The Kings Park Festival in Perth, Western Australia is coming to an end. We visited the park recently to see the brilliant array of spring wildflowers. The Funky Trunks display was also interesting with trees being transformed with fabric.
We liked the Poet Tree which reminded us of the poem by Joyce Kilmer –
“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.….”
It is interesting to be reading another book set in Western Australia after reading M L Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans (see previous posts). It seems an odd coincidence that K. A. Bedford’s novel, The Black Light, also has a light in its title.
K. A. Bedford, a Perth-based writer, has written five novels in the sci-fi genre with a particular emphasis on time machines. In his sixth published novel, he has entered the world of the supernatural and paranormal and travelled back in historical time to the 1920s.
The novel starts with one of the main characters, Aunt Julia, flying from London to Perth which in those days took days rather than hours. Her journey ends at Maylands Aerodrome. Not many locals know that what is now riverside parkland at Maylands was once Perth’s earliest airfield, in operation from 1927 to 1963. All that now remains as a reminder of this piece of aviation history are three perimeter lights that from 1937 marked the eastern end of the airfield.
The light in the lighthouse on Janus Island plays a very important part in M L Stedman’s novel, The Light Between Oceans.
As the lighthouse keeper, Tom spent many hours in the Janus Island lighthouse.
“Every surface in the light room gleamed: Tom had always kept it diligently, but now he waged war on every screw, every fitting, until it surrendered a brilliant sheen.”
On tours of Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse near Augusta, you can climb up inside the lighthouse and see up close the light that is described in the novel.
M L Stedman has transplanted other features from around Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse to her imaginary Janus Island off the coast. In The Light Between Oceans she mentions a water wheel.
“Beside its little beach is the water wheel, which carries fresh water from the spring up to the cottage…”
A water wheel can still be seen at Cape Leeuwin, which was constructed in 1895 to supply water to the nearby lighthouse keepers’ cottages.
The description of the lighthouse in The Light Between Oceans matches the real lighthouse that you can visit at Cape Leeuwin, except that the lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin is not on an island, but on a peninsula which juts out into the ocean.
“The white stone tower rested against the slate sky like a stick of chalk. It stood a hundred and thirty feet high, near the cliff at the island’s apex…”.
The Cape Leeuwin lighthouse precinct is open every day for guided and self-guided tours and has a cafe and small museum in a former lighthouse keepers cottage.
Although spring has come, it is still sometimes cold and wintry in Perth, Western Australia. A good time to be reading M L Stedman’s novel, The Light Between Oceans, which is set at Augusta and nearby Cape Leeuwin, the coldest and wettest part of the state.
A lot of the novel takes place on an imaginary island off the coast from Cape Leeuwin. The description of Janus Island in the novel matches exactly what you can see from the actual lighthouse at the cape.
“…there was only vastness, all the way to Africa. Here the Indian Ocean washed into the Great Southern Ocean and together they stretched like an endless carpet….”.