We returned to Perth once again via a scenic route and we saw some very interesting sites.

We went along the highway until we saw the turn off to Lake Clifton and the Thrombolites. To see the what, you might ask? So did we as we had never heard of them before. They are a form of Stromatalite, millions of years old and still growing. The tiny micro-organisms which resemble the earliest forms of life on earth. When we saw them we found them to be most unimpressive looking, just like great big round stones in the water, but to see them as pre-historic makes one amazed. A walkway has been built from the parking area, where there are ablution facilities and information on the Thrombolites, because of the fragility of these particular Thrombolites.


From there we followed the road beside the Peel River Estuary to Mandurah crossing a beautiful suspension bridge from which we could look down on to the river mouth. There has been quite a lot of development of upmarket homes with mooring for residents’ houseboats. We turned into the town where we had lunch at Cicerello’s which has been an iconic Australian fish and chips restaurant since 1903. A customer orders from a wide selection of fish and chips: type of fish, size, how cooked etc. Absolutely fresh and delicious.

Peel EstuaryThe suspension bridge and some new homes

After lunch we walked around the immediate area of the centre in which Cicerello’s is situated. There was a lake with a fountain in the centre and a sculpture of a woman. A Pelican was standing nearby. It was clearly accustomed to people as it didn’t make any effort to move. A very moving memorial to missing children, some for over 50 years, was on one side of the open area. It was a small, circular and unobtrusive memorial but reading the plaques was a very moving experience. It was built on an old war memorial site by the Peel Zonta Club in 2006. Memorial services are held each year and are very well attended. 

memorial to missing childrenA portion of the memorial

Mandurrah Lake with fountain and pelicanLake with the fountain and the lady

We set off for Fremantle, just 60kms north at the mouth of the Swan River which flows down from Perth. It is the major port of W. Australia and goods travel from there up the Swan River to Perth. It was the first European settlement in W. Australia and where the first prison was built. This stands on a high hill above the town and is known as The Round House. It was our first port of call and a very interesting stop it was. For those who have any difficulty walking the front steps are steep and many but there is a road which is approached from the side of the local car park. It is marked as being for elderly and infirm.

Fremantle Round House stairs entFront stairs up to The Round House

The Round House has a number of rooms set up as original including the office of the Senior Warden, a kitchen, a room where cases were heard and some of the cells which were arranged around the central courtyard. In the courtyard was a set of stocks which could be used for a photo if one wished to do so. Next to this was a replacement of the original curfew bell which used to be rung at 21:50 every night to remind the prisoners who were allowed to go out to be cheap labour on farms that they had 10mins to be back at the prison.

 Fremantle inside Round HouseInside The Round House with Curfew Bell

Fremantle stocks in round houseThe Stocks

Outside the Round House there was a canon and a Time Ball facing over the harbour. From 1900 the original Time Ball was controlled electronically from the Perth Observatory but in 1939 this was stopped as radio signals could be used. A new Time Ball was installed in 1998 and since then it has dropped at 13:00 and causes the cannon to fire. In the grounds is a replica the type of ship on which the first settlers arrived at the port in the early 1800s.

Fremantle Time BallThe current Time Ball

Fremantle gunThe cannon

Fremantle boat sculpture at the Round HouseReplica of ship

Standing at the top of the steps leading to downtown it was interesting to see a piece of graphic art which linked the buildings with a winding yellow line. From the street next to each building it looked like no more than a yellow line on the side of a building. We walked back to the car park using the side road and went past the original Port Pilot’s home which had been converted into an artist’s studio.

Fremmantle view from round house 2Down town as from The Round House

Fremantle studio in former port houseFormer Port Pilot’s home

We drove to the waterfront where there was a boat called Leeuwin II which was used to train youth in sailing. They include sailing from Fremantle to Bunbury and Carol and Chris’ son once did this trip. There was also the WA Maritime Museum, the Port Offices and, across the harbour, was a ship on to which live sheep were being loaded into small cages for shipping to the Middle East and it seemed so cruel as it would be a long journey.

Fremantle Leeuin IIThe Leeuwin II

Fremantle Port OfficesWA Port Offices

Fremantle ship transporting sheep

Ship loading sheep

We then went for a drive around the city and saw some beautiful buildings – the Fremantle Post, Office, the SCOTS Presbyterian Church, the Arts Centre, the remains of a former Synagogue and St Patrick’s Basillica with very high spires.

Fremantle former synagogueRear of a former synagogue

Fremantle Post OficeFremantle Post Office

Fremantle SCOTS Presbyterian Church 2SCOTS Presyterian Church

Fremantle St Patricks Basillica with spiresSt Patrick’s Basillica showing the spires

As we were leaving the city we saw a most unusual sculpture on the roadside – was it a dog, a lion or some other strange looking animal? We got out, crossed the road and discovered it was a Chimera. In Greek mythology this was an animal with the head of a lion, body of a goat and the tail of a snake.

Fremantle ChimeraA Chimera

We finished the day driving the 20kms to Perth to stay until we flew home 3 days later.