Fantastic Abandoned Sites in Perth

This is a great site below for lots of images of abandoned places in Perth, gonna go on a tour and have a good look….

Thanks to Marisa Garreffa

Steamworks Arts Productions


The Quod Project, Tania Ferrier


Dawn Rottnest

Dawn Rottnest

‘The island that forgot what it was

A few weeks ago I attended a talk on ‘The Quod Project’ by Tania Ferrier at the Heathcote Museum & Gallery, Perth, W.A. The artist also spoke of her life to date with her artworks and major influences.

Recreated Quod cell by Tania Ferrier

Recreated Quod cell by Tania Ferrier

Many people in W.A holiday on Rottnest Island, I have visited many times but until I saw this art installation, based on historical research, I hadnt realised the true nature of the dark history which lies behind the happy holiday scenarios. There is nothing about the true Indegenous history very much at Rottnest, there is nothing to celebrate in the way the Aboriginal people were treated in Colonial history. This invisibility is endemic in everyday life in Western Australia, as if  Aboriginal people are refugees in their own country.

Noel Nannup – Noongar Elder spoke in the Welcome to Country  from the heart about ‘the need to get away from the shame and look at it differently. Something happened over the water, which needs to be known and understood to bridge the gap between black and white australians and heal. Do Australians understand their real history? Know the real spirituality of this place Australia? Respect the sacredness of life, of our selves and the rights of all people”

Tanya Ferrier’s ‘The Quod project’ explores the notion that her holiday and childhood experiences were based on a lie,  exploring her own story which corresponds with the terrible injustice of the Aboriginal prisoners shipped out and incarcerated in prison on Rottnest from 1839 to the early 1930’s.

As a child, her family stayed at the Quod, part of the Rottnest Island hotel resort, as her mother had holidayed on the island as a young girl with her sisters. The Quod was promoted and still is, as especially suitable for families, allowing for 6 guests to sleep in a unit that was once five cells and housed up to 35 Aboriginal men with no window or sanitation. There was an average of 14 deaths per cell, each cell being 2m x 3m housing 7 men. 5 men were hung in the centre of The Quod, by a particularly brutal governor, Henry Vincent. He designed the Quod and settlement, built by Aboriginal labour, with prisoners interred from all across Western Australia.

‘Words cannot paint the picture without being offensive’ Rottnest Island History by EJ Watson 1922.

Under the floors were secreted fragile posessions – glass spearheads, spoon, message stick, left by the prisoners and confiscated by local government.

As a child on holiday, Tania didnt know the deeply political history of Rottnest and that she played upon the burial ground of approx. 400 men. The cemetery was only identified and sectioned off  in 1997. The island is called Wadjemup by Noongar people, and is not a holiday destination for  Aboriginal people, but a place of great sadness. Over 20 years of Aboriginal protest is acknowledged in the Quod project,over the failure of government authorities to recognise and respect this rare, well documented site of Aboriginal oppression.

This is a very personal journey by Tania, her story told with the artworks created, aswell as a carefully researched installation with the trust of Aboriginal collaborators including Cedric Jacobs and Noel Nannup . Photos of Tania’s mother at Rottnest are the only ones she has, as her mother Alice, committed suicide after her 6th birthday, Alice left a note saying she had gone to Rottnest. Tania was never told the truth about her mother and she was never spoken of again in her family.Through the eyes of a child, Tania thought her mother had disapeared forever at Rottnest.

In fact, part of the auto biographical work seen is a series of digital prints which included illustrations from ‘The Isle of Girls’ a childrens book by Eleanor Smith, published in 1953.

In a series of digital prints called “If these walls could speak”, Ferrier imagines  the prisoners peering back to the future , to a time and place they could not of believed possible. There are concealed cell doors in the walls of the Quod today, and she juxtaposes the peephole view with imaginary, contemporary views of what would be seen eg a girl putting on lipstick.

 Some people have strange dreams when they stay at the Quod.

‘The Quod project stages that original shock of recognition that can be too easily forgotten in the current political climate: “Oh my god I didnt know! In occluding the historical truth, we wound and damage the living. In the Quod Project, the visitor travels through a series of spaces in which the artist seeks to find a form adequate to the task of representing the tauma of what we now know about the history. We move from the postcard to the painterly,to the documentary photograph, staged and framed to the colonial witness, voiced and amplified into our common space, and finally, in the Quod cell, to make a simulacra of the real – albeit a real that makes visible what the island cannot show: a hole in the holiday space of Rottnest”‘ Josephine Wilson

Main Reference – ‘Far from Home. Aboriginal prisoners of Rottnest island, 1838 -1931’ by Dr. Neville Green and S. Noon .

For lots more information see –

Beyond garment

At the Wa Maritime Mueum in Fremantle was a wonderful collection exploring accessories as fashion pieces and works of art in their own right. A fantastic collection of work –

Maggie Baxter

Beautiful red thread work by Maggie Baxter

Leah Tarlo ‘s “curiouser & curiouser’ installation of found objects was fantastic and inspired by Cabinets of Curiosities

Taryn Simon’s ‘An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar’

This is a fantastic collection of strange and wonderful objects and environments not normally in the conciousness of everyday American life.

The Hidden Garden

In my final stages of exploring the site, with the aid of some ladders on a sunny autumn day, I finally climbed up and looked over the wall to see what was hidden on the other side.

Corner wall Dale St and Stanley St

Id been wondering  for some time, as I poured over the site maps throught the ages, where certain areas had disappeared to, particularly around the wall corner of Dale St and Stanley St, where Golden Square and the gardens once stood.

Hidden Garden

I found theres a hidden overgrown garden left there now with a broken down wooden shed, full of bramble bushes, nettles and weeds, too dense to walk in.

Caught in the web

  On the wall i noticed there was a beautiful butterfly caught by a spiders woven web.

Decorated Butterfly

And someone had drawn in pencil over the white stencil butterfly to add to the decoration, brilliant.

Behind the wall

Wireworks Views

Last week, I went for a site visit inside the Wireworks building, down Cotton Court, off Church St.

Its the oldest building left on the site 1812 i think, 6 floors, with two staircases running diagonally across each other inside.

The building is listed and been completely renovated, though vacant at the moment.

The views were fabulous, snowy hills in the distance and as i climbed higher, the whole layout of the Yardworks site was revealed.

More interior buildings have been demolished, the Booths warehouses I think.

I could see the Yardworks wall from inside and finally where the doors  lead to.

Thanks Ruth for the photos.