Sam Bowker: The Grand Tour Diary (2005 - 2006)

This is the archived journal of a 2005-2006 'Grand Tour' around the Eastern Mediterranean and along East Africa, written by Sam Bowker, whilst in search of his PhD topic.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Dedicated to Lost Dutchmen

Just a quick note today. This morning began with a jaunt down the Swan river to see the mansions of Perth's uber-rich, and plenty of their moored yachts. It seemed telling that absolutely none were being used at any time I saw the river today.

Fremantle, where I spent most of the day, is a heritage-listed town under fresh paint. It's not unattractive, but it does feel touristy. Most of my time was spent in the two Maritime Museums - the new one, with flamboyant sail-like architecture, currently run by Dawn Casey (formerly of the NMA when I worked there), and the "ancient" one dedicated to the WA shipwreck legacy - primarily the tribulations of the Dutch East India company (VOC).

At the first museum I explored their Ovens-class Submarine. This beast presented an interesting logistical challenge for guiding small groups through exceptionally contorted spaces. It was like caving in an enormous engine room. The second museum's dedicated space for the Batavia was moving and impressive, as was their exhibition space dedicated to the Dutch maritime legacy in WA (although it was text-heavy, it accomplished the feat of a palindromic display - capable of being started from either end without confusion).

That afternoon, the Fremantle Gaol was a captivating experience. It's very similar to the Old Melbourne Gaol in layout, but was used as a maximum-security facility until quite recently. Unlike Melbourne, they have no provisions for self-guided tours so it's paid admission or nothing. The tour was well managed, and the speaker engaging and erudite.

Now I'm back in Perth, and off to the Hare Krishna's for a cheap dinner.

Sri Lanka tomorrow!



Post a Comment

<< Home