Posts Tagged ‘Northern Suburbs’

Jean, through her Social Bridge blog, has inspired this posting by asking to see a version of down town.  It’s hard to get me out of the bat cave as I don’t often venture into town if I can avoid it, but when I do it’s usually for a meeting at the cultural centre, so straight to that carpark and up the lift to the meeting rooms.  I don’t dilly dally.  Not good with large crowds.

The Bat Cave.

My down town couldn’t be more different to Jean’s, so to give you some idea; I live in the (near) northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia, 29.5km from the city which takes 26 minutes by very fast train.  (When I choose to drive often the train overtakes me while I do the speed limit of 100k – the train, it seems, has no such limit.)   

When I was studying for my degree between 1998 and 2001, I frequently used the train to go from home to Mt Lawley and WAAPA or ECU Campus.  I kept a notebook of poems and prose, ‘Rail Tales’ was re-printed in 2012


“Rail Tales” re-published chapbook, 2012


I did do a ‘Coming home, 2003’  blog entry with lots of photos of the car trip, taken when we returned from Ireland.

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Ocean Reef Road leading to the sea, 5 min from where I live.

I recently Re-Blogged a post about our city which has amazing photos of the buildings; “Perth, is that you?”

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From the blog entry “Perth, is that you?’

Everyone drives a car here, it’s necessary because there are distances involved in going anywhere.

Two Rocks is an outer suburb at the northern edge of Perth, the state capital of Western Australia, Australia, located 61 kilometres north of the city’s central business district.”

My hubby does most of the shopping because we run a small food production business (registered) from home and I hate shopping.  If I go when I’m hungry, I buy all the worst goodies; so best I don’t go and I hate shopping for clothes.  I’m a maker, so my favourite shops are also within 5min (Spotlight) and 9min (Office Works) respectively.

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Coat made for a recent wedding.

As I mentioned, I very seldom go down town.  We have wonderful shopping centres near us ranging from HUGE (Whitfords City, Lakeside, Joondalup just one train stop away North or South, or 5 -10 mins by car) to smaller local shops with a large supermarket plus more than 20 retail outlets including hairdressers, chemist and post office plus the obligatory fast food outlets, within walking distance of home.

However, I do often drive down south (skirting the city) to visit my children and grandchildren; a trip of 50.2km there and another 50.2km home again.  The city boundaries extend about the same distance down south.  This map shows the Transperth Zones where my children live in Zone 3 to give you an idea of the distances.

Depending on the time of day the trip can take anything from 42min to more than 60 min  each way on our freeway, so I usually leave at home 10am and get back before 3.30pm.

Always worth doing; my grandies are (naturally) adorable and because it’s cold and wintery at the moment, I’m busy making beanies for them in various colours.  Of course, that means lots of trips to Spotlight for more wool and perhaps some more material for dresses, dollies etc…

What are you focussed on – right now?

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@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #BOOK:RailTales  #DownTown  #PerthCity  #TwoRocks  #NorthernSuburbs

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At lunch with a friend last week,  someone I hadn’t seen for many years stuck her head around the corner; Joan’s sister.  She looked so genuinely surprised and pleased to see me I was quite taken aback!

We’d never particularly been friends but I had been very close to her sister, until we lost touch nearly 20 years ago.

After a hug I was told exactly how Joan had passed away within a couple of years of our losing touch, correcting my long-held and erroneous belief that she was so depressed she’s taken her own life.

The truth was not exactly as I had suspected but she definitely suffered with a broken heart; such a sad and lonely ending for someone who gave so much to others.

Standing in front of her still-grieving sister, I felt very guilty for not making more of an effort to see her, before her life soured.


In the very early 1990’s Joan Medlicott started a small community group operating with enthusiasm, zero budgets and a fun atmosphere up here, in the Northern suburbs of Perth.  Most of the members were there for a good time and for three years, it really was a lot of fun to be involved.  

Our first performance was 3 x 1 act plays at Ocean Reef Senior High School’s theatre.  I did costumes, make-up, programs and tickets while my daughter helped with props and appeared in the hilarious ‘It’ll be Alright on the Night’ – her first acting role.

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(Curtains from the local Op Shop made reasonable dresses I thought…)

Then came a few Cabarets upstairs in The Mullaloo Tavern, right on the beach, doing skits and murdering favorite songs – but the drinks and the camaraderie saved each performance.

Our next serious performance was the Hammersley Recreation Centre ‘A Parade of Plays’ again 3 x 1 Act plays to make sure as many who wanted to act, got a chance.

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(Sorry I haven’t scanned the photos from this performance yet.)

I directed ‘Monday to Friday’.  My daughter Jessica McCallum was a very good actress but hated being on the stage.  I couldn’t cast anyone else because she was perfect for the role, so she overcame her nerves and took the part for me.

However, Angela Bray was magnificent  as Thursday.  She was so nervous on the first night, to give her  Dutch courage, she had one too many champagnes…

Naturally, as Director I also became a little more than concerned when she stood in front of me and offered her lipstick saying; “I can’t find my mouth”.

She looked perfectly alright but was totally somewhere else!  All I could think of were how many important lines she had and how she’d been word-perfect in rehearsal!

But I needn’t have worried – Angela didn’t miss a single cue or drop a word.  She did however drink and share around the Props Port while she delivered with perfect ease and timing – her face when the bottle was empty was an absolute picture.  The whole performance was conducted perfectly and totally in character.

If there’d been an Oscar available – Ange would have received it with my blessing and eternal thanks!

We’d grown in confidence and wanted to do a longer project – a play with 3 acts.  We also needed to try and add funds to our pot to get better equipment and cut down on hire fees.

The pantomime Joan had written called ‘It’s a Prairie Tale’ meant everyone could be involved, it also incorporated musical numbers and therefor the cast had to ‘dance’ a little too!  Again, I did many of the costumes, programs and tickets, while my daughter worked on her first love – props and staging as well as acting a small part.

It really was a case of all hands on deck – all of us did things we’d never attempted before or in many cases since.  Bit like film-making really…on a zero budget too!

A significant challenge but hopefully one which would appeal to many and put bums on seats – not just our family and friends cheering us on but the general public as well.

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The pantomime was fun and surprisingly somewhat of a success but although I thought it would bring everyone together, unfortunately the worms were turning.

Some expressed the opinion they wanted to be more serious (now their egos had grown with their confidence) so the group’s next project was a very well-known, tried and true English play called ‘The Anniversary’.

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The group asked me to direct and I’m happy to say the cast and crew of ‘The Anniversary’ did a wonderful job.  It was the group’s first SOLD OUT play and actually made money for  us.  

One member had decided she wanted to be in charge of the group and proceeded to denigrate and dismiss everything Joan was or wanted for the group, worrying and working behind the scenes until she had her way and turned everyone against Joan.  The bitchiness got too much for me so I resigned as soon as the play was done.  

I wanted to start a Youth Theatre Group for 12 – 25 year-olds because I felt there was a need for one – and I was right (but that’s another story).

In the 80’s I’d been involved in film and knew the value of documenting things so during the years I had done just that; I’d taken photos and recorded video (or got someone else to hold the camera) as often as possible.

And nearly 20 years later when I’d told her sister that I’d only been looking at video of Joan, tears came to her eyes.  

Although it had been more than ten years since her loss, the grief was still very raw.  (I don’t think we ever stop grieving, we just learn to cope better on a day to day basis, until someone reminds us.)

Because I’d recently converted some of the old VHS tapes of the plays to DVD,  it felt really good to be able to share moments with Joan which her sister hadn’t been part of.  

A reminder of earlier days and fun times when Joan was in her absolute element organizing performances for the theater group she’d poured her heart and soul into – until they kicked her out!

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