ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast: Hidden Treasures goes up, up and away in the Avon Valley

Giant Man and Tiny Balloon

For ABC Saturday Breakfast Hidden Treasures, Ro and I went somewhere we haven’t been before … beyond Perth! Up and over the escarpment and east to the Avon Valley.

There’s a reason that songs are written about being in the air. 

‘Come Fly With Me’, ‘99 Red Balloon’s, ‘Up, Up and Away’ and ‘Danger Zone’ are just a few of the classics inspired by the feeling of being up there, where the air is rarefied.

Let’s have an adventure that is discovered in the darkness but is soon revealed by the dawn of a new day. 

Let’s go hot air ballooning!

The Avon Valley isn’t far from Perth and if it was north or south it would just about qualify as part of the Perth Metropolitan Scheme.  Being just over an hour’s drive away it’s wonderful how easy we can leave the city behind, even if it’s just for a few hours.

Arriving at the Northam Airport I’m the first to arrive and there is nobody at the airport except for the resident cat.  It’s so cold that the cat jumps into my car. 

As other people start to arrive and huddle around the coffee making facilities, I’m taken by news articles on the wall that describe the history of hot air ballooning in the world. This sounds like the beginning of a joke but it’s true, in 1783 a sheep, a duck and a rooster went riding in a hot air balloon in France. 

I had thought that the airport would be our take off point but Damien, our chief pilot, has been letting go of weather balloons and squinting at the night sky like an old sea captain. For this morning’s flight with Windward Balloon Adventures we must head west of Northam.

These guys have all the permissions required from the shire and farmers to access properties, so long as we remember to close the gates.

Still in complete darkness, our pilots inflate the balloons as they lie on the ground and the roar and brightness of the gas burners is a bit like those aerobatic displays of jet planes whooshing over your head. 

After a final briefing we climb into our basket and just like that, we’re away. No seatbelts. No worries.

Dark Shadows Welcome a New Day

I’ve done some wonderful air related activities in my life from the fastest and longest zipline in the world with my daughter Matilda down the side of a mountain in South Africa, to twice jumping out of aeroplanes, flying a beautiful Tiger Moth over Perth and the seaplane to Rottnest, and even trekking up mountains and being above clouds.

When I jumped out of an aeroplane I thought about the words of John Magee, a World War II Spitfire pilot who wrote a poem called High Flight with the first line, “Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth” and the last line, “Put out my hand and touched the face of God”.

Astronaut Michael Collins died recently, and he once remarked that he wondered what John Magee would have been inspired to write if he could have been in orbit above the Earth. 

As we ascend from the paddock that becomes a mist shrouded valley beneath, I looked to the east and had author Douglas Adams’ words in my head, “There is a moment in every dawn when light floats and there is the possibility of magic.  Creation holds its breath.”

Creation Holds Its Breath

I can tell you I held my breath and it was amazing.  In so many of life’s travels and adventures it’s been the sites and sights that are the most awesome but what was so immersively different about a hot air balloon experience is that sound becomes part of the canvas before you.

It’s mostly silent apart from the whoosh of the gas burners every so often to get some altitude. Looking down and around you’re suddenly struck by the sounds of parrots having an early morning squabble in the trees over who’s sitting on the best branch, sheep all going baa as they move across a paddock far below and even a dog barking from somewhere. 

There are other balloons to help with the perspective of what we’re all a part of this morning.  They drift along as we drift along and we rise and fall and our hearts sing with the joy of witnessing to a new day in a beautiful part of the world.

A Collective Noun for Hot Air Balloons is a … Drift

As we continue to drift, we travel over bushland with granite outcrops beginning to be warmed by the early rays of the sun and kangaroos jumping through the trees and in the distance on hills to the west we can see the shadow of our balloon and directly below us the reflection of the balloon is crystal clear in the river below.

We land in a harvester scarred paddock with a gentle bump and everyone helps roll up the balloon into a bag that is much easier to manage than any sleeping bag.

The Avon Valley stretches from New Norcia in the north to Beverley in the south, with the historic communities of Toodyay, York, and Northam all just a short Spotify playlist of flying tunes away.

Northam has the Avon River running through it and the champagne breakfast after the ballooning is held in a café overlooking the river, complete with white swans and suspension bridge.  During a champagne toast we are all welcomed to the club of Balloonatics.

Hot air ballooning seems to be on the bucket lists of many people but keeps getting pushed down the list not from the fear of hanging from a basket but from getting up so early.  Get over the time thing and get it done. It’s just an hour away and you’ll be up, up and away. 

Windward Balloon Adventures in the Avon Valley

Special Tip:  The National Ballooning Championships will be held in the Avon Valley between 30 August and 4 September, with lots of opportunities to be a spectator and a participant. 

Giant Man in Tiny ABC Studio

Heeding the call for the Rottnest ANZAC Day Dawn Service: as published by Rottnest Fast Ferries

But the band plays Waltzing Matilda, and the old men still answer the call,
but as year follows year, more old men disappear, someday no one will march there at all.


The line above is taken from the Eric Bogle song, ‘And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’.

I remember a time in the 1980’s when there seemed to be a popular sentiment that ANZAC
Day would fade away when there were no more old Diggers to march.

It didn’t work out that way. Across Australia, ANZAC ceremonies continue to grow and the
sense of importance it has in our communities is encouraging people to travel to ANZAC
services in communities abroad.

Maybe not quite ‘abroad’ but one of the dawn services in Western Australia that is increasingly
resonating as a remarkable experience, beyond just the significance of the event, is the
Rottnest Island ANZAC Day Dawn Service.

One of the best characteristics of a dawn service is that it takes a small level of commitment
to get up at a time when you would rather be sleeping. There’s a feeling that the small effort
you have to make to attend the service is part of the respect you are paying.

As a family, we arrive at Hillarys at 4:00am for the departure of the 4:30am ferry. The queue
is noticeably different for a Rottnest bound ferry. There is no tangled pile of bikes being hoisted
in cages aboard the boat. There are no fishing rods, eskies and towels slung over shoulders.
It is also very quiet.

Speaking to people on board, it’s apparent that most of us are attending the Rottnest Dawn
Service for the first time. Dawn, a rather apt name, remembers her father who had been in
the merchant navy always saying he would have liked to have been out at sea and seen the
sun come up over Australia on ANZAC Day. Merv, a Rottnest Volunteer Guide, is looking
forward to preparing our Gunfire Breakfast after the service.

I haven’t been on a sea in darkness for many years. Standing at the stern of the ferry and
looking down at the churning white wake and then looking up at the stars I thought I was about
to reminisce about my younger days on sailing ships but with the moment at hand and on my
mind I thought about the ANZAC’s making their way ashore in a variety of small craft, ill
designed for the landing. At that moment, I thought what it must have been like to be heading
towards an enemy shore, not just running around Blackboy Hill at the foot of the Darling
Ranges.

A ships modern radar that may have been helpful at the Dardenelles in 1915

It is the first time Rottnest Fast Ferries have taken a ferry from Hillarys for the Rottnest Dawn
Service. Up in the wheelhouse I meet James, the skipper, and in between safely navigating
in the darkness around bulk cargo carriers and cruise ships we talk about the appropriateness
of Rottnest Island for a Dawn Service. In 1915, the first ships from the first convoy from
Australia left Fremantle a day before the ships in Albany. Their last look at Australia was
Rottnest Island.

Our Rottnest Fast Ferries skipper guiding us in to Thomson Bay on Rottnest Island

Arriving at Rottnest just before 5:30am, we were directed to Thomson Bay beach where the
service was due to commence. On cue, the first hues of orange began to rise from the east,
backlighting the Perth city skyline, across the sea and land, 30km away.

While the roar of a crowd can be uplifting, the silence of a crowd can be more inspiring. I
remember as a kid the Narrogin ANZAC Day Dawn Service, dark and cold, frost crackling
under feet as we would make our way across the grass to the memorial, towards the orange
glow of cigarettes being drawn on by old diggers, followed by a few raking coughs up and
down the line.

The lack of banter, the lack of chat. The will to gather in a silence that says so
much.

All over the world, as the sun rises, those of us at ANZAC Day Dawn Services are quiet.
The service is held under the protection of flights of pelicans that glide overhead. The wreath
laying includes representation from the Beaconsfield Primary School Rottnest Island Campus,
9 students who attend school on the island and who have also made a paper poppy display
in the Old Salt Store.

With the growing light I am able to look around at the crowd and I am stunned. I had thought
that gathered around my family was about 500 people but clearly there is a crowd of at least
1500.

After the service I speak to Penni Fletcher-Hughes from the Rottnest Island Authority. We
stand in the Gunfire Breakfast queue and after discussing the numbers of people who have
attended we both agree to just enjoy what is unfolding around us. People are standing at the
shore of Thomson Bay, hugging each other and looking out to the rising sun over Perth, others
are capturing photos of the Australian flag with the dawn sky behind and in the long breakfast
queue a bracing breeze passes over us, carrying with it on the air the promise of bacon, eggs
and onion in a warm roll.

Gunfire Breakfast

I also speak to the Chairman of the Rottnest Island Authority Board, John Driscoll, who was
the Master of Ceremonies for the service. John makes the comment that the wreath laying in
particular is an example of the deep and broad community feeling for ANZAC Day on Rottnest
with a wide variety of government agencies and volunteer groups represented.

We depart the island for the trip back to the mainland at midday. As always, when it’s time to
leave Rottnest it’s not the happiest trudge down the jetty to board the ferry. This time it’s a bit
different. I feel connected to a new story, a new perspective and a new community of people
so passionate about this remarkable event.

Rottnest has given my family an engaging and enduring experience. It always does, but this is different. We are all a bit tired but more than a bit proud to have been a part of a spectacular Centenary ANZAC Day Dawn Service that the Rottnest community made a lot of effort to deliver.

Also from ‘And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’;

And the young people ask, what are they marching for? And I ask myself the same question.

I think we’re all marching. We’re all marching to ANZAC services all over the world. We’re all
marching to remember.

ABC Saturday Breakfast: Hidden Treasures in the streets, trails and hills of Armadale

A full studio, full of fun with Ro, Molly, Matilda and Tom all part of the action. How cool is the ABC? Participating in making great programs and having my kids watching it all come together is very special. For this edition of Hidden Treasures we recounted the recent experience of a trip to Armadale that included Tom and his mate Nick.

Armadale is tucked up against the south eastern corner of Perth.  This side of the hills but right on the edge of them.

With our Hidden Treasures we often talk about one of the characteristics of a Hidden Treasure being that they’re often bypassed or driven through at a great rate of knots.

Armadale is a great example of a suburb that gets driven through a lot that is worth slowing down for and having a look around.

It was always the first taste of the city for me when we’d make the drive up in the Toyota Crown.  You’d hit those first traffic lights and be in awe of the city traffic and annoyed that Mum hadn’t stopped at the Pioneer Village. I always wanted my picture on one of those ‘Wanted’ posters.

It’s become Perth’s version of Melbourne’s Daylesford. Lots of places with the words wellness, calming, spiritual, organic and retreat in their names.

Ro loves her sport and so let’s start at the Champion Lakes Regatta Centre.  If you’ve ever wondered when flying into Perth what that big rectangular area of water is, it’s the home of rowing and there’s even a beach and some good walking and cycling tracks around the lake.  Remember, rowers row early if you want to catch the action.

Armadale Visitor Centre – lots of information and free maps with walking trails for trekkers, families and dogs. There’s also local produce including chutneys, jams, pickles and …. lemon butter!

Bert Tyler Vintage Machinery Museum has really well restored and refurbished agricultural machinery and there’s even a Furphy water cart.

The History House Museum has some good recognition exhibits of Aboriginal history in the district and also some very cool old harpsichords, pianos and organs with musical links to many of the old churches in the area.

Urban Art Trail – big murals by local and international artists.  How cool are murals? This is a walking tour through the urban heart of Armadale that has identified tired old spaces and turned them into breathtaking, inspiring places.

Heritage Tree Trail – Lou from the Armadale Visitor Centre has written the Heritage Tree Trail Guide that takes you on an urban walk to 13 of the best-looking senior flora citizens in Armadale.  There’s a Sugar Gum planted in 1910, Moreton Bay Figs planted in 1890, a Jarrah tree more than 500 years old, a carob tree which is the sole survivor of an orchard back in 1900 and lots of others all waiting for you to give them a big hug.

30km’s of Bridal Trails in Darling Downs, which isn’t an old 1950’s radio serial, it’s a horse inspired residential area in the southern Armadale area. (properties connected by the bridal trails.

Brackenridge Village and Retro Rescue Antiques and Collectibles is one of those shops where you keep saying, “I used to have this!”  I looked at the Skippy melamine cup and plate and was thrown back to my childhood having a vegemite sandwich and apple juice.  From daleks to car badges, glow mesh purses to optic fibre lamps, this store has more than enough for anyone who loves the stuff we used to have.

Locke View Poultry Zoo requires a call before you visit.  Astrid was kind enough to allow myself, Tom and his mate Nick to visit unannounced … but only after I made Tom and Nick clean out the cages and move a load of firewood. 

Astrid showed the boys some quails as they were hatching and how she helps the little chickens who are born unable to walk.  She makes little braces with bandaids and is a lot easier than making little crutches out of toothpicks.  She had such an impact on Tom that he is no longer saving his allowance for Nintendo games, he wants chickens.

Canns Road and Soldiers Road are part of the Armadale Hills Scenic Drive.  On the map you think you’ll take about half an hour to get from one end to the other but you end up taking three hours as, along the roadside, are signs that say, ‘Honey Here’, ‘Fresh Persimmons’ and other local produce as well as kangaroos that are paid by the Armadale Visitor Centre to sit in the bushland of Wungong Regional Park and wait for you to stop and get out of your car for a photo before skipping away.

Armadale is a hidden treasure within a hidden treasure.  There’s a lot that’s easy to discover in the heart of Armadale but if you take the time to get up to the hills and onto some winding backroads you’ll find even more treasure.

Have A Go News Newspaper: Turn to page 28 to see how to ride a bike on water in the middle of Perth …

Click on the link above, or download if you prefer, the full edition of Have A Go News (hint: my story is on page 28).

You’ll find the Perth Waterbike Company on the shores of the Swan River just on the southern side of the Narrows Bridge. They’re also over at Rottnest and Penny and Nev are happy for you to suggest sites and sights you want to see, or you can tag along on one of their organised tours.

Read all about the experience that Tom and I had riding under the Narrows Bridge and how it easy it is to have an adventure on the water, in the middle of our city.

Riding a waterbike doesn’t just have to be seen as a summer activity. Over the cooler months it’s still enjoyable on the water and even with grey clouds instead of Perth’s trademark blue skies it’s still great to get outside and try something new.

Just another link above, this time to a pdf of page 28. Have a Go News is published every month with a circulation of more than 80,000 copies. Have A Go News is also available online at http://www.haveagonews.com.au

Perth Waterbike Company can be contacted on http://www.perthwaterbikeco.com.au and @perthwaterbikeco

Tell them Chris sent you. It’s not worth a discount but tell them anyway!

ABC Saturday Breakfast: Hidden Treasures in Mirrabooka

The Shaping Futures Mural

For Hidden Treasures on ABC Saturday Breakfast, Ro and I discussed Mirrabooka. While it was sad to have to phone in for the show, rather than the scheduled Outside Broadcast at Mirrabooka Square, it was a good opportunity to share with listeners just what a great community and range of activities, and food, can be found in Mirrabooka.

Mirrabooka is only around 12 kilometres north of the Perth CBD.  At its core is a population that makes it one of Australia’s most culturally diverse areas with more than 50 nationalities calling Mirrabooka home.

Mirrabooka doesn’t have an iconic pub or historical landmark and there isn’t a drawcard that is likely to feature on a postcard but that’s not what a hidden treasure is.  A hidden treasure is something you need to discover that you value and want others to value.

I haven’t spent enough time in Mirrabooka to know if cultural diversity is what best defines the community but I know from growing up in a small regional community and working in regional communities across Western Australia what to look for when I’m trying to find a heartbeat, searching for a soul and finding stuff to do.

Let me tell you a little story of a recent Mirrabooka experience.  My son Tom and I visited a local treasure last weekend, the Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant.  It’s run by a family and we met the father who greeted us and the daughter who served us and here’s the point;  when we left an hour later we knew all about the family who worked in the restaurant, we knew that the restaurant is named after a town in Ethiopia that is renowned for its churches that are cut into the rocky ground and often joined by tunnels and trenches.  We learnt about Ethiopia’s great coffee, the amazing national dish which is a bread called injera and filled with the health benefits Teff flour and we even had a discussion about Ethiopia’s former Emperor, Haile Selassie.  Here was a family filled with passion for their homeland and their new land.  That’s a hidden treasure.

Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant

Mirrabooka is part of the Bush Forever Project, that seeks to protect significant plant and animal populations in the Swan Coastal Plain.  The Bush Forever Conservation Area in Mirrabooka is a beautiful 130 hectares of banksia and wallaby filled wilderness that you can walk through and feel connected to, even though it’s bordered by major roads, including Reid Highway.  Like its famous cousin Kings Park though, it’s big enough to not hear the traffic and small enough that you won’t get lost.

Beautiful Banksia’s in the Bush Forever Project

Mirrabooka has a Harmony Art Trail that celebrates and is inspired by the different cultures that live in Mirrabooka. 

Murals abound throughout the area including the Harmony Mural on the walls of this shopping centre, featuring Indian style Mandalas which traditionally signify unity and across the road from the shopping centre is the famous Shaping The Future mural, first painted by artist Steve Cross nearly 30 years ago and given a facelift just a few years ago.  Shaping The Future features faces from many backgrounds, including Syrian, Filipino, Greek, Vietnamese and Aboriginal.  The central character is the laughing face of local legend and Noongar Ballardong Elder Doolan-Leisha Eatts.

The Shaping Futures Mural

Mirrabooka is held together by a community that comes together and does stuff well.  There are regular community markets but it’s more than a place to find some cheap toys for the kids or some plants for the garden.  The stallholders are encouraged to participate in a program run by Mercycare and the City of Stirling to learn how to run a stall like a business; including customer service skills, hygiene when preparing and serving food and marketing what is being sold.

Finally, Mirrabooka has an ongoing program that has flourished since it was launched by the City of Stirling and the State Government.  The Mirrabooka Library resources and the people who work there are treasured by the community. In 2017 the Mirrabooka Community Hub was launched with a range of services that focus on youth development, multicultural women’s health, craft clubs and newcomer tours but it’s the Innovations Lab I want to tell you about this morning.

The Innovations Lab is a space that provides resources for community members to explore new technologies, invent new technologies and make community connections through the exploration of ideas in the world of 3d printing, laser cutting, computer coding, making robots and opportunities through the use of Virtual Reality and using bananas to make keyboards and play tunes on it using an electronics kit called Makey Makey.

Visit Mirrabooka and enjoy a bushwalk, a cultural art trail walk, great local markets with lots of craft and food, great food from a range of very authentic and passionate cafes and restaurants and try out your skills in the Innovations Lab and keep an eye out with what’s always happening in the Mirrabooka Regional Open Space which has regular events that include lots of family activities including animal farms and you wouldn’t believe it … even more local food.

If Mirrabooka had one of those number plate slogans that regional communities love to have it would have to be, “A community thrives here” or maybe “We have lots of food”.

Exotic, authentic and exciting food at the Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant and many other culturally diverse restaurants throughout Mirrabooka

ABC Saturday Breakfast: Hidden Treasures explores suburban war memorials and services.

Chris Parry, Jo Trilling and Molly Schmidt, presenting and producing Hidden Treasures for ABC Saturday Breakfast

When I was a boy growing up in Narrogin the old men and women in my community had been soldiers and nurses at Gallipoli and the Western Front in World War I. They had been Prisoners of War on the Thai Burma Railway and they dropped supplies to the soldiers on the Kokoda Track.

Attending the Narrogin War Memorial on for the ANZAC Day Dawn Service was all about watching the glowing orange line of cigarettes being drawn on by the old fellas, followed by raking coughs.

It was all about being quiet, and being a small gathering. It was about taking the time to remember, for as Lord Byron wrote, “There are deeds that should not pass away and names that must not be forgotten.”

On ANZAC Day across Western Australia there will be over 70 services but there are many more memorials than that across our suburban and regional communities.

For a special Hidden Treasures program, we looked at the smaller memorials and services throughout our community. Acknowledging the popularity of the big services at Kings Park and Fremantle, I’d like to suggest some of the special places for smaller crowds that might interest you.

Wadjamup Island holds a beautiful service on Thompson Bay. A predawn ferry ride in the darkness from the mainland to the island, watching the sun rise over Perth on the distant horizon and imagining the troop ships departing Fremantle for foreign shores and enjoying a hot gunfire breakfast after the service is one of Western Australia’s very special ANZAC Day experiences.

Above: Wadjumup Island ANZAC Day Dawn Service in Thompson Bay

Ocean Reef in the northern suburbs is a spectacular memorial with a 6 metre high arch that focuses your attention on the horizon out to sea. It’s located at Bat Harbour Quays in Ocean Reef.

The Sandakan Memorial in Kings Park is tucked away behind the Kings Park Tennis Club and remembers the more than 2400 Prisoners of War, including 137 Western Australians, who lost their lives at Sandakan and on the three death marches in 1945. Just a little walk away from the memorial are three plaques for the Dorizzi brothers, Herb, Tom and Gordon. These three were brothers from Toodyay who lost their lives at Sandakan and on the death marches.

Above: Memorial Plaques for the Dorizzi Brothers from Toodyay

North Fremantle has a very poignant memorial on Queen Victoria Street. In 1901 North Fremantle was admitted to the Western Australian Football League. In World War One, half the team was killed. With the loss of the entire forward line, the ruckman, ruck rover, fullback and other players, the team never played again.

Above: North Fremantle War Memorial on Queen Victoria Street

Finally, the ANZAC Cottage in Mount Hawthorn, built in a day for a returned serviceman in 1916, is open over the ANZAC Day long weekend. It’s a great opportunity to visit with your family and remember that paying tribute to our fallen and those who have served is just part of the ANZAC story. We also reflect on the lives and communities at home who lost loved ones and whose lives and communities would never be the same again.

Above: ANZAC Cottage in Mount Hawthorn

Visit your local memorial, discover one in a distant suburb and learn their story and place in our community.

Lest we – or anyone – forget.

ABC Saturday Breakfast: Hidden Treasures of Mount Hawthorn

Over the Easter long weekend, the Hidden Treasures program for ABC Saturday Breakfast discovered Mount Hawthorn. If you missed it, just look up ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast and look for the April 3 episode, scroll the sound bar to nearly the end and you’ll find me having a great chat with Roanna Edwards.

Just to the north of the CBD, Mount Hawthorn is a suburb with big streets full of big green trees and big wide laneways where kids have built their own skate ramps and bike jumps.

The attraction of Mount Hawthorn as a hidden treasure is not just that there’s a lot to discover, it’s that it’s successfully gone full circle.  Like most old suburbs of Perth, it had a town centre feel about it when it was first established but over time it just became part of the rat race, an almost annoying need to slow down as you made your way along Scarborough Beach Road. Once again, it asks you to slow down like you would have done in the old days and discover the old and the new.

Let’s start in the green streets of Mount Hawthorn and discover some bus stops and a little cottage that was built in a day while a crowd cheered and provided food and drinks for the builders.

ANZAC Cottage in Kalgoorlie Street, was built in a day in 1916 by the local community for a returned serviceman from Gallipoli, Private John Porter. Work started at 3:30am on the 12th of February 2016 and at 5pm the final touch, raising a flag at the front of the house with the letters ANZAC embroidered on it, was achieved at 5pm. 

On nearby ANZAC Road and up Kalgoorlie Street, have a look at the bus stops that have been transformed into tributes to the Vietnam War and the Gallipoli campaign, complete with murals and sandbags. 

Now let’s take a tour along Scarborough Beach Road in Mount Hawthorn from Braithwaite Park on the western end of the suburb, to Axford Park on the eastern end of Mount Hawthorn’s retail heart.

Braithwaite Park is one of those parks that back in my day I would have called a theme park.  In my day a playground had a stainless steel slide and an old milk crate for parents to sit on and watch you burn yourself on the slide.  This park has Perth’s best version of a flying fox and it’s called the cable ride.  It’s about 40m long and perfectly exciting for wide eyed children discovering the thrill of speed for the first time.  There is a nature play area with rocks to scramble over and tunnels to run through and shady barbeque areas that make this one of the best known kids party locations.

Next stop is one of the reasons why traffic stops along this strip.  With a quirky shop front on Scarb Beach Road and with an entrance up a little laneway is the Art Garage. 

From its grimy and greasy past as a mechanics garage to its central role in supporting local artists, inspiring young minds and developing community spirit, the Art Garage hosts exhibitions, runs workshops including ones for these school holidays.  Learn to draw, make soap, do some pottery, indoor plant design or turn up in your favourite 70’s outfit and learn how to do macrame. Over Easter, stop by and have a look at the wire sculptures by artist Jan O’Meara which include a full-size mare and her foal.

As you walk towards the shopping strip, keep an eye out for the street art and murals including my favourite, the wombat, which isn’t using his legs because he’s flying along with a pair of bat wings.

For anyone old enough to remember what main streets used to look like before malls and shopping centres, fill your nostalgic heart by looking up at the Tredways Shoes sign.

If your nostalgic heart is still beating from the Tredway Shoes sign you’ll find trestles of old vinyl records being sold out the front of a local shop that sells books and records inside.

The iconic Paddington Ale House is our next stop and is the beating and boisterous heart of Mount Hawthorn.  From relying on a sports bar and those always after a big night, these days it’s more about meals for families, date nights and all of it in an environment of refurbished history.

Now we’ve reached Axford Park – Named after a World War 1 local soldier who won the Victoria Cross and lived in Mount Hawthorn. It’s a small park with a big heart.  There is a memorial to those who have lost their lives in war and a wall of remembrance and twice a year the City of Vincent hosts an ANZAC Day service and a Remembrance Day service, supported by local schools who lay wreaths and sing the national anthems of Australia and New Zealand.

In summer, Axford park hosts food trucks on Friday nights and throughout the year in the adjacent carpark you can discover the Provedore Markets, Perth’s best market for imagining you’re in Italy.

So next time you’re wondering where to go for a day trip, give Mount Hawthorn a go. Lots of history, lots of activities, lots to eat and drink and a lot to like.

Top Tips For Enjoying Western Australia

As published by Have A Go News, Western Australia’s most popular newspaper.

I’m always really excited to be published by Have A Go News. This newspaper is popular not just because of its content but because of the people who work on it with such passion to produce an issue every month.

Find your copy of Have A Go News throughout Western Australia in libraries, leisure centres, council and government offices and other community centres.

ABC Radio: Hidden Treasures

On ABC Saturday Morning Breakfast with Ro Edwards, listen in as we explore Hidden Treasures of Perth. We’ve explored the past and present of historically significant Guildford, the remarkable world-class aquatic adventures of Rockingham and the small but jam packed full lifestyle of East Perth. What’s coming up next? Let me know if there’s a special place in your neck of the woods that we can talk about.

Pics below: ABC Saturday Morning Breakfast (pics by Matilda Parry)