Our Big Country Town


I remember all to fondly the trips into the big smoke with Mum and my sister Faye. We’d do all the things you remember like Coles Cafe’, had our photo take outside the bank on Murray Street, gone to the Grand Cinema to watch The Aristocats, played at The Crystal Palace and watched the knights joust over the entry to London Curt as the clock struck on the hour.


It was a big country town recently landscaped to please the eyes of the Commonwealth during The Empire Games of 1962. The Crawley Baths were demolished as Beatty Park had replaced our riverside playground, the Old Swan Brewery installed festoon globes in the shape of ships, we got a brand new airport, a brand new velodrome at Leederville alongside Lake Monger, a million pounds was spent to construct a state of the art playing arena at Perry Lakes and the roads such as Brearley Avenue, The Causeway and Underwood Avenue had a very new Perth feeling about them with street lighting and low kerbs on dual carriage ways matching the new Kwinana Freeway celebrating 60 years of use this year.

Becca Scott kwinana Freeway

The shops closed at Midday Saturday , petrol rosters were accepted, you went to the Orbit Inne at the Airport for an after hours middy watching planes come and go from all over the world from the observation deck whilst the kids played by the pond with the swans.

Perth Airport Orbit Inne

It seemed like we all knew one another being a big country town but can the same still be said today?



In 1984, whilst serving in The Royal Australian Navy at HMAS Stirling, I purchased a car and made a couple of modifications to it. So proud I was and noticing a matching model I proceeded to run the gentleman off the road in Beaufort Street to introduce myself. I did this several times but the friendship that came from this first encounter is still going strong 35 years later.


We had barbecues together and visited Garden Island on one occasion for just that purpose travelling in convoy in our matching Bitsamissings. My new mates partner at the time was a nice woman and we hit it off fine. A transfer here and there with the service until leaving the Navy to get married and I lost touch with my new mate until finding he had parted with his partner and married his wife of 30 or so years today.

Life happens and we have 4 children of our own, the oldest of whom James, goes to kindy and onwards with a lovely lad William. I bond with William’s Dad David instantly, a lovely gentleman I never see enough of but it’s an occasion at the local footy club a dozen years ago where the boys are participating in an under 13s match where we meet David’s new partner and it isn’t until the following week it dawns on us we knew this woman from many years before when she partnered with my new friend in the similar white car!

The big country town thing is on my mind always but bumping into familiar faces happens all so often in Perth don’t you agree but I will continue with the coincidence.

My eldest son James had moved to Dunsborough for a couple of years and was going to date a young lady from Perth and the suburb of Midland. When James told me that the young lady shared a home with the young man William he had gone to kindy with 18 years before, I was so amazed.

I write this to share with you today because fencing in any ordinary back street in the suburb of Mt Lawley this morning, a gentleman I hadn’t seen for several years in company with two others going for their morning coffee and a stroll together stopped to say hello and it was David.

Philip Playford Perth from kings park 1955 A (1)

Our big country town is alive and well and if not for running my dear friend of today off the road in Northbridge in August 1984 I would not be telling you this little part of my life.

I hope you too have random friends and encounters to brighten your life also because it sure puts a spark into my day.

Cheers Duff

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: