We're still here in Busselton. We spent yesterday aboard because of strong winds from the W/NW. One thing about anchoring, when the winds change direction and increase dramatically, there's always a chance of dragging. Staying aboard is the prudent thing to do. Sometimes we use that as an excuse for being lazy, but in this case, it was a legitimate reason. Not to mention, I've had a miserable cold, so staying aboard was fine. And,actually, pics from the boat weren't all that bad. We had a pretty good view.
Anyhow, back ashore today, it was good to stretch our legs and venture out a bit further than Busselton's iconic jetty. The foreshore is very well appointed with paths, protected swimming areas and lots of tree-covered picnic spots and roaming around space. There are several little restaurants and souvenir shops. There's a climbing wall for kids and huge trampolines with bungee harnesses that let the kids bounce extremely high with minimal worry of injury. It looked like fun.
There's artwork placed here and there. I especially liked the bronze bust of French explorer/navigator Nicolas Baudin … mostly because I could get a pic of Cups at anchor into the same shot.
We walked up Queen Street, a pleasant boulevard lined with shops, leading directly from the beach to the town center. We stopped at the Court House thinking it was just a coffee shop and soon found out it was an historic place as well as a gallery displaying local artists' works. Much of the old court house/police station/jail (gaol) was still intact including the court room and jail cells. Since David was in his Alcatraz t-shirt, it seemed most appropriate to take his mug shot and put him behind bars … all before we had our flat whites.
Across the street, a statue in front of the GeoArt Building caught our eye and we walked over to check it out. It was a life-size bronze of a pregnant woman standing next to a large trunk entitled “The Whaler's Wife”. The story surprised us. During American whaling voyages, sometimes officers brought their wives along. During the voyage, many of the women became pregnant and were left in Busselton to fend for themselves while their husbands went back to whaling … sometimes for a year or more. If educated, the women could often find room and board in exchange for teaching. What a hard life for these women and a compelling story to tell in this artform.
With such an introduction, we had to see what else GeoArt offered and since it was open, we went in. It's not particularly large and we soon found out that The Whaler's Wife was unveiled recently and is the first in a series called The Settlement Art Project. The current exhibition is entitled Sandakan: The Story that Must Be Told and it is most appropriate having just celebrated ANZAC. It tells the story of the internment of Australian and Allied soldiers and the Sandakan forced death marches in Borneo during the Second World War. It is compelling and horrific at the same time ... a testament of man's inhumanity to man. Reading the accounts and looking at the exhibits brought tears to our eyes. It was one of those things that are worth seeing, but will be troubling to our hearts and minds for a long time.
Needing to lighten up a bit, we continued up Queen Street. I must note here that we haven't seen a traffic light in a very long time. Australians, like the British, used roundabouts (rotaries/traffic circles) most effectively and there's one at every major intersection.
The school holidays are over, by the way, and it was ever-so-evident in town. Where the foreshore and jetty were crowded and bustling over the weekend, today was just the opposite. It was bustle-less. Many of the seasonal shops, like the dive shop for instance, have just changed to winter hours. Many of the restaurants were closed or had limited hours. Winter is fast approaching and it's time for us to head north, then west. Maybe starting tomorrow?
In the meantime, here's a sunrise shot of the iconic Busselton Jetty. It's always beautiful.