Friday, 9 January 2015

Leake St, Peppermint Grove

The route from Fremantle to Leake St, before the GPS died. 

Friday 29th November, 1833 p.30 

Yesterday’s excursion had so greatly fatigued me that I resolved to stay quietly at home today and arrange my treasures, but after breakfast I could no longer bear to stay within four walls. Mr Harrison, the Assistant Surgeon of the settlement, paid me a call and I suggested that he take a walk with me to the other side of the Swan River. Some of the plants I found here were new, but the plague of flies was even worse here than on the other bank—Moses could have visited them on Pharoah with the greatest success. I saw here two kangaroos as big as hares, called wallabies by the Aborigines {presumably ‘quokkas’ or ‘tamars’}. The name kangaroo is not known to the Aborigines {here}.

Rail Bridge, Fremantle

View up the Swan from the footpath over the bridge to North Freo

Tuesday 25th November, 2014 

Luckily I am not getting tired of my almost daily walks under the bright West Australian skies. While it feels hot directly under the sun it is in fact only the early part of the summer, or, more precisely it is Kambarang, the Nyoongar season of birth, where wildflowers bloom and new life begins.  

Hügel may have been disappointed with what lay before him as the Alligator approached the coast, but actually he was arriving in Nyoongar country when wildflowers were blooming and the weather was milder than the subsequent months would be, making it more suitable for his collecting activities. Plus, it is invigorating to walk through suburban landscapes on the lookout for traces of what Hügel might have seen.

I followed his walk through what is now North Fremantle. His journey across the Swan was quite different to mine. In place of the Port of Fremantle and the traffic heavy bridge, he would have hopped between sandbars—a shifting landscape between salt and fresh water.

Silos, North Fremantle

From North Fremantle I walked along the high northern bank of the Swan through Mosman Park. I looked across to Point Walter, where I had walked last Saturday and saw more clearly the long sandbank stretching out at least halfway across the river. This thin little peninsula called to me, and mid afternoon I convinced fellow artist and rubbish collector Tim to drive there and we walked out into the middle of the river; tiny Plovers skipped and skittered along the waters edge with their babies. Not wanting to disturb them we stopped short of where tufts of grasses and shrubs provided shelter for their nests.

Continuing along the river frontage I walked through the new suburbs, built in place of the post-settlement Fertiliser Plant and Sugar Refinery, they are abutted by extensive ecological restoration work and accompanying didactic panels.

Point Walter, Perth CBD in the distance

Mosman Park with Melaleuca Hugelii in the foreground

Reveg along the foreshore

More indigenous planting at Mosman Park


Friday 29th November, 1833 p.30

I was astounded by the huge fruit of the Zamia. They grow fairly close together here and several had more than one spike of fruit each weighing between 40 and 50 pounds. This Zamia never occurs as a tree, although I found several with stems three or four feet high and almost as thick in diameter. On the other shore of Rocky Bay opposite the ferry, I found large Callitris trees growing on jagged rocks. Today we dined with Mr Leake. After dinner Mrs Leake played on the pianoforte and then we played a game of whist. I mention this to show some thought was also given to entertainment in the new colony.


Tuesday 25th November, 2014

I had decided to walk all the way to Leake St, Peppermint Grove. I wondered if this road was named after Mr George Leake, the merchant who Hügel met in 1833, or perhaps it was named after one of his descendants. It seemed as good a place as any to turn west towards the sea.

Somewhere near the Coombe Reserve I watched a local resident rush across the grass and empty her lawn clippings and garden waste onto the cliff top plantings. I watched her curiously, and she told me it was fine, only grass clippings. I walked on wondering if I should have told her that the dumping of garden waste into parks and open outdoor space was a key way in which plants ‘jump the garden fence’ and become weeds.

Boardwalk along Mosman Park Heritage Trail

Hardenbergia seed pods

My GPS tracker/camera ran out of charge at Leake St, so my final photo of a gorgeous colonial house on the corner of Leake and the foreshore did not save. In 1891 the tiny and affluent suburb of Peppermint Grove was formed, the subdivision taking place under pressure and advice from George Leake and Alexander Forrest, whose name is given to a parallel street.

Peppermints still line the streets, and I followed Leake St all the way to Cottlesloe where I treated myself to a new publication of Alfred Watkins’ The Old Straight Track, before continuing on my own straight track to Cottlesloe where I cooled off in the sea before walking down to Mosman Park Train Station—2 stops later I was back in Fremantle and thinking about Point Walter’s almost isthmuth and my next walk—later the same afternoon—with Kate Kelly along the route of the proposed Roe 8 Highway.

more trail

Reflective rubbish

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