From Jurien Bay to Coogee Common




With WA borders still sealed like a Mars airlock The Starfish continued its exploration of intrastate locales this month with a visit to Jurien Bay.

Ever the haunt of burn-out bogans, bikers, farmers, surfers, fisher folk, caravaners, families, escapees and zillions of grey nomads, JB proudly maintains its alluring, yet vaguely desolate, WA coastal town persona.

It has definitely grown in recent years, but not so much that it has become overtly sophisticated or stylish (has anywhere in Sandgroperville?). Yet that’s just how we all like the old salt, sand and westerly-lashed hamlet by the sea.

We had three nights there in a Sixties-era Airbnb cottage. Evenings found us whipping up gourmet banquets and sipping beer and wine and listerning to ’80s soundtracks, followed by befuddled games of Fiddle Sticks and spirited sessions of Sevens (a game also know as Parliament and Spoof, both of which fit).

During the day we explored the surrounds.



We swung by the farmer’s market, took strolls along the new coastal eco paths (nice touch, Shire of Dandaragan), trekked in the Lesueur National Park, went troglodytic in the Stockyard Gully Caves,  drove up to Dynamite Bay at Green Head, and gazed vacantly over the moored cray boats pointing forlornly into the ubiquitous sou’wester at Leeman.



We also turned up at Sandy Cape, a place we’d gladly frequented as youngsters. That was an era when several generations of enterprising and audacious local farmers (some related) maintained a shantytown of ramshackle beach huts on Crown Land at the Cape, before an increasingly PC state gov conclusively sent in the bulldozers. Squatters’ rights didn’t cut it against a Cat D-10 and the sodbusters split post-haste back to the Wheatbelt. Now it’s a campground, but looks exactly the same, sans shacks.


Sandy Cape – “Where’s me shack?”


On the way back we spotted one of thousands of vans currently touring and rediscovering the State of Excitement. There appeared to be a determined retiree at the helm, and a sign on the back said: “Adventure Before Dementia.” Sound advice.



Since the last edition we’ve also visited Coogee Common, the new funky, de rigueur restaurant at the old Coogee Hotel complex. They source much of their produce from  extensive gardens out the back and it makes for a great luncheon outing. We were celebrating mum Marlene Rigby’s 88thwith a raucous gaggle of cousins and aunts – an unruly posse at the best of times!




Speaking of happening eateries, we also dropped into Padbury’s in Guildford for brunch. It was absolutely teeming and we’d highly recommend the Eggs Benedict to all gourmands eager to completely lose control of their girth. By the way, this great nosherie is named after local Walter Padbury who establish a flour mill early on at Guildford. He also founded none other than Jurien Bay in the mid-1850s, so the boy got around. It was as if we were stalking his restless ghost.

Covid has been terrible for theatre, but things are starting to roll again in Perth. We headed down to Freo to watch the ubiquitous Kate Walsh in the Fremantle Theatre Company’s staging of the Sharr White play The Other Place. The show at Victoria Hall is an interesting take on a once brilliant woman starting to suffer from dementia. It’s good to see Kate getting involved with local companies. She is a total professional and brought real gravitas to this drama.




We donned our 1970s calico dresses, wooden beads, Fagin gloves, diaphanous shawls and velevet bell-bottoms, and caught the new Stevie Nicks flick,  24 Karat Gold, filmed on her recent tour of the same name. It was great concert flick and a reminder that Stevie is not just a rock ‘n’ roll suvivor, but one of the best song writers of the era. Her input regarding the success of Fleetwood Mac is arguably still underestimated.


Journalist Sophie NcNeill

Also herein, Jacqui interviews respected ABC investigative journalist Sophie McNeill about her new book We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know, which follows Sophie’s time covering the ever-turbulent Middle East. Her accounts of the region reinforce that, despite current pandemic problems in Australia (accompanied by endless whinging about restrictions), Australians still have it very good compared to so many other nations.



Margot and Roz have filed a couple of film reviews.  Margot writes about The Climb, directed by Michael Angelo Covino and his best friend Kyle Marvin, an intriguing farce about two cycling best friends called Mike and Kyle. Roz coveres Brazen Hussies the just released documentary celebrating the bold women of the Women’s Liberation Movement who reignited Australia’s feminist revolution.



This Starfish also features a great recipe for the warming weather from Pam Powell’s new book Beautiful Salads. This spicy grilled shrimp and strawberry salad with spicy strawberry vinaigrette is as colourful as it is tasty – as well as being fully organic!



Enjoy Isolation Island WA while it lasts. We are. What a great epoch (rehearsal?) for the latent secessionist in many of us!

Peter & Jacqui


Adventure Before Dementia