Memorials to those who died on Perth's train lines and roads

August 16, 2014
In any big city it's a sad inevitability that people are killed by passing trains, trucks, buses and cars. Sometimes the sites of these tragedies are marked with little memorials to the victims. If you get around a lot on public transport as I do then you are sure to see them occasionally. 

Perhaps the most widely known was in the recently demolished Wellington St Bus Station. I forget the name of the person who was killed, but I'm pretty sure it was a girl and she was Japanese. The site always had fresh flowers left in remembrance of her, presumably left by station staff. 

There's another one at the Mosman Park train station, in the bushes next to the platform on the Cottesloe side. Not sure what happened there but it's very likely that he or she was hit by a train. Just near the same station, on the corner of Stirling Highway, there's a little cross in honour of "Ricky".

I do recall seeing one at Carlisle station, though it's years since I've been there now. This related to a particularly tragic fatality. In it, a wheelchair bound woman was crossing the railway line and became stuck on the tracks. The oncoming express train hadn't a snowflake's chance in hell of stopping in time, and killed her instantly. Tragically, the exact same fate befell a man there some three months later

Not far from there, at Welshpool Station, there's another touching memorial to a girl called Emilie. As well as a cross naming her, the makeshift shrine contains some clothes along with thoughts penned by the person who maintains it.

Not sure if this particular line contains any more such sad reminders. But if it does I wouldn't be surprised. There seem to be many more trains travelling along it, with a high proportion of those being express trains.

I had a very powerful reminder of their potential danger recently as I rushed from the northern side of the line towards Welshpool Station, in a hurry to catch the train to Perth. As I neared the platform a train approached from the city side, to my right, and the warning bell rang.

I rushed through the gates, which were just about to close. Keen to make it through in time I actually overshot my mark and ended up on the other side of the tracks, when I really should have stopped in the middle on the platform itself. 

I realized my mistake just as the gates began to close and lunged back in the opposite direction, hoping to squeeze back through the gate on the southern side and onto the platform. Just then I heard the loud blast of a train's siren to my right. This startled me because the train I was originally trying to beat was coming from the other direction. 

I looked towards the east and saw the huge locomotive powering towards me. Unlike the Thornlie bound train -- now to my left -- this one was definitely not stopping! If I hadn't managed to halt myself in time I would have been flattened for sure.

This experience really gave me a fright. I could see how easy it was to end up being caught on the tracks.

See, when a warning bell rings you automatically assume that there's only one train coming. Yet with it being such a busy line, there will sometimes be two trains coming from opposite directions. Two bells will ring, but it's hard to distinguish between them.

If one of these trains is hurtling along at speed the danger is huge. This is definitely something to keep in mind whenever you catch trains in Perth, particularly along the Armadale-Thornlie line. 

Perth will soon have too many new apartment blocks

August 15, 2014
One of the most striking changes to Perth in the last decade or so has been the profusion of large, gleaming highrise apartment blocks. Sure, the city has long had an impressive skyline. But apart from the CBD it was mostly very low slung and laid back.

Now, there are numerous towering buildings, and not just in or near the city centre. Whenever one or more of these appears it really changes the whole feel of the surrounding area. As a result there are now many parts of Perth that are actuall...
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Karl O'Callaghan's relationship with son Russell

August 14, 2014
Got to feel sorry for Karl O'Callaghan. It must be challenging enough to effectively carry out the high profile job of West Australian Police Commissioner. But to have his son being in such trouble with the law? That must be heart-breaking as well as humiliating. Quite frankly I don't know how he keeps his cool. He must be breaking up inside

And I don't think that his son Russell's behaviour is solely due to drug abuse -- although obviously this is a huge factor. I'm no shrink but it looks t...

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Loss of Station St Markets will alter Subi's character still more

August 13, 2014
I just read a report about how the markets in Subiaco are slated for destruction and will be replaced by huge new shopping outlets. My first thought: That's not surprising! They've been lying fallow for ages ... 
But I then realized that this update referred to plans for the extant Station Street Markets, and not the old Pavillion Markets down the road (pictured below). 

Just goes to show how quickly things continue to change in this area. 
I used to live nearby in a unit on Subiaco Rd, close to...

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Kim Hames's bizarre comments about Gammy's father

August 12, 2014
Kim Hames has disavowed his earlier comments regarding the Sixty Minutes interview with baby Gammy's parents. Initially he said that after watching the interview he felt sure that the girl Pipah was not at risk in the care of David Farnell.

His subsequent about face was primarily due to legal protocol:

"I was convinced with his remorse over those issues and that he loves his baby daughter, and I think he and his wife will take good care of her," he told reporters.

But Dr Hames backflipped later,...

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Drew Gregory's threat to kill Premier shows extent of green hysteria

August 9, 2014
The green campaign to stop the shark cull has been growing gradually more unhinged of late. As well as repeated bolshie demos featuring conga lines of misanthropic cranks there has also been an attack on the Premier's office in Cottesloe. Also, threats have made against fisherman carrying out the cull. 

The latest development: A passionate young activist called Drew Gregory sent Barnett an expletive-laden e-mail threatening to kill him

Okay, so she's just a kid. And she didn't really mean it....
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Salvation at Stirling Station

August 7, 2014
You would no doubt have heard about this heartening incident at Stirling Train Station, in which a hapless commuter who fell between the platform and a train was rescued by pretty much every able bodied man, woman and child present.

Video of it has gone viral, and no wonder. It's a touching example of the goodwill that resides in every human heart, even if it seems not to be overtly expressed that often. 

The incident occurred here, but I don't think there's anything uniquely "Perthesque" abou...
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Is Colin Barnett as arrogant as his detractors claim?

July 31, 2014
Every politician seems to develop a public persona over time. Sometimes it corresponds strongly to his actual personality. But at other times it's very distant. 

Take the nerdy uncle persona of Kevin Rudd. He was always seen as a bit of a dag, but a brainy guy who sincerely had the nations's best interests at heart. He was astonishingly popular for quite some time. Remember how often he was mobbed at shopping centres by people desperate to take selfies with him? 

But slowly his true character e...
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Will PIAF's giant puppets for Anzac subvert the dominant paradigm?

July 26, 2014
There's a proposed Perth International Arts Festival production that sounds very intriguing. It will be part of the Anzac Centenary commemorations and will feature some giant puppets expertly crafted by Frenchmen.

Now, this sounds extremely unusual. Don't know about you, but the first thing that comes to my mind when someone says "giant puppet" is stupid shouty bolshie protest. I also think: crap creations that don't look remotely like the eeevil hate figures they're meant to represent (namely...
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Barnett and Buswell are like Martin and Lewis

July 23, 2014
Troy Buswell is in the news again, this time over alleged hush money paid to a woman whose car he smashed into on that notorious night of drunkenness several months ago. Yet again, Premier Colin Barnett is exasperated by his friend's behaviour.

This time he's even come out and directly criticized the decision to offer the woman money. He's also expressed his frustration over the fact that Buswell hasn't personally paid for the damage to his ministerial car.

This ambivalent reaction is typical...
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