I have just spent the last four days on a research trip in the south of Western Australia. The days were full of exploration and interviews and I had an absolute blast. My aim for the trip was two-fold: to reacquaint myself with the area in terms of setting – sights, sounds, smells, and to talk to people to get more information for my stories.
I also looked at the town buildings and flora. I’d forgotten that within a couple of kilometres the bush can go from coastal scrub, to swampy paperbarks, to towering karri trees. I listened to cicadas chirping, seagulls crying and kookaburras laughing, and experienced how the weather can go from sunny and hot one day (I got sunburnt!), to raining and cold the next.
First of all I scouted beach locations. I was in the Denmark/Albany region and there are some absolutely gorgeous beaches there. I was reminded how rough the Southern Ocean can get and how a King Wave can wash unwary fishermen off the rocks, but there are also sheltered lagoons for safe swimming.
The housing in Denmark ranges from ancient weatherboard shacks to huge mansions. All the blocks seem to be large – at least a quarter acre – and are well established. The shops are a mixture of expensive boutiques, antiques, and small op shops and supermarkets. It’s a contrast in so many ways and fascinating to walk the streets and take it all in. It was definitely worth the trip just for absorbing the location, but that’s not all I did. I’ll talk more about my trip over the next couple of blog posts. Stick around!