Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Thunder Down Under: King’s Park & Botanic Garden

By Vic Midyett

I believe it was around 1898 when the Perth city forefathers decided not to allow development over the most scenic views of the city and Swan River, but leave it open to the public to enjoy. King’s Park & Botanic Garden covers almost 1,000 acres.
    As you enter at its main gates, you are majestically welcomed by well over 100 white gum trees (a variety of Eucalyptus), also referred to as Ghost Gum. Australian indigenous trees lose their bark every year during winter.

    That’s the Swan River and its south side beyond, the locale of expensive residences. On this side (unseen on the left) is Perth’s central business district, of which there’ll be a few photos later.
    Every year on Australia’s Anzac Day (like Memorial Day in the United States) thousands of dawn services are held across the country at each town’s war memorial site. The main service for Perth is held at Kings Park.
    Up to 100,000 people seem to magically appear in the darkness before dawn to face the memorial and stand in silent contemplation. The lack of talking or any noise, even from children, is a reverent and spiritually moving experience. It’s as though an unseen “respectful force” is in control of the masses.
    The first time Shirley experienced it, back in the 80’s, it blew her away. The silent actions of so many is truly a wonder to behold. From the magnificent shrill of the lone bagpipe playing “Amazing Grace,” to the triumphant and eerie sound of the lone trumpeter emotionally blowing out “The Last Post,” everyone tearfully stands in silent contemplation and respect with their personal and special thoughts.
   The many roads, pathways, and cycle ways throughout the park are lined with all manner of trees planted by surviving family member in remembrance of their fallen loved ones, and identified by a plaque at the base of each. It is a somber place, especially when you read the gold lettering at the base of the eternal flame below. I bubble up with emotion every time.

    In the distance where you see the monument rising up, there is a large internal white marble “walk around,” and chiseled on its walls are thousands of names of past soldiers from every war and conflict Australia has been involved in. You will always find red poppies or a tiny, painfully written note stuck next to names here and there.

    I did not take pictures of every wall – either inside or of the bronze ones outside.
    As you come out of the memorial you are met with the views below of the Swan River and, on its north side, the city of Perth.

    Coming down to the level of Perth’s central business district, below are some views that I especially liked:

Read about Anzac Day 2015 on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s website: “Anzac Day 2015: Tens of thousands gather in WA to remember lives lost in WWI.”]
    We need never to forget their sacrifice. Thank you, my own dad.

Copyright © 2016 by Vic Midyett