Thursday, 6 March 2008

Albany revisited
Though I was only there because my dad was so sick, I had a great time revisiting Albany, capital of the Great Southern region of Western Australia. It's a beautiful port town of about 20,000 on Princess Royal Harbour, secure from the wild seas of the Southern Ocean — next stop south is Antarctica. The region is famous for wheat and sheep farming, meat and dairy cattle, and, increasingly, wine.This pic (above) is of country near Nornalup, on the coast about 60 miles west of Albany.
Being about 250 miles south of Perth, Albany's weather is a lot milder, with more rain and far more bearable summers.
I was there on Sorry Day, Tuesday February 13, when our new prime minister, Kevin Rudd, formally tabled a motion in federal parliament apologising for injustices and wrongs done to Indigenous people, especially those who were part of, and continue to be affected by, the Stolen Generations. It was such a moving and important day. My brother, Garry, and I assembled with about 500 others near the harbour in Albany ... (that's Garry just left of centre, above, with white T-shirt and long ponytail)
... and we all marched up York Street, Albany's main street (below), to celebrate this historic occasion. On another day, I visited friends who have moved to a beautiful bush property near Albany ...... and after lunch on their deck, ringed by bush, flowers and trees, with birdsong to accompany us, we fed the splendid wrens that came happily in for a feast of desiccated coconut. These (above) are all females, with only a hint of blue on their tails. It's the males that have earned them their name::: The drive from Albany to Perth was, as always, a beauty. I sang along to the entire CD of Attempted Moustache, a fabulous album from the '70s by Loudon Wainwright III (father of Rufus and Martha) and stopped here for lunch:This fabulous spot was just north of Kojonup, which proudly states on signs as you enter the town that it was Western Australia's 'first shire with 1,000,000 sheep'!
A bit farther on, I stopped at Arthur River, a tiny town which is almost exactly halfway between Albany and Perth, to take a look at this little country church on the side of the road.Built by and for old settler and farming families, it was consecrated in 1880 and is still in use today. I was particularly moved by the grave of young Cissie ...
... who lies in the churchyard within view of the golden wheatfields and eucalypts.

:: We had a great sleep last night; first night in our own bed for over a month. I love our bed. And our cotton sheets. And my pillow. We'd stayed up until as late as we could — hey! there's a guy from Perth who's a dead cert for the American Idol finals — and slept really soundly, despite three interruptions from the alarm on David's new bedside clock, which he had inadvertently set to 'sleep' instead of 'off'. Fixed now!
:: With all the comings and goings and toing and froing, I've completely missed Chapter III's first anniversary! Such a fun year it's been, and I'm delighted to have several friends in the US, the UK, Australia and elsewhere who come by often and regularly, as well as my family and mates from back home, who were the inspiration for it all. Thanks, guys!


Jennifer said...

I was going to say, "how wonderful that you're home!" but it's kind of inside out, isn't it? Wonderful indeed to have you back, back to your house and your computer and your immediate family and life, but it's not the same as the home that you just came from. I love reading about your adventures there and I am really, really happy to have you back.

M said...

Well looky looky, you've got a picture of my home town... Kojonup. So proud, we are, of our sheep. And our Kodja Place "tourist experience". And the dray of woolbales on the corner.