Western Australia

Perth – Government Printing Office

The former Government Printing Office on the corner of Murray and Pier streets in Perth city centre was the work of architect, George Temple Poole. Built in 1894, during the goldrush, it was extended in 1899 and 1907, and is now the home of Curtin University’s business school.

Govt Printing Office Perth


University of Western Australia – Poems on Posters

Wandering around the grounds of UWA on the weekend we noticed these Poems on Posters on the walls of the Octagon and Dolphin theatres. The 20 or so line poems make for something interesting to read during theatre intervals.
The poem “Learning to Row”, by Henry Briffa is relevant because of the university’s riverside location. And Mandy Tu, writes about love in “He Asks For Poetry”.

Poems on Posters UWA

Fremantle – Fenians

This year is the 150th anniversary of the arrival of 62 Fenians in Fremantle from the “Hougoument”, the last ship to bring convicts to Western Australia. During their 89 day journey from England to Australia, the Irish Fenians, who were political prisoners, produced a weekly newspaper called “The Wild Goose”.
As part of the Fenians, Fremantle and Freedom Festival, the Kidogo Arthhouse has an exhibition of art related to the Fenians, called “89 Days”. This papercut by Anne Gee shows activities aboard the Hougoument, including the printing of the Wild Goose newspaper.

Previous blogs about  the Fenians can be found here –





Anne Gee Hougoumont

Perth – Kings Park – Women’s Suffrage

A beautiful fountain commemorates pioneer women in Perth’s Kings Park, but hidden away behind it is a smaller memorial from 1999 to celebrate the centenary of Women’s Suffrage in Western Australia. In 1899, Western Australian women won the right to vote in state elections. WA was the second state in Australia to give voting rights to women, and Australia as a whole was one of the first countries in the world to support women’s suffrage, making it a democratic world leader.
The memorial, which takes the form of a book, also notes that, unfortunately, Australian Aboriginal people were not given the right to vote until 1963.

Womens Suffrage Kings Park

Fremantle – Calligraphy

A calligraphy exhibition at the Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery in Fremantle made a nice end to the year. Artists from the Calligraphers’ Guild of WA displayed unique works of art based on hand lettering.
Pictured, is a work by Trish Kraus of hand lettering of the poem “On Children” by the early 20th century Lebanese poet, Kahil Gibran. This poem was first published in 1923 as part of Gibran’s collection of poetic essays called “the Prophet”.

Fremantle Calligraphy 1

Guildford – Pattern Book

Sometimes you can find interesting book related exhibits in small museums like this early 19th century hand drawn pattern book. It’s on display at the old Courthouse in the Guildford Heritage Precinct which is 12km from the centre of Perth. The book was given to Sophie Roe, who was the eldest child of John Septimus Roe, the surveyor who laid out the towns of Perth and Guildford in the 1830s.

Sophie Roe Pattern Book

Geraldton – Randolph Stow

The seaside town of Geraldton, 415km north of Perth, was the birthplace of writer, Randolph Stow. Born on 28 November 1935, Stow wrote about his childhood in and around the town of Geraldton in the novel, “The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea”.
There are several different merry-go-rounds in the novel. The one in the sea was actually a shipwreck off the main swimming beach, but the beach has been redeveloped and the wreck is gone.

The second merry-go-round is the one that appears in the opening chapter of the novel. Amazingly, it is still there, beneath a spreading Moreton Bay fig tree alongside the old two storey library building. The current merry-go-round is a replica of the one in the novel, which had already fallen into disrepair during the closing chapters of the book.

Randolph Stow Geraldton 1

Subiaco – Christmas

The Subiaco Christmas Night of Lights was a fun event held on Rokeby Road last Friday. We enjoyed the food, entertainment and fun atmosphere, and also picked up a couple of free books. The City of Subiaco public library were giving away unwanted stock and we picked up a novel by Tom Keneally and a history of “William Dampier in New Holland”.

Light Up Subi

French Books on Wheels

We were at the Bonjour Perth festival in Subiaco on Saturday. A very fun event with French food and entertainment and even this French bookstore in a bus. Selling mostly educational and children’s books in French, the bus seems to be Perth-based. But for November the bus will be at various locations on the east coast of Australia, including at Wagga Wagga NSW this Saturday (Oct 28) and Canberra on Sunday.

French Bookshop Van