Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday Voice: From the mouth of the Swan River

By Vic Midyett

At least once a week Shirley and I like going to the mouth of the Swan River, in Fremantle (it also flows through Perth, as does the Canning River; read about where you can go in the Riverpark). Something is always happening.
    Last week we saw several large container and car-hauling ships coming in or moving out. A navy ship was in port, the HMAS Newcastle. [HMAS stands for “Her Majesty’s Australian Ship.”] The next photo makes it look wide open to approach, but not so.
I took the picture through a gap in a 9-ft steel fence encased in razor wire.

This old, revamped and refitted sailing ship serves mostly as a training vessel for navy recruits, but it doubles as an “at-sea experience” for mentally challenged and “problem” high school boys and girls. The experience on board over a week teaches them that they must rely on each other and take responsibility for their actions. They even have to do their own cooking and washing. Imagine that.
    It’s difficult to tell, but a new group seemed to be boarding the day we were there:

    I took the next photo to show the size of the sailing ship (on the left) relative to one of the daily boats shown in the next section.
The spinnaker-looking roof is on the West Australian Maritime Museum, in Fremantle. In the distance is the mouth of the Swan River as it empties into the Indian Ocean.

About an hour’s boat ride out to sea is a tourist island called Rottnest. For me, it has always been a dive for juvenile and unsocial behavior. It is marketed to families and Japanese and Chinese tourists, of which we get an abundance, but in my opinion, anytime you go you’ll find some sort of “trouble.” The next photo shows just one of the daily boats that shuttle back and forth to Rottnest three times a day. It holds close to 200 people.

Copyright © 2015 by Vic Midyett


  1. Great pictures Vic. Wish I could see them in person. Maybe one day but at this point in life I doubt it.

  2. [Submitted by email about 3 hours ago.]

    The HMAS Newcastle docked today (Sunday) in New South Wales, with TV stations covering it. They reported that the ship and its crew had not been home (Sydney) for six months. Several fathers met their babies for the first time.

    However, the biggest news for the country was that the ship had intercepted dozens of boats that were headed for Aussie streets with 1.4 tonnes [metric tons] of heroin. An excellent achievement! [“HMAS Newcastle crew applauded for drug interception efforts on Middle East tour,” Australian Broadcasting Company]

  3. Since finding out of the ships sea activities this week, something of interest has come to mind. When they were docked here on the West coast their presents was totally benign. At the bottom of the gang plank there were two soldiers strolling casually and I mused they were discussing that they would rather be fishing. They acted like they were killing time on duty and not concerned about anything. It struck me odd that no TV camera's or reporters were anywhere. I presume if they had let it known there was so much heroin on board, security would have been a big issue. But they were completely calm and cool about it all. Perceptions CAN be useful. Love it!!