Jamestown wandering

The RMS St Helena can’t dock at Jamestown wharf, St Helena, so we were ferried ashore in tender boats.

Jamestown wharf looked interesting, but first we had to be bussed a hundred metres to be processed by customs and immigration. Even with a population of only 4000, this is a separate country with the usual border restrictions.

Finally we were through and were met by our landlords, Peter and Jean Fowler and taken to our self-catering accommodation, a stone courtyard house nestled into the side of the cliff. It is just right for the three of us.



This is our front door and flat roof with solar heating for the shower. The white house is the one behind us. Shy Road  is to the right and runs above the roof! Such is the steepness of the cliffs above Jamestown 

We eat meals on a round table under the little verandah. There’s another table in the kitchen and a third in the open courtyard, but we prefer eating in the shade with a view of the fairy terns soaring round the cliffs.

After negotiating the bread slicing machine in the Star supermarket ( there is on bakery and bread is delivered around 10am and sells out before midday), we had a lunch of the starter pack left by the Fowlers and met Basil George for a walking tour of the town.
This included a demonstration of the local kids’ technique for descending the 699 steps of Jacob’s Ladder.



Basil demonstrating Ladder descending 101. Don’t try this yourself !
He then took us into the Executive meeting chamber in the Castle which is the government headquarters and through the cool Castle Gardens to St James church.

We finished with afternoon tea in the Consulate hotel (where David posed with Napoleon) then photographed the RMS in the lowering sunlight. Dinner was Asian food at the Orange Tree, light and fresh. We are enjoying being part of this remote Georgian town.


Cutting the corner via Yanchep

As we had toured the southwest corner and Perth a few years ago, we decided to just go down the Indian Ocean Drive, head inland to Yanchep National Park, take the Perth freeway and turn east to the town of Northam.

The morning was clear and we awoke to the best view in Guilderton, right on the estuary of the Moore River. Pelicans were fishing from the sandbar and the sun reflected off the limestone cliffs.

We headed along the scenic coastal route to the village of Two Rocks, past a lot of new development at Yanchep, which is obviously a sea change destination. 

Yanchep National Park, an intriguing walk down memory lane. The 1930s buildings reminded me of Wattle Park Chalet, near our former home in the Melbourne suburb of Burwood. There was even an old tramcar, like our children used to play on at Wattle Park. 

We had coffee at the tea rooms, so our macho off-road hero (David) was forced to endure pink table cloths and plastic pink roses. The chocolate rum and raisin was a rich treat.

We took a walk around the shortest of several trails. It took us through karst bushland with collapsed limestone caves and tuart eucalypts with Carnarby’s cockatoos and kangaroos. 

We had a healthy prosciutto and salad sandwich in the van before trundling down the Reid Highway around the edge of Perth and 100km east to Northam. We are back near the historic pipeline that brings water from a dam at Mundaring to the gold town of Kalgoorlie.

Northampton has cool capuccini, quilters and historic buildings

Little Pickle’s Kitchen in Northampton was a great spot for a cappuccino during a town walk of Northampton, one of Western Australiaimage‘s oldest towns.imageimageNorthampton has a Quilt Festival in October and we saw a local embroiderers’ guild at work in a shop.

Many of the historic buildings are in the rich rust-coloured local stone. I’ve chosen the Sacred Heart Convent designed by a famous bishop/architect Monsignor Hawes in the early Twentieth Century. It now offers accommodation and function facilities.

President of the United States in Outback Australia 

Herbert Hoover, who later became 31st President of the United States established the Sons of Gwalia Mine and celebrated his 24th birthday in the partially completed manager’s house. We learnt this when we visited the mine site (which is now a modern underground and open cut operation. The house now provides accommodation to visitors and we enjoyed a cappuccino on the shady verandah after touring the mine museum, which is south of the goldfields town of Leonora.



Museums at Kalgoorlie

The Museum of Western Australia has a Kalgoorlie branch with tours at 10.30am. Sue, our guide, showed us Australia’s narrowest pub and the relocated panelled office of a wealthy Perth entrepreneur. Here, two students were rehearsing The Crucible by American playwright Arthur Miller. They posed for a photo. We also toured the Vault, and admired gold bullion.


The courtyard had relocated cottage, complete with outhouse and a bank.


 This armchair made of packing cases is an example of ‘making do’ in remote areas.

As our tour of the Superpit was cancelled, we drove up to the lookout again. A historic trolley car was taking tourists to view.


Get ready for the Super Pit!

Kalgoorlie is a gold mining city. It used to have a Golden Mile of individual small poppet heads over mine shafts. Then in the 1980s entrepreneur Alan Bond bought up and consolidated the small mines. Today it is a huge open cut mine owned and operated by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mine, known as the Super Pit. We viewed the trucks removing overburden and a digger working from the lookout at the Boulder side of the city.


We also played two more holes of the Nullarbor Links Golf Course at the impressive Kalgoorlie Golf Course. It was quite a contrast to the saltbush fairways out on the Nullarbor.

Kalgoorlie has some magnificent buildings from the period of its earlier boom around 1900.


Yallum Homestead, Saint Mary MacKillop and where is Kalangadu?

Yesterday we visited three places near Penola, South Australia: Yallum Park Heritage Homestead, the Mary MacKillop Interpretive Centre and the legendary township of Kalangadu.

We were shown around Yallum Park by the owner, Andy Clifford. It is a working rural property, grazing beef cattle. But the highlight is a magnificent homestead, once owned by wealthy pastoralist and MP John Riddoch. Andy and his wife lovingly maintain the mansion, which is open to the public. He gave us a guided tour of the lounge room with magnificent wallpaper and a beautiful silk tapestry fire screen to keep ladies from flushing from the heat. 

The bedroom featured a swinging baby cradle.

A magnificent stained glass window adorned the stair landing.

I also liked the manager’s office with it’s rotating chair and hand painted door panels.

After lunch at the Royal Oak Hotel in Penola, we visited the school started by Australia’s first saint, Mary MacKillop and her mentor, Father Julian Woods. We were shown around by a very helpful Sister Loreto. The site of the first school is now a park, owned by the Sisters of Saint Joseph and maintained by the council.

We took the long way back to the caravan park,detouring to visit the township of Kalangadu, which featured in an ABC serial. It had a Post Office that was closed, a store, school and sports ground. The surrounding farmland is dotted with gasfields.