Busy!

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I have to wonder why I started a blog when life is so nuts! No posts makes for a boring blog! Oh well, here’s some waffle to fill the page…  🙂

I was pleased to see this on the local paper’s website tonight – some happy news for a change –

https://thewest.com.au/news/rottnest/rottnest-island-how-roger-federers-quokka-selfie-sparked-a-wa-tourism-rush-ng-b88751329z

Roger Federer has about 31.4 million social media followers (almost as many as my blog!).  It is great that he has promoted Perth, and particularly the beautiful Rottnest Island, to the world.

Rottnest Island (known as Wadjemup to the local Noongar people, and otherwise colloquially known as ‘Rotto) is an island off the coast of Western Australia, located 18 kilometres (11 mi) west of Fremantle.  Dutch sailors landed there on several occasions during the 17th century.  The island was named by Willem de Vlamingh in 1696, who called it Rotte nest (“rat’s nest”) after the quokka population (he thought the quokkas looked like big rats).

Rottnest island is a stunning place, with world class natural beauty. Quokkas are absolutely adorable little animals.  I recall that as a child living in Scotland, when we found out we had been accepted to emigrate to Australia, my Mum started giving my brother and I ‘lessons’ on what our new life down under would be like.  She was somewhat misguided as we were instructed that we would have acres of fruit trees, and possibly our own aeroplane! I don’t know what she had been reading / viewing to form that sort of idea!  We have always lived a normal suburban life here, wonderful though it has been 🙂

I digress… one of the ‘lessons’ was about quokkas. I remember when we went to Australia House in Edinburgh for our final interview / visa collection, the official asked me (I was 7) what I was looking forward to the most about our new life in Australia.  I replied ‘seeing a quokka’.  His reply? ‘What the hell is a quokka?’…

We flew to Australia on my brother’s 6th birthday, and as a birthday treat we were allowed into the cockpit.  I still remember being amazed by all the dials and buttons, and remember the pilot pointing out the window and saying “That’s Sri Lanka”.

Back to Rottnest Island… I can’t finish this post without acknowledging its sad past as an Aboriginal prison.  Between 1838 and 1931 (except for the period from 1849 to 1855) Rottnest was used as an Aboriginal prison.  Some 3,700 Aboriginal men and boys were imprisoned there during the life of the establishment.  There may be as many as 369 inmates’ graves on the island.  Work is currently in progress to acknowledge this and build a memorial.

If you ever get a chance to watch Martin Clunes’ “Islands of Australia”, one of the episodes is about Rottnest Island.

Last but not least, related to the topic of European / Aboriginal relations, I am only a few pages into my new book ‘The Lieutenant’ by Kate Grenville, and I can already tell it is going to be an amazing book… I am looking forward to having a chance to settle down with it. It’s a short book and once I get the opportunity to relax with it, I think I’ll make short work of it.  I’ll let you know!

Susan

Author: Blissful breaths

My wish is to create here a haven of joyful simplicity, where I hope you will join me and find comfort, care and clarity. Fill your tea cup and let's chat :)

6 thoughts on “Busy!”

  1. What a shame that such a beautiful place has such a sad history. Haha, I like the story of your mother’s Australian lessons! Were you terribly disappointed about the lack of your own plane? The quokka looks a cute little thing. I wonder, living in Scotland, whether you ever saw pine martins? We have visited the western isles a few times and loved that they would come and take jam sandwiches from the porch each evening. I’d buy loaves of bread especially and leave several out for them. They were so interesting to watch.
    I’m going to look up that book you’re reading.

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    1. Hi Eloise. I think I moved on from the disappointment re the plane quite quickly! She must have been watching some footage somewhere of cattle stations in the Northern Territory, some of which are the size of Hong Kong! It was exciting enough to see some of the new and different animals and birds. The house we moved into was in a new area, so there was a lot of bush land around. We regularly saw blue tongue lizards in our garden, which were amazing to a child from UK. Didn’t see any snakes, thankfully (some are deadly). Cockatoos and parrots were the most exotic birds we encountered – they are beautiful but cause a lot of damage to crops and even to sporting grounds with their digging and foraging. I have not seen a pine martin – only in pictures. They are so cute! We lived in St Andrews for a couple of years before moving to Australia, as my Dad was in the RAF there… I don’t recall seeing much wildlife of any sort.

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  2. Hi Susan. Thank you for your kind comment on my blog. I loved hearing about your trip to Scandinavia. I’ve never been to Perth but I have been to Sydney and the Gold Coast. It’s one of my most favorite places I have visited. Thank you for sharing this sad but historical bit of your country’s history. I do hope you’re having a busy but good week. My best to you, Pat xx

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    1. Sydney is a stunning city! I have not been to Gold Coast yet, but we hope to go soon. Last year we went to Cairns, in far North Queensland, as my husband had a conference there. That is a truly beautiful part of the world, and hard to believe it is in the same country as Perth – the weather and landscape is so totally different. Tropical humidity, sugar cane fields everywhere, rainforest, wild crocs in the river… amazing.
      We loved Scandinavia and want to go back! We met long-lost distant relatives of my husband’s.. a couple who live in Sweden and another couple who live in Stavanger. The wives are sisters and are third cousins of my husband’s, with whom he connected online a few years ago. They all met us in Copenhagen and showed us around the city for a few days before we embarked on our cruise. After the cruise, one of the couples hosted us in Stavanger. They are all the loveliest people, and they hope to visit Perth this year. They just could not do enough for us. I plan to write more on my blog soon about my trip last year, before I start forgetting it!

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