Time For A Change
I know this blog has been quiescent for quite a while, but for anyone still out there listening this will be the last post (metaphorically) with a new name, the reason for which will become clear if you keep reading, taking over.
After 36 years living opposite Perth’s Hyde Park, it’s time to complete what we started after coming back from Melbourne in 1984. In Melbourne, we’d rented a townhouse just off Lygon Street, Carlton, which is inner-city with lots of interesting cafes, restaurants, bookshops and the like. Coming back to a Perth suburb was a bit of a letdown, so we started looking at places with some of the Carlton ‘vibe’ – the most obvious being Fremantle. It was the wrong time, though, as after Alan Bond’s 1983 America’s Cup win, Fremantle was abuzz with preparations for the 1987 defence – and property prices were going through the roof.
So we found Highgate/Mount Lawley – just 20 min walk from the centre of Perth, local schools and great local amenities. For some reason, not many people wanted to live here, then, so houses were really good value.
In the mid-1990s, it seemed that even the City of Perth didn't want us - and the Town (now City) of Vincent was created. For the nearly 15 years after that, I was on Vincent Council - you must 'blame' the late Jack Marks who lived next door and, in the way that only Jack could, told me to put my time where my mouth was when I used to sound off about the way in which the City of Perth split was done. The result was nearly 15 years hard labour - otherwise known as being an elected councillor - on top of a full-time (and often frustrating) job and four children.
And here we still are (well the kids have left home) – until Thursday 28th January.
The new place is actually quite old – a front two-level unit above the shopfronts in a converted biscuit factory - the Mills and Wares factory on South Terrace in South Fremantle. A few liberties taken on conversion in mid-1990s, but the art deco styling preserved and extended – the original factory dated from 1899, but none of that remains.
There’s a great little patisserie immediately opposite and lots of coffee shops (including one that does its own roasting) and restaurants within walking distance – as well as really good conventional shops 10 minutes walk away and a great newly-opened continental deli less than 100 metres from us.
We're only one street block back from the sea - and, as we're on the second and third stories with windows on both west and east (including a balcony on the sea-side), we catch the sea breeze whenever it appears. Natural cross-ventilation is supposed to be good feng shui.
For those who don't know South Fremantle, it is a delightfully-quirky place – in some ways rather like a throwback to the hippy days. I don’t know of many places, for example, that have a stick library for dogs at the beach – although the Grauniad tells me there is one in a park in New Zealand.