6 December 2016

Moooching Around Perth

I've only just found out that in America 'mooch' means to ask for or obtain something without paying for it. But in the UK it means to loiter or walk aimlessly. That's what I have been doing, moooching around Perth looking for cows! The city is the venue for 40 life-sized cow sculpture creations by some of Western Australia's most exiting artists. I wasn't specifically looking for them, I found them because they were just there.  I only found 12 which when I tell you I didn't know where I was, isn't bad. When I say I didn't know where I was, I wasn't lost, I know where Kings Park is, and the Bell Tower, and I roughly knew in which direction the station was, I just didn't know the streets I was walking in, does that make sense?
The exhibition has been running since the 31st October and will end on the 11th December. Some will be auctioned to raise money for child health research. 
So let me introduce you to some pretty ladies.

Alice by Tjyllyungoo, the traditional name of the landscape painter Lance Chadd, a Noongar man from Western Australia. This work was inspired by Chadd’s father in honour of all Aboriginal Stockmen.

Untitled by Peter Farmer

Netter’s Atlas by Janna Braddock

Palindrome by Helen Smith

Pop Colour Cow by Penny Coss

Bubblegum Bessie by Minaxi May

Beauty X Ethics by Benjamin Kontoolas

Holy Cow by Poppy Lissiman

Comodity Cow by Lisa Dymond

Luxury Lady by Alister Yiap

Missy Moo by Jean and June Pastore

Le Grande Panache by Pascal Proteau 

Hope you have enjoyed meeting the lovely ladies.

I have also visited Kings Park and Elizabeth Quay which I will tell you about at a later date. 
I'm off to Adelaide tomorrow to stay with some friends for a few days.

Stay warm and well.

4 December 2016

Lunatics and Artists

Fremantle Arts Centre is housed in an historic, attractive limestone building dating back to 1861. It started life as a Lunatic Asylum, those two words are grim and I don't think I can even imagine how ghastly life must have been for the wretched souls incarcerated in those institutions. 

In the 1850's Fremantle and Perth was a growing colony. Mentally ill convicts were housed in temporary depots and overcrowding created the need for a more permanent solution. The asylum took four years of convict labour to build and contained seeping wards, dining rooms, exercise yards, a wash house, kitchens, 2.7 x 2.3m cells, padded cells were added later, and staff quarters. A 1.8m high wall divided the male and female wards. Overlooking the ocean the asylum was thought to be a scenic and healthy environment for the patients and far enough away from ordinary colonial life.

Insanity in those days differed greatly from today's understanding of mental health. It was common for any form of social deviancy - criminality, poverty, depression, alcoholism, mental illness or sexual activities to be labelled "lunacy". Tragically the asylum also housed women who had been abandoned by their husbands or families for behaviour that would not be considered as a mental illness today. Patients suffering from epilepsy were admitted, prostitutes left by their owners after contracting venereal disease, all were labelled insane and locked up. There is even a record of a 9 year old boy being admitted. Patients were referred to as prisoners and with no active therapy very few patients improved and many stayed for 20 to 40 years or until they died.

Daily life in the asylum consisted of work and recreation. Men baked, cut firewood and pumped water. Women ran the wash house, laundering garments for the asylum and nearby prison. Card games, chess and reading provided entertainment, and regular performances were given by local musical societies. There was also a cricket team and two religious services a week. I hope they experienced some happy times, or at the very least were happy in their own world.

One famous inmate was Moondyne Joe. Born Joseph Bolitho the the son of a Cornish blacksmith, he was shipped to Perth in 1853 aged 22, as a convict for stealing bread and bacon.  Granted a conditional release, Joseph was soon involved in a horse theft, escaping with the magistrate's bridle and saddle, causing much embarrassment to the authorities. This began a lifelong string of arrests, imprisonments and bold escapes. By the age of 72 Joseph's strange behaviour led to his arrest as a loiterer and his subsequent committal to the asylum in 1900. He passed away later that year and was buried in a pauper's grave, number 580A, at Fremantle Cementary.

That  same year a special committee condemned the asylum as unsuitable for purpose due to overcrowding, insufficient staff and the inability to separate docile from dangerous patients. By 1908 all patients were relocated to a newly built facility. 

After 1909 the building became a women's home, including children. The elderly, destitute, abandoned wives, unmarried mothers, prostitutes, all were regarded as being of low social standing. Once the women arrived matrons would decide their freedoms, rewards and routines. In 1910 in response to a high mortality rate a midwifery training school and maternity ward was created. 

By the end of the 1920's insufficient funding, rat, termite and cockroach infestations, rising damp, structural collapse and poor sanitation meant the building was falling into serious disrepair and it was in a far worse state than the women's prison. Before World War II the women were moved to Woodbridge, a former boy's school where conditions were no better.

By 1959 the old asylum had seen 3 eras of history and the structure was crumbling and vandalised, the gardens were littered and overgrown and its haggered appearance inspired ghost stories. Developers proposed demolition which was met with despair by locals and authorities who saw the old asylum as an important part of Fremantle history. Meetings and a year of negotiations followed. In 1963 the Chairman of the the National Trust of Great Britain weighed in, writing "Don't you let them demolish this building, it's the most marvellous example of colonial gothic architecture in Australia". Finally in 1967 state funding was secured to establish a museum and community arts centre in the building.  

Today it is a thriving multi-arts organsiation offering programs of exhibitions, art courses and music.

 It has a shop selling lovely gifts, jewellery, homewares designed by local artists.

And when you've had a look around the exhibitions, bought a trinket or two in the shop you can relax in the courtyard cafe. 

At the time of my visit there was an exhibition of the life and work of Frank Norton, a significant figure in the WA art scene. He was the first Official War Artist for the Royal Australian Navy and went on to become the Director of the Art Gallery of WA for 18 years (1958-1976). Known as a painter of ships, Norton was a practical administrator not afraid of controversy. He worked tirelessly establishing a collection of Aboriginal art and a new gallery as the centrepiece of the Perth Cultural Centre.

2 December 2016

The Dingo Flour Mill

Every time she drives past it Mona Rankin waves at North Fremantle's Dingo Flour sign. 
The sign is a well-known landmark of a stylised silhouetted red dingo created by her late father.

In 1940 Les Nash, a talented sign-writer was paid £40 to paint the now iconic dingo on the side of the  flour mill. It took him about a week to complete the logo. Aged 9 Mona remembers watching her father convert a small sketch into the huge red dingo silhouette. His first sketch was transferred onto graph paper and then he used the gridded panels on the silo to guide his large- scale transfer onto the silo itself.

The Dingo Flour Mill started life as a flour mill operated by a Co-operative company at Narrogin, a wheatbelt region of Western Australia from 1903 to 1912. A new company named Great Southern Flour Mills was then formed to take over from the Co-operative. 
For a number of years the Company Secretary tried to persuade the board to set up a mill in the Perth area. When his proposal for enlarging the Narrogin Mill was rejected he resigned saying he was going to set up a mill in North Fremantle. A move that proved to be very timely. Recovery from the First World War and a bumper wheat harvest meant that the mill was fitted with state-of-the-art machinery to ensure "that only the best grade of flour is produced" and the company became a major force in the milling industry. The brand name 'Dingo Flour' was in use at this time for the North Fremantle mill and subsequently became the brand for the Narrogin mill as well.

The sign had to be painted over during World War II but its outlines were still visible and after the war in 1946 Fred Parnell repainted the dingo and gave it an eye.

It was one of the first images refugees and migrants saw, and it remains a useful reference point for boaters and anglers. 

Today the building is an historic and heritage-listed working flour mill with silos, an office, laboratory and other buildings. It has commonly been referred to as "The Dingo Flour Mill" for many years. The Dingo has been repainted many time but it has never been redrawn or redesigned. It is painted every month now.

I like the dingo logo, it appears on t-shirts, shorts, shopping bags, mugs and more. I have a fridge magnet with it on and 
I am looking out for a nice shopping bag. 

Little did Mr Nash know just how famous and enduring his dingo sketch was to become. 
What a lovely piece of history. 

Stop Press I passed the mill on my way to Perth today and the Dingo has gone!!! The wall looks very forlorn without it. 
I'm hoping that it has just been removed for renovating, my top photo does show some significant wear and tear.

Front Page News - I have just googled the sign and it is being refurbished. The new logo will faithfully replace the old one and the red paint has been closely matched. It should be back in place in time for Christmas. The original panels will be kept safe while their future is decided. I'm glad I tool the photos when I did! :-)

28 November 2016

Fremantle Markets

Whenever I visit Fremantle one of my first stops is the markets

I love this place, it has everything, 

fresh fruit and veg

bread and cheese


scrumptious cakes

just in case!

Lots of lovely food stalls. I am a regular visitor to the crepe suzette stall. Its difficult to choose just one,  my favourites are smoked salmon; spinach, cheese and tomato; or ham, cheese and pineapple,  but I have no difficulty choosing between banana, honey and almond; strawberry and ice cream, or my all time favourite - maple syrup. I must add that I don't have them all at once!! The market is on for three days a week, so I visit each day!

Beautiful textiles and clothes, most of the non food items are quite expensive but good quality. 

pretty gifts

 good luck message stones hand crafted by local Aboriginal artists

hand crafted didgeridoo's

and paintings also by Aboriginal artists 

door knobs


soap, shoes, coffee, the English sweets stall

love these skirts

steampunk top hat and helmet

this bracelet was beautiful but sadly too big for me 

surfing Santa

Christmas baubles

underwater photo art

paintings by local artists

 have a caricature done or a henna tattoo

have some leather work made

 or stand awhile and listen to music. This young boy was playing the piano beautifully, the audience were mesmerised. 
I've seen a few musicians performing here, I think people request a time slot to perform. 

And of course no market is complete without buskers. 
The Freo markets are famous for their buskers.

Hope you have enjoyed your tour of Fremantle markets. 
This is just a few of the many stalls, I could fill three or four posts with them all!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...