Tinderbox, Porongurups & The Albany Highway

An account of a night in Albany, Western Australia where we stayed at the Dog Rocks Motel, followed by returning to Freemantle the next day back up the Albany Highway. This was part of a trip undertaken with my father in order to eventually meet up with our relatives in Adelaide, before that however we had a week of adventures in Western Australia where we got to know places such as Freemantle, Perth and Albany.

Our first port of call on our mission to find somewhere decent to eat in Albany was the place which I had thought was our best bet from my earlier reconnaissance, an Italian restaurant in which it was possible to order a drink rather than bring it in a bag. This choice soon turned out to be a bit of a disaster however, as when we went in and asked for a table the woman at the door with the menus wanted to know if we had made a booking. Dad immediately, and unfortunately with some degree of disbelieving exasperation, said that she must surely be joking as the place looked pretty empty. Turned out it was a big mistake for him to have said that to her, a very big mistake, as the woman soon made it clear to us that a reservation was most certainly needed if we wanted a table, even though the place was barely half full. It appeared that if we did not have a reservation there was going to be no chance of us getting a meal there, all of which seemed pretty absurd, but there we are, that was how it was. Dad’s outburst had rubbed the waitress up the wrong way and it was clear she was now going to make things as difficult as possible for us. She said if we sat down to eat our meal there and then, she could accommodate us, but we would have to be out within an hour. In other words she was cutting us an impossible deal as there was no way we would have been able to comfortably enjoy some pre-food drinks and then have our standard three courses in such a short space of time.

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Down the Albany Highway to the Dog Rocks Motel

An account of heading driving down the Albany Highway from Freemantle to Albany to spend a night at the Dog Rocks Motel. This was part of a trip undertaken with my father in order to eventually meet up with our relatives in Adelaide, before that however we had a week of adventures in Western Australia where we got to know places such as Freemantle, Perth and Albany.

Saturday morning saw me up nice and early ready to pick up the car after breakfast for the big drive down to Albany, me and dad! One of the deals we had made for our trip out to Australia was that I was the one in charge of the travel and booking arrangements along with all of the paperwork which went with it. Therefore after breakfast I jumped into a waiting taxi parked in front of our hotel, The Esplanade in Freemantle, with a folder under my arm containing our Hertz booking and my driving license which I would have to show in order to collect the car. I had already called the Hertz office the day before to see if where they were located was in walking distance of the hotel, but they had told me it wasn’t and that I would have to take a taxi. Actually the ride down to Albany had been my idea and as far covering the costs – car hire, gas and a night for two of us in the Dog Rocks Motel in Albany – that was on me as well. Guess it was my way of saying thanks to dad for footing the bill for everything else with regard to our coming out to Australia. My driver out to the Hertz was an Ethiopian who had been in Australia for the last 20 years or so, in fact he was an Australian as his accent most certainly proved, clearly his days of waiting for the rain in Addis Ababa whilst catching pieces of an archaic yet profound brand of Christianity were far behind him. He told me as he drove that it was possible to have a very good life in Australia, that he loved his job and he loved the weather. For some reason he was able to tell this to me in such a way that it was difficult for me not to feel that he was one lucky bastard. He certainly cut a very different impression than the Indian who’d took us in from the airport a couple of days before, who in the final analysis had been a real bundle of misery pining for the land of Bharat. Well, the Hertz place was certainly too far to walk to as my taxi ride lasted quite a while, the drive made me realize how spread out things could be in Australia, that having your own form of transport was vital if you wanted to live there in anything close to practical comfort.

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King’s Park, Perth & Freemantle

An account of heading into King’s Park from Freemantle and more roaming around Perth on a trip undertaken with my father in order to eventually meet up with our relatives in Adelaide, before that however we had a week of adventures in Western Australia where we got to know places such as Freemantle, Perth and Albany.

The next morning I woke in the early hours and because I was not that sleepyso I sat in the chair in my hotel room and did some meditation. As a Buddhist there was no question I would not try to meditate each day whilst out in Australia if I got the chance. Besides the practice of sitting quietly and observing my breath, I had other commitments to keep, such as reciting various daily prayers and mantras from initiations and empowerments I had received over the years. This time I struck lucky and soon entered a blissful state which lasted for about an hour, with mind stilled and very relaxed. This was probably because I knew that since I was now on holiday for the next couple of weeks, if I wanted to meditate at 5 in the morning I could do so without too much problem. After all if I felt tired later in the day I could always rest, just lay back on my big double bed and close my eyes. There was flexibility with regard to my schedule, no worries about having to go to work or anything like that, no deadlines to keep. Thoughts passed through my mind during the meditation which were difficult to explain, but in essence they boiled down to awakening me to a new spiritual landscape now that I was in Australia. In a nutshell it felt open, spacious and sparse, far different to the psychic intensity of London, where shadows and shades from the constant hum of the big city at times crowded in on one to quite a considerable degree.

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Freemantle, Swan River & Perth

An account of heading into Perth from Freemantle on a trip undertaken with my father in order to eventually meet up with our relatives in Adelaide, before that however we had a week of adventures in Western Australia where we got to know places such as Freemantle, Perth and Albany.

Woke up early the next morning and stayed awake for the best part of a couple of hours, just went with the territory I guess; new kid in town, country, continent. Lay there in the dark with a constant stream of thoughts running through my mind, it was not that uncommon for that to happen to me if truth be told, but I eventually fell back to sleep at some point and then was woken up by Dad knocking on my bedroom door. It was already 8.30 and – son of a gun – I had overslept and that was something which didn’t happen often! We had agreed the night before to make our way down to breakfast at 8.30 the following morning but there I was still prone horizontal when he started rapping. I poked my head out of my room, profusely apologised and jumped into the shower so as to fully wake up and get myself together. In less than 15 minutes I was ready, nevertheless it was a bit of a shock to have been caught out on my first morning in Australia, as when it came to being punctual I was usually right on the button, but not this time, no sir, not by a long shot!

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G’Day Western Australia

An account of my first day in Australia on a trip undertaken with my father in order to eventually meet up with our relatives in Adelaide, before that however we had a week of adventures in Western Australia where we got to know places such as Freemantle, Perth and Albany.

Flying over Australia for the first time in my life felt like I was truly arriving at the far end of the world. That feeling of reaching somewhere special had maybe begun an hour or so before we actually reached the coast. It was when the sky turned a shade of blue I had never seen before that I stared out the window and kept thinking that in the distance lay the beginnings of Australia, even though at this point it was still only sea and sky. In actual fact it was just an illusion created by the far off sea and sky merging together, both bathed in an amazing blue which I thought indicated terra firma, a sight so beautiful it kept me on the edge of my seat as I just couldn’t stop looking at it. Eventually the land mass did appear and with crystal clarity I saw thousands of feet beneath our plane, Planet Earth in reddish orange, looking huge, awesome and impenetrable as to its mysteries. As we flew down the coast of Western Australia on our way to the city of Perth, the colour of this flat immensity below was dominated by those various shades of red and orange and even though I was a mile up in the sky above, there was an overwhelming sense of emptiness to what I saw beneath me. A desolate beauty on which it became easy for me to project wonderful thoughts, as if my mind was painting on a blank canvas.

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The Makaratta Project

The Uluru Statement From the Heart was delivered by more than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander delegates gathered at Uluru in 2017. After centuries of struggle for recognition and justice the statement calls for the establishment of a “First Nations Voice” enshrined in the Australian constitution and the establishment of a “Makarrata Commission” to supervise agreement-making and truth telling between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Straits islander peoples.

The Makaratta Project is the new album from the Australian band Midnight Oil, probably best known for two rock classics released around 30 years ago: Diesel and Dust and Blue Sky Mining. It contains their first new music released in nearly 20 years and extensively features First Nations artists.

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Nullarbor Song

Stream of consciousness words written on the Indian Pacific travelling across the Nullarbor Plain in Australia whilst having the jazz classic Bitches Brew by Miles Davis on heavy rotation, along with his other works Big Fun, Live Evil & On the Corner. The journey began in Perth, Western Australia taking in stops at Kalgoorlie and Cook along the way before arriving two days later in Adelaide, South Australia.

Guess Nullarbor Song has in mind the original inhabitants of the land of Australia, those peoples who had lived there for over 60,000 years and seamlessly blended in with its foreboding environment, who knew its dangers and wonders intimately. Made it a sacred landscape. Sure it also touches upon the activities of those people who have been in command of things for just over the last 200 years – the white man – but it most certainly does not seek to elevate their relentless exploitation of Australia’s natural resources, something which has been undertaken with unceasing greed and vigour. No, Nullarbor Song is not for them; let them stay in their mansions, let them fly above us in the private planes and corporate jets, let them sail around the continent in their luxury yachts and eventually at the end of their lives let them go far, far away from us.

land of the empty bowls
on a curve side track
unknown hills of the once holy
days of the graze
how did this land ever get to be?
ancient perplexity
perplexity of the ancients
in the settin’ sun
sandy soil
multi-coloured earth foil
bush scrub blue
in a church less land
no religion
no junk

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Indian Pacific: Cook & The Nullarbor Plain to Adelaide

The third of a three part account of a journey undertaken with my father on the Indian Pacific from Perth in Western Australia to Adelaide in South Australia visiting places along the way such as Kalgoorlie, Cook and the Nullarbor Plain.

Eventually of course a town did appear after the endless miles of plains but it was not really a town in the normal sense of the word, just the remains of one. Not really the remains of one of truth be told, but the remains of a small settlement of people who had once lived there in the middle of the vast emptiness of the Nullarbor Plain. Yes, we had arrived in Cook! It was around 11 when Dad and I got off the train and we had about 20 – 30 minutes to explore the place for ourselves, although to be honest you could have seen all there was to see in about 5 minutes flat. But that was not the point; it just felt so good to be able to stretch our legs and to walk on the earth of the Nullarbor. There was something about the freshness of the air blowing in through Cook and the silence of the plains which was fascinating by way of the sense of immensity the whole scene engendered. Mid morning and now the sun was high and bright, the sky was a brilliant blue and as we walked away from the Indian-Pacific I turned around in order to see for the first time just how long it was and realized that if Cook had had an actual station the Indian Pacific would stretched way out the other end of it.

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Indian Pacific: Kalgoorlie & The Nullarbor Plain

The second of a three part account of a journey undertaken with my father on the Indian Pacific from Perth in Western Australia to Adelaide in South Australia visiting places along the way such as Kalgoorlie, Cook and the Nullarbor Plain.

We had left the hinterlands of Perth and the Swan Valley a long way to the west behind us. It was now only small towns we were passing through as we made our way further inland, further into the interior. There were many farms which were clearly quite huge, we were right in the middle of the wheat belt after all, and slowly but surely the land was beginning to appear more untamed and less inhabited. At one point we passed a series of strange colored pools and lakes, probably caused by mineral deposits, and there was a beauty about their appearance which in the late afternoon sunlight was both haunting and mesmeric. The quality of my thoughts changed as well, and as if reflecting the lands we were riding through they were becoming less crowded. At this stage there was a sense which I can only describe as slate wiped clean; no religion here to speak of, people in this part of the world were too busy, too far away from anywhere to worry about things like that.

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Indian Pacific: Checking In at Perth West

A three part account of a journey with my father undertaken on the Indian Pacific from Perth in Western Australia to Adelaide in South Australia visiting places along the way such as Kalgoorlie, Cook and the awe inspiring Nullarbor Plain.

Wednesday morning was another fine day and after breakfast we got our stuff together and made our way down to the foyer where we checked out of the Esplanade in Freemantle. We said goodbye to the friendly concierge girl who proceeded to call a taxi for us as Dad pressed another couple of Aussie bucks into her open hand which then clasped tightly shut. We had to get to Perth West train station in order to catch the Indian-Pacific which departed at 11.55 in the morning and which we would be travelling on for the next couple of days, all the way to the city of Adelaide in South Australia.

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