Greetings From Western Australia

A journalistic narrative of a journey through western Australia around 2010
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  SYNTHAISSANCE SUPERWAVE Greetings from Western Australia! We’ve covered a lot of ground in the pastmonth since we left Tasmania and it’s been quite an adventure. For the first time since Deloraine we’ve got our own little place again for a while courtes of Gus and ulie here in Alban. The have a nice #hobb farm$ on the increasingl less rural outs%irts of town& their place is bufferedb '( acres of paddoc% and wetland but the #devel$ of development is encroaching from ever direction. Three ears ago when ) first visited this area felt remote and quiet& now noise from construction machines and traffic is prett much a constant even as ) write at *am. And when ou loo%out bac% what used to be a distant tree+line has been replaced b roof+tops of the ubiquitous and unecological #paddoc%+turned+development$ bo, houses& these almost cancerous growths seem to be popping up everwhere we go.-ut for now we have a place to wor% on our creative proects and we are ver than%ful. After a wee% resting up cleaning our gear resi/ing photos and painting roc%s we’re almost read to start on our second film #The 0hronicles of -alarnia$ about our adventures at Arni’s place on Flinders )sland. ECHOES OF TASMANIA 1ince we left -alarnia we house+sat for our friend o in Deloraine Tasmania for about a month where we did massive amounts of art and created a second medicine wheel using four %inds of culinar thme in the corners. o’s living room has awesome natural light and made a fantastic temporar studio space. Deloraine is a quiet little communit and is the srcinal #alternative$ 23 #hipp$4 center of Tasmania. At o’s we ironed out the final technical details of our first film #0ro 5((6$ and started burning copies for everone.-efore returning to 7elbourne we did a little visiting including 8oger and 9atherine 1choles in :obart. The are an interesting and creative couple& she is an internationall+%nown author and he is a film+ma%er whose proects include a documentar about Arni for the A-0 a few ears ago as well as being a master house+builder. 8oger’s current video gear which he will upgrade with his ne,t film gig is what ) hope to have in the near future&he showed me a mi%e that costs more than m D*((! ) was impressed when 8oger told me that he has ;< terabtes of hard+drive to use for his proects=)’ve onl got 5! :e told me about one thing he’s wor%ing on basedon a boo% called The 1inging >eanderthals which involves the paleontolog of communication using sound& this has a lot in common with m interest incetacean communication. And it was cool to learn that 8oger %new photographer ?eter Dombrovs%is quite well and that it was 8oger who shot the footage of ?eter in the wilderness for the A-0 doco Wildness .  While in :obart we visited the top of 7t. Wellington a massive mountain that looms over the cit. )t’s a huge presence and home of man par%s rivers water+falls and wal%ing trac%s but at the top are two huge microwave antennas one of which loo%s e,actl li%e a colossal albino penis or roc%et. At the top we felt as if we were being irradiated probabl because we were. There are even signs at the par%ing lot telling ou that the e,tremel powerful microwaves ma cause malfunctioning of our door+loc%s=but no word concerning it’s effects on @B. 1ee that would open a window of liabilit. This is wh all corporations categoricall den an negative health effects of their products or servicesC even the tiniest ac%nowledgement of a problem could open the door to a flood of litigation.We too% the Spirit of Tasmania  across -ass 1trait to 7elbourne on what wasthe roughest crossing )’ve had in  ears of visiting Tassie. The 1pirit is bigger than a lot of towns in Australia but she was heaving on E meter seas which according to boat personnel were ust #ripples.$ @achtees in the  #roaring <(’s$ have e,perienced '( meter swells in the 1dne to :obart race but ) don’t %now how the 1pirit would handle those conditions!)’ve alwas loved 7elbourne as the special and friendl place that she is butafter four months in Tasmania of which seven wee%s were on Flinders )sland even 7elbourne seemed alien and smell. We had a nice little visit with ohn and i/ in Williamstown an upscale coastal suburb before beginning our westward ourne along the Great cean 8oad. THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD ) travelled the Great cean 8oad frequentl a few ears ago when ) was spending some time in Apollo -a which bac% then felt wild remote distantfrom 7elbourne. >ot the case an more. We too% the H+line to Anglesea and at first considered staing at a caravan par% there until we learned thatthe wanted I'5 for an unpowered tent site. Twice what it should be=but this was the FF+season rate. #>o than%s. - the wa$ ) inquired #so whatdo ou charge during the seasonJ$ ) cringed when the officer ) mean attendant revealed the e,tent of e,tortionC IE< for one night of unpoweredtent site. We hitched on to the ne,t town reflecting on the fact that out of four months in Tasmania we had onl one night where we had to pa to sta anwhere. And now this=the good old mainland! What %ind of people we wondered would pa IE< for an unpowered tent siteJ >T anone we could relate to.-ut our spirits lifted when a cool chic% named >ettie stopped and gave us a lift. 1he was almost done wor%ing for the da and was going to pic% up 7oses a couch+surfer from German whom she had inherited for a couple das. 1he was going to drive him along the Great cean 8oad then leave him to hitch west. 1he brought us along which was fantastic as this wa we got to ma%e lots of stops and see a lot of views that are often hard to do when ou’re hitching. We staed at a caravan par% in ?ort 0ampbell for I55 which was reasonable. We could hear the pounding surf and we camped right b the river right ne,t to pipes dumping something into it.  We were bombarded first thing in the morning b the delicate sounds of edger and weed+eater& even though our site was directl beneath the brightest street+light in the place m cran%iness abated upon iesbet’s discover of a switch on the pole! o of os=even though it was about ' or < meters up ) was able to stand on a rubbish bin and e,tinguish the beast! Alas if onl edgers and weed+eaters had remote #off$ switches=) remember doing that %ind of wor% manuall that is #b hand.$ 1ure it too%a little longer but ou got to eno the silence of being outside=and ou weren’t inflicting sonic agon on an beings within sa 5(( meters. “INVESTIGATIVE TOURISM” )’ve come up with a new side+proect to our travels. )t’s called #investigativetourism$ or #)T.$ 1omebod’s got to do it. There’s heaps of #information technologists$ out there ust waiting for their chance to #re+boot$ our sstem=i%es!...and -ill -rson onl stas in fanc hotels! Without front+line reporting from the trenches ) mean tent+sites themselves all we’ve got is banal and misleading propaganda from the tourism industr. )t’s the same croc% of shite no matter where ou go=web+sites posters and pamphlets advertising identical table+cloths and cutler. 1ure the views might var slightl as do the brands of wine but what’s being mar%eted is the same everwhereC it amounts to the sum total of everthing ou D>’T need when ou’re supposedl e,periencing #the great outdoors.$ )t’s all the stuff that people fill their over+si/ed caravans with burning up astronomical amounts of fuel to tow them with their 1BH’s to distant national par%s then sit there watching tv oblivious to the sounds of edger and weed+eater of %oo%ie and corella. #The Game$ has got Kem b the balls=ee that is! )’ve even been thin%ing of contacting Lonely Planet   and Rough Guide  to see if the’d li%e some feed+bac% from here on the road! Monty Python  might be interested too! ust imagine the respect with which we might be treated when we roc% up flashing our official Lonely Planet   #)nvestigative Tourism Division$ )D card=laminated of courseJ L note: the caravan park price quotes and comments are part of the !T thing MWe must than% >ettie for a fantastic effort to counter the adverse effects of the tourism industr! Than%s to her enthusiasm we were able to see a lot of cool stuff as well as to sta at her friend Gar’s place the ne,t night although we did end up at the 2currentl fewer than4 T#elve $postles  at 5pm on a 1aturda arvo with non+stop chopper flights to and fro and wall+to+wall view+see%ers. ) laughed when Gar wanted to put on m full loadedbac%+pac%. :e’s a prett stoc% dude but after he had hoisted the monsta all he could sa was #)ncredible.$ n 1unda she dropped us on the far sideof Warrnambool to hitch to the Grampians. Warrnambool li%e Apollo -a seemed ver different from the last time ) was there. >ow it seems li%e a long strip+mall=but it’s still m favourite Australian place+name to pronounce bac%wardsC #oob man raw.$ ) also heard that isa Gerard of %ead &an %ance  lives there now. )f these items of note are related fill me in. THE GRAMPIANS  We almost got out to hitch on the wrong road=or a less+direct one anwa. -ut as soon as we were on the right road another cool chic% stopped within about five minutes Dani from ?ort Fair. 1he’s a 7elbournian who left earsago and was on her wa to do a wal% in the Grampians. 1he dropped us first at the turn+off where her wal% began but when we were still there two hours later she pic%ed us up again and returned us to the caravan par% in Dun%eld the southern gatewa to the Grampians. This two hour period of almost complete silence was actuall quite nice sort of li%e our introduction to the spirit of the Grampians.>either iesbet nor ) had been here before. We felt ver powerful good vibes here and it was if we were being %ept in a reall nice spot for a while to get in tune with where we were. This caravan par% was nice right b the road but not much traffic. This plus the rain is wh we staed for two nights! We had our own little picnic table beneath our own little deciduous tree with a view of 7t. 1turgeon or Wuragarri  . And it was I;E per night which is about what an unpowered site should be these das. We enoed the novelt of being at a caravan par% which we not onl weren’t in a hurr to get out of but actuall li%ed! ff the top of m head ) can thin% of onl one other caravan par% e,perience ) can sa this about=a small famil+owned campground in a forest near @allingup WA where we staed in 5((*=which was on the verge of being ta%en over b some corporate entit li%e 'ig ( .The rain persisted so we too% a bus to :all’s Gap the tourism hub of the Grampians. Despite being a bit over+developed the vibe there was quite nice. The caravan par% had a reall nice grass shaded area but it had been closed off for the winter& consequentl we were crowded in li%e cattle amongst the mega+caravans with identical 1BH’s. )t is not an e,aggeration to sa the are identical. Nven the people are almost e,clusivel retired couples with the occasional #foreign tourist$ in the mi,. The tourism industr calls them the #gra arm$ because the come in droves from the winter south=most have Hictoria tags=headed for balmier pastures to the north.Despite the population densit at the caravan par% our :all’s Gap e,perience was wonderful. The ancient beaut and gentle power of the Grampians or Gari#erd   as the indigenous Australians call them was undiminished b the human constructs. The people at the caravan par% were quite friendl& after we gave them some roc%s our third night was free. We visited the 'ram)uk   0ultural :eritage centre and discovered a little arts studio where the were doing roc%+painting with %ids so we gave apainted roc% to erem one of the roc%+painting #instructors$. The ne,t dawe did an ;; %m wal% along the river up to the ?innacles the highest point in Gari#erd  . The roc% formations are e,tremel prehistoric loo%ing resembling the Lost &ity   in the Territor as well as the 'ungle 'ungles  in the 9imberle. -ecause of low traffic volume we hopped on the shuttle bus again which dropped us at 1tawell a little town to the north of the Grampians on the main highwa from 7elbourne to Adelaide. There we
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