What is it about kids today? Are they losing their innocence too young? I was at the Shipwrecks Gallery in Fremantle today and there were a coupe of 5 year olds running around. They ran into the room where a skeleton lay preserved, a mutineer from the shipwrecked Batavia, I believe. “Ooh, a dead man,” cried one excitedly. “A pirate,” chortled the other. They thought it was fun!
Later on, I was at the Old Fremantle Prison on a guided tour. We got to the gallows where numerous people had died by hanging. The guide warned us because, he said, not everyone would want to see this for whatever reason. It was bad enough that the adults were snapping away with their cameras but the kids were pushing eagerly forward to the front to see where men and one woman had died in a barbaric way. The woman, the guide informed us, was probably innocent but that didn’t seem to bother anyone.
I didn’t take any photos of the gallows. It seemed wrong in a way I can’t describe. Okay, in the main, we’re talking about hardened criminals but the conditions they had to endure were extreme. Fair enough back in the 1850s when the prison was built but this was an active prison up until 1991 and from what we were being told, the conditions hadn’t changed much in almost 150 years apart from stopping the inhumane whippings in 1943 and the hangings in 1964. So much for the rehabilitation aspect. So much for us being better than them.
But the kids loved it and lapped it all up. It didn’t seem to bother the parents who I’m sure won’t sit down with their offspring and talk through the issues and lessons to be learned from history.
My stay in Perth hasn’t been all death and gloom. Yesterday I was civilised enough to cruise up the Swan River to a winery and partake in a wine tasting. I’m not really a wine conneisseur and it did seem all a bit pretentious but I must say that the port was rather nice in a fruity way. A bit like me, I suppose. 🙂
I also went bell ringing at the Swan Bells even if my arms did almost get wrenched out of their sockets. There is a modern bell tower in Perth which resembles a retro 50s space rocket. Very funky.
Funky actually describes Perth quite well. It’s a compact city, modern and laid back. I love the art deco buildings, including my hotel. I was last in Perth in 1972 when my family emigrated to Australia and of course, I can’t remember anything apart from being bemused by the Channel 9 shuffle (and if you remember that, you are too old).
I join a cruise ship tomorrow but I have enjoyed my stay in Perth even if the obliviousness of children towards death has perplexed me.