West Australia 1995/96 (11/2/96)

As it was getting cold in the UK I decided to checkout Perth as a place to live. I arrived in Australia on November the 13th. I spent a couple of weeks seeking inspiration in Perth. Sightseeing , visiting the port town of Freemantle, the holiday island of Rottnest, and having surfing lessons at Scarborough Beach. I also checked out the theatre scene including being roped into carrying a giant coffee cup down the main strip in Freemantle during the play Cappuccino Strip.

Map of my WA travels

The South West - Apple Thinning

After giving up on Perth because of all the freeways and pollution I headed south with the thought that if I kept on travelling then something might happen. I visited the town of Bunbury ,but the famous dolphins didn't make an appearance. I bumped into some people heading to Donnybrook in search of orchard work. As I result I ended up staying on a farm helping to thin the apple trees. After 8 days I was sick of the flies and everytime I closed my eyes all I saw was apple trees ; so I decided to travel on.

South West- The alternative Culture

I stopped off at tourist town of Margaret River, but I found it a little boring and decided to hitch out towards Denmark. I came through the quaint museum like logging town of Nannup and saw a poster for the Black Cockatoo Hostel. I checked it out and found that it's a great place to stay for people interested in alternative lifestyles (permaculture, communities etc.). So I stayed there two days.

I was interested in visiting the alternative community called the Wolery near to a town called Denmark. Whilst hitching there I stopped at the feral (an Australian word for a domestic animal living in the wild , here applied to new age hippies) community at Deepriver. They were really kind people ,but I was shocked to find that they all had terrible leg sores from leading a life a little to basic for my liking. Again the people at the Wolery were very kind and I stayed there a night. However I was disappointed to find that the sense of community had waned and really with 17 families living in separate houses well spaced apart it was like an exclusive private executive estate.

Hippytown WA

The region of Denmark has a high number of alternative thinkers mixed in with locals, as well as rich people now moving down from Perth. With a population of 3300 everyone seemed to know everyone else and there was very much a strong community spirit . I went to a local meeting about the local councils policy towards logging and over 100 people turned up. To me that's how democracy should be, whereas city people don't have the same kind of intimacy with their local politics.

I checked out the possibility of working on organic farms in return for free rent, but didn't find what I wanted.

Web Writing

So I travelled onto Albany. Here I lived at the YHA hostel in return for writing the YHA webpages.

Last Saturday I saw a brilliant travelling puppeteer Alan Hightfield in Albany then in the afternoon I hitch-hiked upto the country town of Mount Barker to see their Mardi Gras festival. A local country fair with tinge of alternative performance such as fire juggling with people from Denmark.

Christmas and Backyard Cricket

I went back to Nannup for a lazy Christmas (including lots of games such as backyard cricket and killer darts.)

Heat and Coincidences

I wanted to avoid New Year's Eve so I hitched up to the Avon Valley. It was quiet as everyone had gone away to escape the summer heat. I first stayed at the town of Northam and then hitched to the historic town of York. I got a lift from a Pastor and his wife who were moving down from the far north of the state. They mentioned they would visiting friends at the recording studio. I popped into the local telecentre and showed them how to set up a webpage for the local community radio station York FM ( in return for checking my e-mail). York being a small town I kept bumping into Brett (the pastor) and Jenny all day. The youth hostel had closed down so the tourist office gave me the address where I could stay. When I arrived I found that it also happened to the recording studio; so I was very embarrassed when Brett and Jenny turned up 10 minutes later. Julie and Dave were very kind to me when I stayed so here's some info about his recording studio Oracle Recordings, where Jennifer Butler is making her next album.

Fear of the City

The anonymity of Perth was frightening after the countryside so I went to stay just outside in Mundaring Weir (where the 500Km 100 year old water pipeline to the goldfields begins). It was a little too quiet so I came back to Freemantle to sit in on one of Alan Blackwood's classes. I hung around in Perth waiting for inspiration. I did a one day singing class at the University of WA.

Heading to Where the work is....and cauliflowers and more cauliflowers

I realised I was spending a lot of money in Perth and since there are so many backpackers looking for work in Perth I decided that it would be best to head south to the agricultural districts. I ended up at the working Hostel called Tobacco Park 10Km outside Manjimup. The hostel liases with farmers and delivers workers to the farm. So I spent 2 and half weeks cutting and planting cauliflowers to pruning Kiwifruit etc.

More Travel, more Adventure More Internet

It was a bit boring stuck out at the hostel so once I had earned some money I hitched hiked south in search in further adventures . When I passed through Walpole I was lucky enough to find a trip out to the Tinglewood forest , where they are building a new tree top walk and boardwalk so visitors can get to appreciate the forest without damaging it. Whilst in Walpole I saw a poster advertising the Telecentre (community learning and computer centre) open day ; so I popped in and offerd to demonstrate some internet things. There I was fortunate to bump into Rod Bailey who was busy doing some computer documents to do with the Natural Health Retreat Co-operative heís setting up. I stayed with Rod and compiled this update from the telecentre the next day.

More Computer Battling

I travelled on towards Albany to stay with Walter at the Albany YHA again. He wanted me to help out finishing the YHA Webpages. I used a lot of my patience battling with the computer and eventually error checked and jazzed up the pages which can be seen at http://worf.albanyis.com.au/~yhawa

WA is OK but I Haven't Found Home Yet

My visa's expiring and I'm not really inspired to extend it. WA has a lot going for it the wealth and the climate, but as with the rest of the western world shallow commercial, money driven culture still prevails. There are some people with good ideas, but I didn't meet anyone right on my track.

Looking for work in Brunei and Singapore

Iíll fly from Perth to Brunei on February 13th, and I hope to check out the possibility of doing a little work there maybe internet training or something. From there I have a ticket to Singapore so I might look for work there also.

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