May 7, 2010
Frenchman’s Bay on the south west coast of Australia, like Esperance and the Archipelago of the Recherche east of there, is named after the Frenchmen and their ships whose presence in the area in the late 18thand early 19th Centuries forced the nervous British to hastily colonize the southwest in a bid to keep their hands on it.
One of those Frenchmen, funny enough, was the man who lost the arms of the Venus de Milo.
When Jules Dumont D’Urville bought the statue from a Greek peasant in 1810, she was in full possession of the limbs in question, only for them to be snapped off in the ensuing tussle over ownership between French and Turkish soldiers.
Where they ended up remains a mystery, but D’Urville ended up in these parts six years later and went on to explore much of the southern hemisphere, only to perish in a train crash in Versailles in 1842.
As for the Albany station, it has gone from being an Auschwitz for whales to a museum where you can follow the grim process of turning several hundred tons of live mammal with a heart the size of a car into several thousand dollars worth of blubber, oil, ivory, corsets, horsewhips, umbrella struts, animal feed and fertiliser.
Not to mention the aforementioned well-known perfume, Barf for Women. Because you’re worth it.
It was so gruesome that I had to ride like the clappers to the nearest new age shop, buy a CD of whales farting, and listen to it for an hour in a darkened room before I could face a beer. That’s how bad it was.
Anyway, I needed the beer, for we had been pampered too long by the soft life of the southwest, and were just about to make up for it by tackling the last and most horrendous stretch of Australia yet: the Nullarbor Desert.
October 16, 2016