Go over the ocean or across a desert plain and you will find yourselves a little settlement. It is the fourth largest city in Australia, a place that is sometimes not seen in global news or somewhere that we never think about in great detail. Australians included. In fact, Australians are so focused on their own little spot that it rarely goes in their mind, except when the weather forecast comes on TV.
The beaches are beautiful and the city centre has towers, but they are few. Where is this unusual heaven plotted in paradise? What is it called? We call it Perth.
Perth is the most isolated capital city in the world. The population is around a million and a half people. A pristine river is laid out by its side and it is strangely similar to its eastern neighbours in Australia. How did the culture be so similar with such distance? (That’s over 3200 kilometres or over 2000 miles from Sydney).
Perth today is built on the mining wealth of Australia. When the English first arrived it was a hot, dusty and lonely place. The prisoners brought to the land constructed a prison in Fremantle made of limestone. The same stone makes the prison seem rustic and organic. The prison was still the most used prison in the state of Western Australia until its closure in 1991. It was first opened in 1855, a time when Western Australia was literally an oasis next to the desert.
Fremantle itself is a small suburb. However, I have travelled the globe and there are few places that have so many historic buildings kept in tact. It reminded me of the old town in a place called Cartagena in Colombia. If you think England in 1850 then you will have Fremantle in your mind, except for the heat.
It does not have Sydney’s Harbour, and few cities in the world do. However, this river is not dirty, brown and little. It is broad and majestic, the perfect place for an evening stroll in the nearby greenland of King’s Park providing an amazing view.
It’s hard when you think of the world and how distant you are from everything. No wonder it is a peaceful city. A calm city. A pretty city.
Perth is rarely in the headlines while combating with its three larger eastern neighbours. Sydney, Melbourne and now Brisbane take all of the limelight as though Perth is a sleepy town with nothing happening. Although I think a lot is happening.
There are suburbs in the city’s south where gigantic shopping centres are being surrounded by new houses and small apartment buildings. The architectural design is immaculate and not just for suburbs being built with rapidity in mind. These are lasting places with unusual ways of designing that other fast growing cities have done badly.
House prices are high by Australian standards and could almost match expensive Sydney. However, that is its only real issue for non investors. It is breathtakingly beautiful, the infrastructure is there and development is brewing. A new waterfront area is being built and new buildings are popping up. I think in 20 years you might hear more about this city. In 20 years this will be one of the most desired cities in the world.
It’s amazing what isolation can create.