Sunday, June 13, 2021

Tranby House

This is one of the earliest buildings erected in Perth which is still standing today. It is now owned by the National Trust, who insist on calling it Peninsula Farm: more on this later. The Nats Club organised a riverbank walk and a visit to the house today, which was really interesting and exceeded all expectations. Not many people came, because of the uncertain weather forecast, but this turned out entirely wrong and it was a beautiful day.

This photo shows a stretch of samphire which is being restored and cleared of weeds. On the horizon can be seen the apartments where I live, but on the other side of the river:

Some people had much better zoom cameras and could photograph many of these birds.

I still like my iPhone because it is small and light.

At Tranby House we had to wait for the volunteers to open it up at 12.30 pm. The “pop-up” Tea Rooms had not popped up unfortunately but I had prepared for all eventualities! 

The photo shows the long thin farmhouse with its shady verandas. The original shingle roof had been replaced in the preservation works. It was built in 1839 by Joseph Hardy, an early settler from Lincolnshire. He came with a group of Methodists who chartered their own boat Tranby, with the intention of spreading their religion in the newly created Swan River Colony. At that time, land was given to the early settlers in proportion to the amount of cargo they brought with them from England. Indentured labourers and servants also merited additional acres. 

The Hardey Family also owned a second property on the Peninsula Farm, but Tranby House was the largest. More property was acquired inland, in York. The guide who took us around was full of information, more than we could absorb in one go. I just took photos as I listened to her:

The sideboard in the above photo was made by convict labour in Fremantle. Originally, the Swan River Colony had no convicts, only free settlers, but the severe shortage of labour led them to ask the British Government to send them some to help built infrastructure such as roads. At first, Tranby House relied on river transport to and from Perth.

Unlike other settlers, Hardey had studied warm climate agriculture and knew what to plant. He was successful with olives and vines, among other things, and some of his trees still remain around the property:

The following photo shows a section of the roof shingles which have been preserved in a workshop area:

In the laundry area, we were amused by some ladies undergarments hanging up to dry:

There is a large cellar for food storage, now prone to damp when the river is high:

We couldn’t go down as the steps are thought to be unsafe. The same applied to the stairs going to the upper floor from the kitchen, since there is no handrail:

Monday, May 31, 2021

Geraldton to Perth

When I threw back the curtains at the Ocean Central Hotel, there was a rainbow over the harbour which boded well for the day. White cockatoos were making a row outside. They seem to have migrated here from Perth in search of warmer weather.

As soon as I left town, the torrential rain started up again and the heavy showers stayed with me all day. There were no floods across the road, but the spray from oncoming vehicles made for poor visibility. Driving was tiring in those conditions. I was in no mood to stop in the wildflower area between Western Flora and Badgingarra. 

When I finally got home, I discovered that C had not only done some shopping for me for essential supplies, but had also cleaned out my fridge and thrown out everything past its sell-by date! 

Now I just need a rest after all that driving! I also need to acclimatise to the COLD nights  in Perth after being in the Kimberley. But it has been a fantastic holiday: I’ve done lots and seen lots. Back to my knitting now!

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Carnarvon to Geraldton

It rained and rained all day, at times very heavily: cats and dogs, you might say. There was a lot of water on the road. The verges were soft and waterlogged so it was risky to pull off. The Prius does not have high clearance, so I was nervous about driving through puddles. In this part of the world, the road fell away into a big chasm a few months ago! I didn’t want to get bogged or worse still swept away. At the worst point, I stopped to see what other cars would do. One simply drove through on the wrong side of the road so I followed him.

When there was a break in the downpour, I stopped for a late lunch at the Galena Bridge rest area. I took a photo of the old bridge to gauge the height of the river. I thought I had taken the same photo on the way up, but not so:

There were lots of caravans in the rest area, sheltering from the storm. If they stay there all night, who knows how high the river will be in the morning?

Friday, May 28, 2021


I woke up this morning to the sound of pouring rain outside. I haven’t had any rain for my entire holiday! How lucky is that? I’m hoping that it will wash off all the dead flies attached to the front of my car. The rain front is forecast to follow me all the way back to Perth.

I arrived in Carnarvon at lunchtime yesterday. In the afternoon I walked out along the tramway jetty to Whitlock Island. There was a stiff breeze:

The Gateway is a pretty cheap and basic motel, but it is famous for its Friday night seafood buffet. I was in luck with the day, for once: I dined in style! I wish they would do something about the wine list, though. The clientele was 75% Chinese, which is always a good sign. They were obviously regulars, as two long tables were set out for them, one inside and one outside. The boss (in black on the left) was going around removing all the discarded shells as they ate their way through piles of crustaceans:

This is the best chilli sauce. I discovered it when Gools and Tommo served it on the Gibb River Road, so I was delighted to find it again here.

More seafood and dessert.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Glass bottom boat

On an aeroplane you dread sitting next to little kids. Let me tell you, it’s ten times worse on a small boat! I was looking forward to my glass bottom boat trip, since the wind from the north had foiled by snorkel attempts from the shore. On the boat, we had an experienced guide who had lots to tell us: but the 3-year old liked to scream and shout and interrupt, whilst the 18-month twins just liked to scream. I could have thrown the lot of them into the sea!

Here is what I saw anyway:

I was just having an outdoor shower to wash off the sand, when I heard someone calling my name. It was the receptionist from my hairdresser in Perth: small world!

PS. Later, I watched the guys from a fishing charter dealing with their catch: Red Emperor, Trevally, Tomato Cod:

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Point Samson, Onslow, Coral Bay

Before leaving Point Samson, I had a walk around looking for alternative places to stay (for next time!) since the wi-fi in The Cove was useless and the Telstra signal was also pretty weak. In the past, we stayed here:

and here:

Point Samson also has a few too many sandflies (and Onslow is even worse in this regard), so it’s best not to linger too long in any one place!

Nevertheless, I find the landforms of Samson fascinating:

The pics above were taken just outside the town.

One of my missions in Onslow was to see this Shell collection. It has been in the news lately, because the Shire of Ashburton has just bought it for $200,000 from the lifetime collector and put it on display in the town. Sod’s Law and I was in Onslow on a Tuesday!

An evening walk at sunset: a few more sandflies got me!

On to Coral Bay, a favourite spot of mine, and I was pleased to secure a last minute booking for 2 nights at the RAC Ningaloo Reef Resort. I was pretty tired after the drive, especially as there were roadworks all along the road south from Exmouth with a 60 kph speed limit. I had a beer at sunset outside my unit and felt recovered:

At 7.10 pm I managed to catch the red moon:

Tuesday, May 25, 2021


By special request from JL, who worked here as a civil engineer and set up Onslow Salt.

This is a selection of ancient machines currently on display in a jumble outside the museum:

On the way out of town, I stopped by one of the solar salt ponds. The stock piles of industrial salt are brilliant white on the horizon as they await transportation along the jetty by conveyor belt,  for loading onto ships to Japan.

The salt forms slowly on the edge of the seawater ponds and blows about in the breeze. It tastes salty and slightly sweet as well.

The following info is copied from the Mitsui website:

In 2006, Mitsui acquired the Onslow salt field. This site is located 530 kilometres north of Shark Bay and began shipment of salt in 2001.

Salt (sodium chloride) is an industrial chemical extracted from the sea by solar evaporation, and is a fundamental product in chemical and food-related applications. Traditionally used as a preservative in the food manufacturing industry, salt is also the key raw material for chlor-alkali factories that produce caustic soda (sodium hydroxide), chlorine and soda ash.

Mitsui's two salt farms produce some of the highest quality solar marine salt (sea salt) in the world. Our fields are also ideally located to export bulk shipments to Asian markets.

Mitsui is committed to running sustainable, profitable and environmentally responsible salt fields. Our goal is to be a reliable and competitive supplier of salt to the Asian market well into the future.