What Port Adelaide could’ve been if it had the colonial convict workforce and modern-day mining money of Perth.
And I’m sure the economical, geographical location, logistics industry and a bunch of other factors that have no doubt flown over my head.
Regardless, I loved Fremantle.
I was grateful to be flown to Perth to film a wedding in late October. The venue was one of the city’s many – unbeknownst to me – beautiful apple orchards tucked away in the Perth Hills. Perth itself felt like a wilder, larger Adelaide with slightly nicer weather fused with opulence reminiscent of Sydney Harbour.
Drive east in your overpriced hire car, and the high-rises quickly transform into seas of gum trees lined with red dirt with houses sprinkled throughout on generous allotments of land. Drive west, and you hit the coast. The beaches that melt into the Indian Ocean looked just as beautiful as Adelaide’s own, but with one caveat – waves. Actual surf-able waves. Something this native Adelaidian is very hesitant of.
Nevertheless, I endured an aggressive Sunday morning breeze and a number of cyclists I can only compare to the Tour Down Under and made the short yet scenic drive south, where I began to loving leer at the pristine colonial architecture that started to envelop me.
This is Fremantle.
From Western Australia’s largest cargo port to a world heritage convict prison overlooking Cappuccino Strip, where do I begin? Fremantle felt as alive as I imagine Port Adelaide would’ve been in its heyday with all the modern comforts and coffees one could want.I brunched at Chalky’s Espresso Bar and had a delicious Crushed Potato Hash breakfast – look at me choosing something savoury over pancakes! I then proceeded, camera over shoulder, to leer and wander and leer some more at the beautifully restored and preserved history that lines the streets of this port city.
My first stop was The Roundhouse, the oldest remaining intact building in Western Australia. I won’t relay my in-depth Wikipedia research to you here, but I will tell you that this building still flies flags to incoming ships and fires the canon every day at 1pm.
Yes, a real canon.
I explored the main commercial district in all its colonial glory, tried every food sample I could at the famous Fremantle Markets and scouted locations for my next main meal before making my way to the Fremantle Prison, which only stopped operations in 1991 and was placed on the World Heritage List with 10 other Australian Convict Sites in 2010. Once again, thank you Wikipedia. I mistakenly thought I was short on time and failed to take a tour but the architecture, information panels and free exhibitions were enough to quench my historical thirst.
One acai bowl and mobile editing session later, I returned to my aforementioned overpriced hire car and drove to the Fremantle Arts Centre which, to my dismay, had no ties to its former history as a lunatic asylum except for some very high, barred windows in one of the galleries.
Back on the road, and I continued to drive south until I was hypnotised by this building.
This presumed rave warehouse had signage that explicitly stated to report anyone setting up sound equipment.
If only walls could talk.
Also, why am I always drawn to these derelict sites?
Some things about Perth that took me by surprise were the vast amounts of bikies riding in large cohorts not limited to Fremantle, but also observed in the apple-orchard-wedding territory of the Perth Hills. The increased police presence and roadside drug testing was also a small shock when making our way to a pre-wedding breakfast on Saturday morning. The overwhelming number of boats (and wealth) cruising along the Swan River with the city skyline backdrop was also unexpected until reminded of Western Australia’s prominent mining industry. And last, but certainly not least…
Don’t even get me started. The jetlag upon returning home was too real. Head here to follow along on my travel ventures.
Until next time,
9 July 2020