I am a Victoria Park-er. I have escaped from the share-house that my Australian friends now refer to as the International Student Trap with the Unscrupulous Landlord. Yes, there is an untold story here, which I will now bury at the bottom of my memory with all those other Things Best Forgotten. However, I have learned many lessons about leasing in WA and now have an abiding suspicion of all landlords.
So that is how I come to be in Victoria Park. Just over a stone’s throw from the Swan River instead of the Canning. Just beyond the wide expanse of the Taylor Reserve and Raphael Park – possibly the only park in Perth so far where I’ve seen cricket played on a Sunday. I’m sandwiched between Berwick Street and Albany Highway. I have a balcony of my own. I don’t have the wonderful view some of my neighbours do, but I’m happy.
I’m amused daily when I ride the bus down streets that have names of English towns. I’m fascinated by the wooden houses with bull-nose roofs. I’m intrigued by some of the very odd objects that people put in their gardens. I’m impressed with the gardens full of lavender, marigolds, roses and a host of other flowers I’ve never seen before.
It’s only in Victoria Park that you actually can see a red kangaroo on the street. I’ve exchanged the black swans of Canning River for pelicans on the pier by the Swan. The looming nib of the Bankwest Tower has replaced Curtin Business School on my horizon.
My neighbours are from all over the world – Africa, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Iran, India, and Bangladesh. Here are women in saris and salwar kameezes plodding down streets in search of exercise. Others wear head-scarves and still others speak Arabic. I hear snatches of conversation as people walk past my door. I sometimes think I understand what they’re saying, but most of the time I don’t. I am reminded of all the other places I’ve lived in, in India, where I haven’t understood the local language. Suddenly Victoria Park feels like home.