A Travellerspoint blog


semi-overcast 76 °F

Today my plan is to visit the Western Australia Museum and Art Gallery. I took the train downtown; took about 20 minutes. First stop, downtown Perth. It's a clean, modern city with a lot of arcades, malls and plazas.


A very walkable community with public transit, both underground and surface rail, very accessible.

The Museum was, frankly, a bit of a disappointment. It suffered from Dead Zoo syndrome.


There was a pretty good exhibition on the evolution of animal life; one item I particularly liked was this fossil of a coelecanth.


To their credit, there is a sign that says they have embarked on a $346 million project to create an entirely new museum by 2020.

Despite some rather old fashioned features, there was a quite extensive and fairly unblinking gallery describing the history of European/aboriginal relations. Sadly, relations oscillated between half-hearted attempts to establish rights for aboriginals and increasingly Draconian measures to control them, segregate them and ultimately attempt to extinguish their culture. Lots of resonances with the experiences of Native Americans and other indigenous peoples unfortunately. It took me several hours to take the whole thing in and give it some thought.

After that fairly heavy dose of history, I roamed across to the Art Gallery of Western Australia across the plaza. There I discovered a blatant violation of the Iron Law of Museum Closings - they are closed on Tuesday !!??!!


This was such a stunning development that all I could do was randomly wander for a few hours to end the day. Here's an example of the classic Perth hotel/bar. There are many similar ones all over Perth and Fremantle.


I also ran across this interesting bit of street art which I call "Evolution of the bloke."


Finally, I headed up to King's Park above the city around twilight. There is a beautiful garden of Australian plants, many of which were in full bloom. A bit too dark to get good pictures, unfortunately. I did run across this tree - an Australian version of the baobab tree of Madagascar called the boab.


I did some brief research on this tree. Signs in the park suggest that it is a species that was isolated from the Madagascar baobab when the supercontinent Godwana broke up about 100 million years ago. This appears to be inconsistent with the very close genetic relationship between the boab and the baobob. The strongest current theory is that humans brought the boab to Australia during their migrations 50-60 thousand years ago. This is also consistent with some recent genetic studies that suggest there was a human genetic contribution to the indigenous population from Indian Ocean populations about this time. There is also evidence that the yams eaten in the South Pacific have a genetic contribution from South American yams, suggesting the possibility of yet another ancient cross-ocean interaction among early peoples. I think that is super cool.

I got an extra bonus when trying to get a photo of the baobab -


A pair of rainbow lorikeets were nesting in the tree and one kindly showed up for a photo before bedding down for the night.

Once again, sunset arrived in style and another day comes to an end.


Posted by tdeits 03:13 Archived in Australia Tagged trees birds sunset history downtown perth aboriginal

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