10 May, 2016

Perth by David Whish-Wilson

This latest little gem in New South’s  city series takes us to sunny Perth, the capital of Western Australia. Isolated geographically from other major Australian cities Perth is located on the coastal plain where the Swan River meets the Indian Ocean. Fremantle is it’s port.
Home to the author since he was 10 years old and surveyed in 1829, it was the first Australian city to be built to a plan. Surprisingly, it’s also one of the windiest cities in the world, with a south westerly called “the Fremantle Doctor” that sweeps in off the ocean.

Throughout four fascinating chapters;  River, Coast, Plain and Light, Whish-Wilson weaves a magical spell of history, flora & fauna, personalities and memories.  
Gliding through his rich layering like the Swan River itself, which flows in two directions at once at certain times of the tide, I was willingly lured into this dream of Perth. The picture he paints is so tangible you can almost feel the heat, so it’s no surprise that the dozens of local beaches play a central role in Perth’s sense of self.

Unfortunately, like most stories of colonisation, there is  also a sad side to the story. The aboriginal people of the area were known collectively as the Whadjug and the coast, swamps and lakes were their hunting grounds but hostile encounters with settlers led to massacres, diseases, and the loss of their traditional lands.
Like the others in this series Perth is a highly recommended read.
Title: Perth
Author: David Whish-Wilson
Recommended by Claire S, Information Services, Central library
Claire’s reading includes biographies, art, New Zealand and other interesting bits and pieces.

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