With Jo Trilling on Hidden Treasures for ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast, we took what used to be a trek but is now a hop and a skip up the road to Joondalup. Have a listen to the link below, or read on, or do both:
While you would never admit it to your kids or grandkids, there’s something that happens when your first-born child or grandchild arrives. It just seems to be imprinted on the memory a bit more. You remember every detail about their birth and those that come after aren’t remembered less fondly, they’re just not as well remembered.
Joondalup is Perth’s first planned city, built from scratch, born from the bush.
We can remember when we first travelled there. To be honest, we probably made sure we filled up the petrol tank.
When you arrived, you wondered why there were such wide streets and fancy paving. Who was ever going to love this baby and look after it and nurture it?
Joondalup is a big local government area but let’s focus on our traditional Hidden Treasure objective, exploring a suburb.
I’ve mentioned in the past the longing to get back to Bali. I’m really missing a swim that isn’t really a swim, just walking slowing through the middle of a big resort pool with a big hat on. Well you can do that in the suburbs, at the Joondalup Resort. It’s got a big resort pool that would completely remind you of being in Asia if it wasn’t for the singing of the magpies and laughing of the kookaburras as someone slices badly on the fairway of the resort golf course. Maybe the golfer was put off by the kangaroos that lie around the fairways. Currently the resort occupants are only visiting AFL teams. For the ladies, keep on eye on the resort calendar because in August they host a Ladies Night Market full of stuff…for ladies.
Time to move into the heartland of the suburb and take a look at Edith Cowan University. When I attended the campus you could look out the window and see kangaroos boxing in the bush. You still see the kangaroos but they’re now hopping through a very established campus, including hopping past the biggest periodic table in the world on the Science Building. It reminded me of the great pick-up lines for elements, “Forget Hydrogen, you’re my number one element.” and “Are you carbon because I’d like to date you?”
I think Edith Cowan herself would have wanted a mural of those pick-up lines on the science building somewhere.
Next up the road is the HBF Arena, home to the Cardi’s. I’m not going to say they’re mighty but they have put down very strong WAFL roots into the ground and like all WAFL grounds, it’s close to the heart of the suburb and easy to get to and watch some great footy.
Let’s head to the top of the suburb to Nanika Park to check out a mural. Murals and other public art are important to Joondalup because it doesn’t have an architecture yet that reflects the culture of its community, it’s simply not old enough yet.
So public art is a standout feature in this suburb because local artists are used and they consult with local schools and community groups to visually create what is important to them. The mural at Nanika Park is a great example of this. Local artist Hayley Welsh worked with Joondalup Primary School to create the whimsical, ‘Together is a Beautiful Place to Be’.
Let’s duck across to Yellagonga Regional Park which is a great stretch of wetland and pristine bush, full of walking trails and opportunities to sit quietly and watch an amazing assortment of birds that live in the area and migrate to the area. There’s even a jetty!
There’s a walk trail that starts at Lake Joondalup and makes its way for 28 kms up to Yanchep National Park called the Yaberoo Budjara Heritage Trail. It follows the movement track of the local Aboriginal people and was later used by settlers as a stock route.
The track starts at Neil Hawkins park which is nestled against Lake Joondalup and features some more examples of Joondalup public art that acknowledge the Aboriginal contribution and connection to the land through the Bibbulmun Yorga sculpture and the very cool Flight of the Black Cockatoo Table Tennis Table, available to play on all year long.
Next to the war memorial is the Two Up Brewery, a brilliant spot to try local onsite brews and they’re building a great reputation for creating products that also tell wonderful wartime stories about the role of service men and women, children and families.
Making our way into the cbd streets of Joondalup, there are murals and sculptures including the bizarre ‘Interlace’ that senses your presence and squirts water.
Joondalup’s love of public art continues into the evening with visual light display murals on the library and a remarkable sculpture called ‘Love Motels for Insects’ that lights up at night to attract horny insects who want a big night out on the town. Dirty bugs!
There are 1000 ceramic medallions with depictions by community groups, laid into the paving so watch where you’re walking because there’s a lot to see, including the Walk of Fame!
The Walk of Fame features name plaques of famous locals. There is a problem however because the Walk of Fame is missing Joondalup’s own hidden treasure, an 80’s and 90’s Perth rock god, now employed in the heart of Joondalup at the City of Joondalup. The lead singer of The Marigolds and The Neptunes, the one and only Jamie Parry, my big brother.
It’s a Hidden Treasure because you can enjoy getting there, particularly by train, and you can enjoy the luxury of a resort, parks, bushland and lakes, the tribalism of local footy and the defining of a maturing and connected community through its telling of stories in artwork on the ground and on the walls throughout the day and the night.
Joondalup is a hidden treasure because just like that first born, you’re always just a bit more interested to see what it becomes. You want to tell it, “I remember when you were just a twinkle in an Urban Planner’s eye!”