A Few days in Perth WA

After a great deal of research we decided after many years with Avis to try No Birds car rental. At half the price of the airport based hire firms our city based company was a no brainier.

Our wheels
for the trip

We picked up our Hyundai i30 in the morning two streets away from out hotel and set off to find Woolworths to buy essential supplies… we had in impromptu tour round the WACA stadium as we missed the turn for the freeway across the Swan River.

WACA Ground from Queens Gardens.

The car fuel gauge was on empty so first stop the petrol station. Filled up after a challenge finding the release button for the fuel cap. Returned to the hotel and enjoyed the air conditioning whilst we rested.

Perth has an excellent free bus service with 4 routes. Any one planning a visit would be wise to book a hotel near one of these routes. https://www.keithholt.com.au/resources/perth_cat_map.pdf

In about 28° sultry heat and the threat of rain we decided today to take the Red and Blue routes to visit the Bell Tower, Elizabeth Quay, housing the Anzac Centenary Bell the largest swinging bell in Australia. The Anzac Bell commemorates the Centenary of Anzac 2014-2018, marking 100 years since Australia’s involvement in the First World War. Weighing in at 6.5 tonnes, the bell is the heaviest of its kind ever to be cast in Australia.

The bell was designed by Whitechapel Bell Foundry, one of the oldest and most well-known bell manufacturers in the world that was also responsible for the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and Big Ben in London.

The bell was cast in Western Australia with a number of local businesses contributing to the manufacture.

We had a go at ringing the other bells as part of our tour, including two of the original St Martin’s bells dating 1795 reflected that it was very pleasant in the airy light air conditioned tower, with ear defenders and all the health and safety rues of the 21st century…what must it have been like for the ringers celebrating the defeat of the Spanish Armarda 1588. The St Martin-in-the-Fields bells can be traced to before the 14th century. They were recast in the 16th century by order of Queen Elizabeth I and again between 1725 and 1770 by members of the Rudhall family of bell founders from Gloucester.

The Bells of St Martin-in-the-Fields rang across London when Sir Francis Drake defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588. They rang again for Sir James Cook’s homecoming about 200 years later. They feature in the children’s nursery rhyme, “Oranges and lemons say the Bells of St Clement’s; You owe me five farthings say the Bells of St Martin’s.” So how did these bells find a home in Perth, on the bank of the Swan River? In 1986, the Australian and New Zealand Association of Bellringers decided on a major overhaul of the nation’s bells, nearly half of which were either derelict, out of tune or difficult to ring. As part of this project, association president and Perth businessman Laith Reynolds also wanted to buy a major peal of bells for the University of WA’s School of Music as part of the City of Perth Bicentennial program. After two unsuccessful attempts to buy British bells, Mr Reynolds became aware of a controversy surrounding the bells of the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square and a plan to recast them. Conservationists believed the bells were too important to destroy, but church bellringers said their quality had deteriorated. So in a deal that appeased all sides, the old bells were sent to Perth in exchange for 12 tonnes of tin and copper to make new bells for the church. They were welcomed to Perth in a ceremony on April 13, 1988, when the Anglican and Catholic Archbishops handed over the bells, after more than 700 years of Christian use, to their new secular future. They stayed in storage until 1998 when premier Richard Court announced plans for a new tower to house the bells as part of a redevelopment of Barrack Square. The 18-bell peal finally got a permanent home when the tower was opened on December 10, 2000.” The peal of change ringing bells in the Bell Tower is one of the largest instruments of this type in the world,” said manager Gerry Lyng.

Probably the only bell tower in the world where ringers can see the bells n real time via cctv whilst ringing.
Copy of a plaque hanging in st Martin in the Fields, London.
The Carillon
The Swan Bell Tower Perth.
South Perth from the Tower
Supreme Court Gardens From the Tower


New South Wales

Wollongong was founded as a village in 1816; its name is an Aboriginal word meaning “sound of the sea.” It became a town in 1843, a municipality in 1859, and a city in 1942. It was amalgamated with other municipalities and shires in 1947 to form the City of Wollongong, which extends for some 30 miles (50 km) along the coast. Originally dependent on grazing and lumbering, the area early became the focus of prosperous dairy farmers.

Cows in the Illawarra Region.

Wollongong was once a centre of heavy industries, such as steel production at Port Kembla, which were attracted by the rich Bulli coal deposits nearby. Steel production declined in the late 20th century and with it coal mining. Coal is still mined, but by the early 21st century it had been supplanted in importance by other economic activities, among them construction and manufacturing.

In addition to steel, Wollongong’s industries manufacture other metallurgical products, including copper, as well as bricks, fertilizers, machinery, processed foods, chemicals, clothing, and coke. A fishing fleet operates from the artificial harbour of Port Kembla. Wollongong is linked to Sydney (50 miles [80 km] north) by road and rail.

It is the site of the University of Wollongong (1975; originally [1951] a division of the New South Wales University of Technology), which is a major local employer, and of a college of technical and further education. The Science Centre and Planetarium is a popular attraction, and the Illawarra Museum, housed in a 19th-century post office building, has exhibits on the life of that period.


London to Wollongong

Heathrow, March 4th

After a good road journey from Keynsham to Heathrow I looked forward to the 23 hour journey to Sydney.

The touch down flight BA15 via Singapore on a Boeing 777 went without hitches and luckily I had an empty seat next to me on both legs of the journey. It seemed a very short stay in Changi airport, we re-embarked in no time. Only time for a brisk yomp around the concourse to get the blood circulating.

BA15 at Changi Airport
Other passengers resting after the 12hr flight from LHR
Leaving Singapore at 20.10

After another night-time flight, the landing 20 minutes early at Kingsford Smith, was little bumpy, but not too bad, it was just getting light. I quickly progressed through customs and immigration and Maureen and Lindell arrived to greet me. We quickly got back to the car and exited the car park within the 30 minute free parking time slot.

Maureen in her sitting room
They must have known I was coming!