Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

26 February 2012

Our 1960 Journey to A New Life in New Zealand. 14.

This is a diary from 1960. The actual entries are in typewriter font. Added comments are in red. The photographs are from that date, some in colour (expensive in those days).

11th February

We had a fine party on 9th in the cabin of two [Australian] girls, Val and Margaret. Margaret disembarked at Fremantle so had a farewell party. Plenty of beer floating about with empty bottles being jettisoned into the sea at frequent intervals.

[Disgraceful pollution to us now with 21st century values, but we thought little of it, especially when, everyday, the ship’s rubbish was thrown overboard to leave a trail of slow sinking detritus across the Indian Ocean. I imagine it still happens but more covertly...]

Finished up at 2.00am but some saw Fremantle come into sight at 5.30am!

When we awoke on 10th we were already in Fremantle; we went down for breakfast but before we could start we had to go to immigration and have our passports scrutinized. The Aussie authorities won’t allow anybody to go ashore until everyone has been screened.

We went ashore at about 10.30am. And we caught the bus into Perth.
[Don King's Park, Perth]

Perth is a beautiful city built on sand. It is very clean and the streets are wide and well surfaced. The people seem to take life quite easily and there is no harsh hooting of motor horns all the time. We went to the Kings Park which gives a perfect panoramic view of Perth. As we entered the park we were struck by the heady scent of the gum trees. The grass is much coarser than in England and is rather like the grass one sees in shops as a display. We looked down on the bay and the city twinkling in the sunlight, and at the base of the hill we were standing on was the new Narrows Bridge of which the Perth people are very proud.

We had lunch in the restaurant at Kings Park. It was a very enjoyable steak and milk shakes and was quite cheap and very hygienically prepared and served.

Later we travelled back to Perth City, had a look around the shops and returned by train to Fremantle past the little suburban shops and beaches, finally over the Swan River back to the ship.
We sailed from Fremantle at 6 pm. We are now sailing around Cape Leeuwin and are gradually coming under the influence of the heavy swell of the Australian Bight. This makes the ship roll like hell.

[Perth was far more modern than I expected. A bright, white city, and as such, in contrast to Fremantle, which had an old-fashioned and scruffy look. I don’t know what I had expected from Perth, something old and colonial perhaps? Trying to converse with the bus driver was my first encounter of an English accent that was so far removed from the ones I was used to that I could hardly understand him. I asked him whether I should pay our fare to him. He replied, taciturnly I thought, ‘Theersaclicktron.’ He had to repeat it three times to me, each time slower than the one before, until I realized that he was saying ‘There’s a collector on.’ From which I gathered that the bus had a conductor on board.]

© DON DONOVAN
donovan@ihug.co.nz
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Blurb

RANDOM SAMPLINGS F...
By Don Donovan