We arrived in Perth almost on time yesterday morning. I think that to be just 5 minutes late and after 4300 kilometres is really good. The train crew told us that it would take 40 minutes to unload the cars, but we had a frustrating wait of over an hour before our car cam off. Then it was a quick inspection by the quarantine people before We could be on our way.
We headed north and stopped in at the town of New Norcia (Nausea) as Jill calls it. We had lunch in the very primitive roadhouse there and fortunately they had a hot pie in a sealed bag, otherwise it might have been. Case of Nausea. We stopped just log enough to take a photo of some of the buildings of this old Benedictine monastery and orphanage which were established in 1847. It’s old Spanish style buildings are quite incongruous In the Australian outback and it’s interesting to think about this place being at its peak between 1860 – 70 with farms, schools, and a complete religious settlement.
We travelled on to Geraldton and reached our motel by 5.00 pm. Dinner last night was at the very nice Beach House restaurant. It’s specialty is local rock lobster. Deleicious!
Today, we had look around town and a drive around the harbor. There is a very large port here from which iron ore, mineral sands and wheat are exported inn enormous ships. This activity is synonymous with are main reason for visiting here; to see the memorial to HMAS Sydney which was sunk off the WA coast in WW2.
It is indeed a beautiful memorial. There are four main features. Firstly a semi circular wall at the back of the memorial records the history of the ship and the names off the crew – every one of them perishing in it’s sinking. Secondly, there is a central memorial dome, supported by seven pillars, with the dome consisting of 640 seagulls – one For each member of the ships crew. Thirdly a large tower, symbolic of the prow of the ship forms a mast for the national flag, The most moving part of the memorial is the figure of a woman looking out to sea, waiting for the return of her man. Her bronze figure is dressed in a 1940’s style dress, she wears a wedding ring and a necklace on which hangs an anchor. She is clearly the wife of a sailor.
We spent a long time looking at the memorial and were very interested to read all the jobs of the individuals in the crew. As we left, we waved to the waiting woman who will still be there looking out to sea tomorrow and the next day.