Perth: The Last City for More than 9,227 kms

R counting (in Auslan) the buildings on the Perth skyline

With a population under 2 million, Perth is hardly a rat race.  But it’s the last city we’ll see until we get to Brisbane (on the other side of this continent) which is 9, 227 kms away, via the top end.  Knowing us, we’ll take an extra ten thousand kms to get there.  We’ve already driven nearly 20, 000 kms from Sydney to Perth.

We paused in Perth for two weeks so K could attend Mosmon Park School for the Deaf.  She loved it!  “So many of the teachers are deaf!” she told me enthusiastically after her first day of school, “and they have three playgrounds!”  Like Klemzig, the school she visited in South Australia, Mosmon Park had Auslan Language Role Models in the classroom, along with the teacher, which is an excellent addition to any classroom with deaf signing students.  Not only are these deaf adults an excellent language model, they’re also a great role model. Unlike Klemzig, Mosman Park had a separate classroom for deaf students.

K loved both schools, but I suspect the integrated model at Klemzig—where hearing and deaf were in the same class, but everyone signed—was more challenging for the deaf students.

That said, the staff at this Perth school were fabulous, and K had an amazing experience.  She even suggested we move to Perth.

Both schools that K has visited in Adelaide and Perth were much more laid-back than her school in Sydney, but I think that reflects the different cities, more than anything.

Perth is a lovely lazy city with pretty beaches and an excellent art gallery in the city.  People say, “hi” when you pass them on the street and, as one teacher from MP, who’d moved here from Sydney told me, “Everyone drives like it’s Sunday afternoon.”

Lee found it hard to pick up work.  It seems that all the carpenters have come back from the FIFO (fly in, fly out) mining jobs.  Mining’s slowing down, and everyone’s looking for work.  And Perth is expensive!  It’ll be good to get back to the Bush, where there’s nothing to buy.

Grass tree at Avon Valley National Park

Last weekend we camped in the Perth Hills at Avon Valley National Park, which was full of what R calls “poof trees”.  They remind me of Truffula trees in The Lorax.  And they are, in fact, grass trees that live to be up to 600 years, maybe more.  It’s hard to calculate their age.  They are, obviously, slow-growing, and more like a “woody plant”.  The trunk takes ten years to grow.

We said goodbye to Perth on Friday after school and hit traffic, not getting to our campsite until well after dark.  Lee set up in the dark.  I cooked a late dinner and put the girls to bed at 9.30.  It rained all night and all the next morning when we were packing away.  I could hear the mildew on the canvas cheering gleefully as we packed away.

On the road again . . .

On Saturday we drove to the very touristy Pinnacles, took two photos, then came to Jurien Bay, on the aptly named Turquoise Coast for Mother’s Day weekend.

R running round the Pinnacles National Park
Jurien Bay, WA


Author: sarahklenbort

I'm a Brisbane-based writer and mother of two children--one deaf and one hearing. I'm also a sessional academic at the University of Queensland, where I teach literature and creative writing. In 2016, my husband and I took the kids out of school and travelled around Australia with a camper trailer, visiting deaf schools along the way. When we found Toowong State School, it was so good, we decided to move to Queensland! We still have the trailer and take off for the bush whenever we can.

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