts shown as scenic points on my GPS. 'Gentle Paul' turned out to be a Shopping Centre and 'Secret Harbour' dumped me in the middle of another new subdivision.

There are a lot of these too

Another development in progress - it's the same story up and down the coast

Who can blame them? It also reflects the size and availability of land in Western Australia

The birds don't mind coastal living either. These guys just popped out of the bushes when I finally found a bit of beach that hadn't been paved over or fenced off

To understand the West or even the local style, you have to leave the main highways and head for the older places, the old roads and the outback where its wealth was and is being created and these styles evolved. Here you see considerable diversity in building as people experimented with available materials and struggled to come to terms with the demands of a harsh climate and vastly different land.

Initially, where timber was scarce, they used tin, mudbrick and local stone – even cemented shell blocks in the case of Shark Bay. Then they added verandahs, breezeways and in grander places, towers that sucked in cool air. There may be elements of the colonial experience as well. In Colonel Sanders’ house, built at the Convict Hiring Station in Linton in around 1853, the door of each room opens on to the verandah to catch the ocean breeze, an Indian idea which I have seen used in many other hot country towns including the Great Western Hotel in Cobar.

The nice wide streets in most country towns are owed to the cameleers and bullockies who brought in supplies and needed to be able to turn around large teams. Eventually, with the arrival of large numbers of Italians in the 1950s, came lots of paving, cement rendering and large open entertainment areas – very much the style you see now, though minus the balustrades and lions.

Ornate Italianate - reflects the rising fortunes of post war immigrants who often did well in the building industry with concrete and terrazzo work. The Mediterranean style with its cool tiled flooring, spaciousness and thick brick walls was also more suited to Western Australia's climate than British - style housing

Not sure who to blame for the impressive gates – perhaps pastoralists with delusions of grandeur, but in the cities, they appear mainly on newer buildings. In recent years there has been an influx of South Africans, especially in the mining industry. They are understandably etxra protective of their privacy and security. It could also be part of the Rose Porteous effect (wife of Australian iron – ore king – Lang Hancock), whose legacy appears to be the profligate use of bricks.

Here and there there is also something of a Spanish influence – arches, red tiles and a kind of low bungalow style especially evident on the Great Eastern Highway between Mahogany Creek and Northam. A pastoralist and meat works owner who imported his cattle from Spain, got the ball rolling by building his grand El Caballo Hotel and it looks like the neighbours were inspired to do the same. The beachside township of Yanchep also has a number of houses in this style. Certainly low and sprawling ranch -style housing is also much more suited to this climate.

Not sure either where the “city wall” concept originated. It doesn’t seem to have existed prior to the building boom inspired by Alan Bond’s America’s Cup Challenge in 1987. Maybe Florida’s gated communities?

Even modest subdivisions have their 'city walls'

Perth Skyline viewed from "The Hills" -the escarpment above the city which is one of the few constraints against eastern expansion