Category Archives: Places

This is all about locations visited, photographed, mapped, written about.

On Cemetery Hill

A visit to the Old East Perth Cemetery, where generations of Colonial Western Australians have been laid to uneasy rest, including all too many Dysons. There is no formal burial register for the aggregation of denominational Christian cemeteries that make up Old East Perth Cemetery. There has been a lot of research into who actually might be buried in the ground, but there are certainly many gaps in our knowledge.

Educated guesses are just that—guesses—there is always the possibility of being proved gloriously and magnificently wrong.

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Dyson’s Hotel

Part 2 of the Dyson’s Corner Story. …previously. Do I have any primary source for life in Western Australia in the 1870’s-1880’s more infuriating than the work of Mr Jesse Elijah Hammond (1856-1940)?(Probably, yes— but one should never let the truth get in the way of a good rant…) He was on the ground when it all dramatically happened for the Dyson family. He even lived next door to the Sons of Australia Benefit Society Club house on Murray Street, so it is inconceivable he…

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Dyson’s Corner (the First)

As a would-be historian, I am always torn between my desire to share the information I have collected and the desire to find that one final piece of the puzzle that will complete the story I want to tell. Most of the time, that final piece is not— and may never be— there, but what to do then? Should I hoard away what I have so far, or publish and be damned? If this is not your first reading of this page and what you…

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Under the Establishment

Under Fremantle prison there are a network of tunnels. Why would you build such a thing? A visitor who spends any time in the port city of Fremantle will have a hard time missing the high pale limestone walls overlooking the town, dazzlingly yellow in the sunlight but grey and oppressive on a cloudy day. For most of my lifetime they have been an ugly annoyance, it was only after they stopped being what they were designed for that I, and I suspect most Western…

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Sometimes I’d like to write about things but I can’t. I’d like to explain but I must not . Sometimes images have to do. An unremembered burial. Granite so cold and hard it’s actually radioactive. Past unwanted. Past demolished. What a difference a single day can make.   Still so cold.      No answers here. But the family I can’t talk about remains as lost as ever.

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Rottnest Island #1: It’s a start

One of the more annoying legends I had to endure when I grew up was how integral Rottnest Island was to the hearts and minds of all true Western Australians. Located only a few kilometres off the coast from Fremantle and easily visible from the continental shore, it was the mythical holiday island of the state. Tradition was, as far as I could tell, you weren’t a true-blue sandgroper unless you’d been conceived there in a boozy, sandy orgy of debauchery, preferably during the school…

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Leetown to Auchterarder

When certain members of the Dyson clan chose to deny their Lancashire heritage of robbery and mayhem, they liked to pretend their antecedents came from Scotland (As you do.) But much as some might prefer a purer lineage of cattle rustlers and street brawlers, adulterers and colourful racing identities, there is some authenticity to the professed Scottish identity of the children of Joseph Dyson (junior). Jessie, his wife, was the daughter of a Vandemonian draper named James Strutt. Unaccompanied and single, Jessie’s mother had arrived…

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“The Poste Restante”

“Poste Restante” is a French term that can be roughly translated as “remainder post“. It refers to when a letter is retained by a post office for collection in that building. Joseph Dyson, junior, ran the Poste Restante department within the central GPO building in Western Australia. Prior to the Federation of the Australian Colonies in 1901, each Colony had its own independent Postal service. These were all rolled together to form what is now known as Australia Post in 1903. The Western Australian service…

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