Last night we transferred from Darren and Gayles home to Al and Jens home. We certainly don’t want to outstay our welcome with any of our friends. A big thank you to Darren and Gayle for putting up with us and trusting us with the bat mobile. We will be seeing these guys before we leave the West because we still owe them $200 which they loaned us until our new Visa cards arrived – which of course they didn’t!! More on that later.
Al and Jen go back to our Shay Gap days in the mid 1980’s. Though none of us were there for more than three years, we made some very strong bonds which continue today.
Shay Gap was a company town, developed by Mount Goldsworthy Mining Associates to service nearby iron ore mines. The town was designed in 1970 by Lawrence Howroyd, for whom it won an Award of Merit in the 1974 Prince Philip Prize for Australian Design. Iron ore production started in January 1973.
At its peak, the town had a population of over 850 people which was about when we were all there. Mining activities ceased on 10 December 1993 and the town was closed in February 1994. Buildings and structures were either sold, demolished or relocated to Yarrie. It had a fully equipped school up to about Year 7 when the kids then had to go off to boarding school. What is strange for these youngsters is that as looking back as adults now, they have no physical place as to where they attended school.
It was a very artificial environment where wages were good, good housing was cheap and a lot was subsidized. A lot of the time we were all trying to find ways to get back out to the real world but we did make the most of the time we were there. TV was nonexistent and no one had a VCR so we spent a lot of time entertaining ourselves. Fras was there for three years whilst Di lived there for 18 months. We are having a Shay Gap reunion in about a week so hopefully there will be some classic photos to share with you from back then.
We settled in with Al and Jen who kindly allowed us to use their road bikes so that we could go out on some adventures whilst they were at work. We have never been on road bikes before but what we did discover is that they go really faaasst. Quite different to our mountain bike and hybrid bike back home.. We wizzed around an 18k course along the Swan River in no time.
This is the city skyline looking from the south.
Gotta get in the obligatory selfie.
There is a lot of parkland around the Swan River with an extensive walking and bike path system which took us through the edge of the city.
The above photos have been taken along the new Elizabeth Quays area which has been named after Liz Windsor. Of course the Aussie has put their own bent on it and deformalised it to Betty’s Jetty.
A nice bit of art work along the way. As you can see, the weather was magnificent but that westerly wind from the Indian Ocean gave us a good head wind. It was a great ride though our ischial spines (bum bones) were well tenderized by the time we got home.
Our very good friend who was also Frasers best man, Christopher Potts was in town from Kalgoorlie so it was a must to catch up with him. You can best describe Chris as a bushy who Di has always said was born in the wrong century. He would have been one of those pioneers who followed the gold rushes around the world as they occurred. He currently holds a number of leases out bush of which he is working a few of them so he can honestly say he owns a Gold Mine. Good opening line when chatting up
We got married on a boat in Sydney Harbour back in 1989 and we dragged Potsie from his comfort zone of the Aussie bush to the big time city. Potsie had a ball taking all the guys up to the red light area of Kings Cross doing a cost analysis of the ladies of the night. He and Fraser also dragged them down to Oxford Street which is the gay area of the city of which most of them stood with their backs to the bar!!!
We will be going out to Kalgoorlie next weekend with Al and Jen to visit Potsies gold mine and also let Fras reminisce about his student days out there at the Kalgoorlie School of Mines which is also where Al and a Jen went.
We spent a couple of hours catching up before he headed out. Our evening was spent with Al and Jen, and Jen’s mum and dad, Hugh and Jan which we have not seen for 28 years. They very clearly remember their visit to us when we lived in Sydney of which we had a vague recollection but enjoyed them reciting their memories. It was great seeing them after all these years and have invited ourselves around to their place a little later for a cuppa.
This is Brian (alias Dex) who is Al and Jen’s little parrot. We know he looks like a budgie but he is a parrot. He doesn’t talk but does like to come out of his cage and sit , oh, and also shit on you. Di got her animal fix for this week.