Esperance and Albany

This may be the last post for about 10 days or so as Merry arrives on Monday 15th and we are spending a week touring the Margaret River, south of Perth

I’m in Perth now staying with my old mate Gordon Roberts. Gordon rode with me in my trip to Nepal, India and Bhutan.

AZULO has performed magnificently but I need new tyres and the speedo and GPS fixed. This will all be done next week whilst Merry and I have a good break.

Kalgoorlie – the final word

I forgot to mention in the last post something I found amusing. I hope you do too!

This is how the 19th Century Kalgoorlie Politicians solved the difficult problem of the “unsavoury behaviour” in what is now Hay Street, Kalgoorlie.

Broockman Street, Kalgoorlie, in the late 19th Century had some 30 brothels. As you can imagine, it must have been hopping!


Photo – The last “old” brothel in Kalgoorlie

The “gentle” people of Kalgoorlie wanted them closed down yet the politicians and many more including 99% of the miners felt they provided a very important service to the town!

Broockman street  had a “good” and “bad” end so the solution was simple…. just change the name of the bad end…. Hey presto, problem solved.

So, they split Broockman street in two and re-named the “bad” end Hay Street. A notice appeared in the newspaper saying there were now no brothels in Broockman Street!


Esperance is a pleasant seaside town with magnificent beaches in a beautiful setting.

It’s hard to avoid references to the early seafarers who sailed past in the late 18th Century

Esperance was named after the French Ship L’Esperance.


In 1792, two French ships, L’Esperance and Recherche nearly foundered amongst the many islands and reefs here. The ships were saved by the lookout, “Monsieur Le Grande” who at the last minute spotted a channel.

Esperance, as said above was named after the ship.

The nearby peninsula, now a National Park was named Le Grand and the whole archipelago named Recherche Archipelago.

Whilst I’m boring you with some potted history, I found this story in the museum interesting

Matthew Flinders, who was the first person to circumnavigate Australia, passed by Esperance twice. In 1803, he too had a near disaster.

He only managed to save the ship by cutting the ropes on two anchors which were lost until 1969.


In 1969 the two anchors were discovered and salvaged.

The home made wooden aeroplane in the photo above was used to search for the anchors. it was a sort of “submarine”. The plane was lowered in the water, a diver hung onto it and they were then dragged along the sea bottom by a boat. It apparently speeded up the search!

The anchors once recovered, were spirited away from Esperance. One is in Canberra and the other in Adelaide. Poor Esperance got the aeroplane submarine and nothing else!

Enough of that!

Esperance and the whole coastline is extremely beautiful. The beaches are stunning.  Some, like “Lucky Bay” have “OMO  white” sand and the sea appears a bright turquoise colour. The photos don’t do them justice. Lucky Bay by the way is in the Le Grand National Park some 40 k away and was named by Matthew Flinders who stopped there after his near death experience.

Lucky Bay has Kangaroos on the beach at certain times of the day. Unfortunately I was there at the wrong time. No Kangaroos!


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On my way to Lucky Bay I saw a very strange site….



Yes, Stonehenge!

It’s a full sized replica of what Stonehenge looked like 5000 years ago! The stone was  quarried nearby. I’m not sure quite why anyone would think of rebuilding Stonehenge but someone has!

I stayed at and Airbnb which was excellent but I made a bit of a fool of myself. I tipped over the bike as I was about to leave. The family kindly helped me lift it. It’s much too heavy for me but the two kids of Fiona and Brendon, my hosts, made Azulo look like it was made of feathers!  I must be getting old and feeble.

Photo : Charming Airbnb owners Fiona nada Brendon



The 450 ride to Albany was rather boring.

Unfortunately the weather was bad in Albany and I once again got soaked a few times and had to dodge the many showers. At times like this I wish I was in a car!

Albany is in a magnificent setting in King George Sound. It’s Western Australia’s oldest town, founded in 1826.

The little ship Amity sailed from Sydney in 1826 with a few soldiers and convicts and set up the settlement. They didn’t want the French to get there first!

This is a replica of the Amity in the photo below


The most impressive thing in Albany is the Anzac Memorial and Museum. The ships taking the Australian and New Zealand Corps and their thousands of horses to Egypt in 1914 sailed from here. This was the last Port of call for those poor soldiers (and horses)

Here are some photos but as you see the weather wasn’t very kind to me!

All the ships lined up in the Sound. It must have been an impressive sight




I love this sculpture of an Anzac giving his horse water.


A very beautiful and emotional statue


The old Guard House


Below – The Anzac Memorial ….Typical…why are monuments always under repair when I’m there!. This is an impressive monument to the Anzacs,


Other things I saw in Albany in between heavy showers…

The Gaol House

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The Whaling station. It was closed in 1978


The Gap…This is a very impressive structure over a gap in the cliffs.


Again, the pictures don’t do justice to this


 There is one other piece of interesting history here…..

Australia’s very own pirate – Black Jack Anderson

This story fascinated me. My brother in law Cam told me about it, There’s a book on it and it’s apparently all true…. but there is nothing on him to be found here, although the people in the museum know about him.

I think Albany is missing a magnificent tourist opportunity!

Black Jack Anderson was a big Negro Whaler from Massachusetts who in the early 1830’s found himself in Albany. He killed someone in a brawl in the pub and ran away stealing the whale boat.

He set himself up on nearby Middle Island and over some 10 years terrorised the passing ships. He was very cruel but must have had charisma as he kept several Aboriginal “wives” and even a white woman. He made a lot of money which has never been found.

Eventually he was killed by his own men.

Why does Albany fail to cash in on this amazing story! It beats me!  Sorry, no photos.

Off to Perth …the final leg of “stage 1″of this trip

I left Albany to ride the 400 easy kilometres to Perth. It was a good ride and the weather had improved.

Unfortunately I had a “senior moment” at the petrol station…. I filled up Azulo with diesel. Ugh….. My feeble defence is that there was not caution sign on the pump gun.

I managed to borrow a hose and bucket and siphoned out all 30 litres of diesel, not a pleasant taste. I then filled up and continued the journey.

So now I’m having a couple of days off in Perth before Merry arrives. I’m excited about her arrival.

Gordon is a terrific host. We had nine holes at a superb Gold Resort, Joondalup…lots of wine…bacon and eggs and more!

Photo -Joondalup Golf Resort


Some company on the course. Gordon and friend


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Some “Cockies” in Gordon’s garden


Sian, Gordon’s daughter with Jack and Gordon looking on.


Bye for now…. If I get time (and Wi-Fi) I’ll put some photos up of the Margaret River and district.

The journey continues again on Tuesday 23 May!






19 thoughts on “Esperance and Albany

  1. Hi Geoff, Seems as though my message disappeared somewhere. Loved your commentary
    and had a good chuckle re some of it. Love the history of WA…..great shots again.
    Loved the cows at Cowarmarup ? country girl coming out!
    Hope you both enjoy Margaret River area. Keep it rolling, great stuff.
    Take care, safe travels.

  2. Hi Geoff……I’m a bit late with a reply, but enjoyed it all again immensely. Had a chuckle about a few
    things in your commentary. All good stuff. Hope you enjoy Margaret River, I loved the cows at
    Cowarmarup? hope that’s correct spelling.
    Take care and enjoy your time in WA. Thanks Geoff.

  3. I’m so glad to see you properly dressed to play golf – very British keeping up the Standards!
    Love the story about renaming the street(s); real outside-the-box stuff.
    Great photos again – David Bailey would be proud!
    Keep the blogs coming.

  4. Margaret River is where my great, great grandparents settled, firstly at Ellensbrook now national Trust, just up the road. they were part of the Bussell family. Hence Bussellton. I love that part of the world. Hope you both have fun!

  5. Hi Geoff – Great pictures and story-telling as ever; it’s always a joy to be on your pillion. We’re learning so much! And I really loved that walkway at the Gap! We’re certain that you’ll have a great time after meeting up with Merry. I wondered what the Margaret River would be like so I looked it up – I should have guessed! The web site says “world class wineries and award-winning restaurants”. Hope you can get back on the bike afterwards!!!!
    Enjoy – and go well!
    Wendy and Alan

  6. Hello So glad your trip is going without too many hiccups (the diesel moment !!!!) Have a lovely time with merri so glad she is totally repaired. Look forward to next post and wonderful pictures.
    Yvonne and Norman Swan
    Sandy Bay Probus Club Sandringham

    • Hi Yvonne and Norman
      I really can do without the hiccups but I suppose it’s all part of it.. they are what you remember later.
      We’re in Margaret River now having a rest

  7. Great photos Geoff, I really look forward to them. But we never expected to see one of Stonehenge in Oz! Maybe some Druids around somewhere…..
    Hope you and Merry have a really good break together. xx Val Nev

    • H Val and Nev
      Spent last night with Juliets son Alex and his wife Rachel in Bunbury. We rang Juliet which was nice. We’re now in Margaret River sampling the food and wine
      Love G

  8. For us uneducated “Poms” what is OMO sand? I looked it up and all I got was Unilever Omo washing conditioner and a weird artists Facebook page…..
    The sand looks amazing with all those wavy lines in.
    That Stonehenge is in a much better condition than the one here and doesn’t have any barriers either!
    The politicians have good ideas there – now trying to imagine what Theresa May and Jeremy Corbin would come up with….
    Enjoy golf with Gordon while I try and find out more about Black Jack Anderson as he sounds a character!
    PS – over the “senior” moment – Phil did that about 8 years ago so if you don’t like saying it’s a senior moment use the same reason he did – bad labelling! 😉
    Have a fabulous time with Merry too. Love Karen, Phil and the boys x

    • Hi Karen
      Don’t you have OMO washing powder in UK?
      It’s meant to wash whiter than white!
      That’s what I meant… the sand could have been washed with OMO!

  9. Glad that you survived Kalgoorlie without getting into too much trouble Geoff and great photos of the landscape.
    Hope you and Merry have a great time touring. Presumably Azulo won’t mind a few days off as well.
    Rod & Wendy

  10. Whatever the disasters you face, Geoff, you always seem to land on your feet. Such resilience. Some magnificent scenery as always from a Master Photographer. Not to mention the history lessons. Pleased to hear that Merri is arriving to supervise your trip to Margaret River.

    • Hi Peter
      Thanks for your confidence in my ability to get out of trouble. My problem though is that I manage to get into trouble in the first place!

  11. Hello my friend. Glad to hear Azulo has been such a good boy. Loving the photos. John and I visited Albany years ago and loved it. Sitting in my window seat looking out over the bay whilst reading a travel brochure on Mongolia and Russia. Say hi to Merry. Shirley

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