Monday, March 7, 2011

Cattle, Prison, & The Perth CBD

We left Rottnest Island on the first ferry on the morning of Day 7.  We arrived back in Fremantle and the first thing we saw was this funny looking ship:

Cade explained that this ship is a livestock carrier and would most likely be carrying cattle from Australia to Japan.  I researched this type of ship and the web revealed that this is quite common and that these some of these ships can carry up to 25,000 cattle or 120,000 sheep.  Further research revealed that these are quite controversial.  Animal rights groups aren’t a huge fan, especially after the 2009 sinking of a livestock carrier in the Mediterranean Sea – killing a few dozen people and over 28,000 animals on board.  All I can think is:  can you imagine how badly those ships must smell?

We decided to do a little more exploring before heading 30 minutes up to Perth.  Karen went to check out the Fremantle Markets, but Cade and I decided to do something a little criminal… so we visited the Fremantle Prison.  The prison was built by convicts in the 1850’s.  Ironically, the prison that the convicts built served as their own jail.  Seems somewhat cruel, eh?

Notice how the ceiling colour changes in the below photo?  This was the result of a riot where the inmates tried to burn the prison to the ground.

There were plenty of hangings inside the prison:

And can you imagine LIVING in this room?  With no toilet?

Each room had a bucket, and everyday you’d bring your bucket to the yard to get cleaned out and then you’d pick up another bucket before you went back to your cell.  It wasn’t your same bucket – oh no.  It was whatever bucket you grabbed.  If that’s not reason enough to live within the law, I don’t know what is.

Of course, the inmates just absolutely LOVED baby Jesus so they had a church right in the prison.  Or maybe the church was there so the criminals could pray for forgiveness and/or indoor plumbing?

The most amazing thing about this prison:  even after they stopped operating this prison as a jail for convicts, they still kept the prison operational.  For many, many years, Fremantle Prison was THE maximum security prison for Western Australia.  They finally shut it down in… ready for this?


That’s right.  Even in 1991, there were inmates taking craps in buckets.  And I thought it couldn’t get worse than a port-o-potty.

Then it was off to Perth for some business.  Insurance business.  My co-workers in our Perth office gave us a tour of our digs there and then treated us to a few rounds of beer at a pub in their building.  How nice!  I hope our Melbourne, Brisbane, and Auckland offices are as welcoming.  After that, we did a little exploring of the CBD.  The city was small – much smaller than Sydney – but laid out well.  Traffic was completely tolerable and it had everything you could need in a city:  restaurants, bars, a shopping mall complete with department stores, and a scenic waterfront.  There was some very Australian public art displays:

As well as some nicely manicured little parks:

The Swan Bells adorned the waterfront:

And the skyline really matched… the sky.

This is a pretty place.  And it only got better the next day…

1 comment:

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