I’ve always thought that the best way to learn about a place is by visiting the local museum. The nice thing about museums is that you stay out of the heat – in my case, rain – and still get to have fun.
The Western Australian Museum in Perth is a five-minute walk from the Perth railway station. It was a gold-coin donation entry fee, which was very student-friendly. It was also child-friendly and there were quite a few tiny tots in the natural history section.
Walking through the various exhibition halls gave me an idea of the lifestyle of the early settlers. I was rather disappointed to see so little of Perth’s more recent history, such as Australia’s role in the World Wars. There was a large section devoted to the Aboriginal issue.
A part of the museum used to be the old Perth Gaol. I think this was what fascinated me most. The windows of the building were high, and the old wooden floor creaks ominously. The doors are fitted with little peepholes with sliding iron flaps to allow warders to keep an eye on prisoners. You can imagine what it must have been like.
I had lunch in the museum cafe, with rain dripping off the trees around me, and two fat pigeons strutting around the paved courtyard – trying to impress me, no doubt. I took a quick look at the curio shop, mentally gasped at the prices of some of the items, and settled for a little rubber koala.
So was the trip worthwhile? Well, it did fill up a whole Saturday morning. The thing I like most about museums is that you don’t really need the company of a friend. They’re the best places to visit on your own.