Scribbles from our Travels: Day 10 – Whiteman Park – Swan Valley

We’re in Whiteman Park – I forgot to take pictures of the playground structures but they have a couple of well-designed ones that provide a good challenge to children to develop self-confidence and train up their problem-solving skills to navigate their way up the structures.

If you need to make a choice between the train or tram rides at Whiteman Park, I’d recommend the tram.

Why?

Because on the tram ride, the driver and conductor are more easily accessible to chat with the passengers, tell us about how the tram works and answer any questions we have about the trams in general. On the train, it’s just us and the other passengers, and the driver is in the engine up front so there is less opportunity to learn something about the train.

Shane, the conductor of the tram, gives us a really informative discourse on trams.  It was a highly interesting conversation, and below are the snippets I managed to recall:-

  • The Whiteman Park tram is a Melbourne W2 electric tram model.  The proceeds from ticket and souvenir sales on this tram are directed towards the cost of restoration of a couple of Perth and Fremantle tram models by the Perth Electric Tramway Society.
  • The tram has a rope that runs across the ceiling.  This rope is used to communicate messages to the driver.  One pull signifies that passengers are boarding.  Two pulls means “ready to move”.  Three pulls is used to alert the driver that there is an emergency. Four pulls means that the tram is full and should not stop for any more passengers.
  • Melbourne, Perth and Fremantle trams are all designed differently.
  • Melbourne trams have two saloons, one at each end and the middle is a drop floor which has a back-to-back seating arrangement.  
  • Perth and Fremantle trams are built with saloons throughout and no drop floor. 
  • On Perth trams, the seats face one way only, so if the tram reaches the end of the line, then passengers are seated in the opposite facing, when the tram travels back along the line.
  • Fremantle trams have seats that can face either way, so when the tram reaches the last station, it is the duty of the conductor to run through the carriage and flip the seats to face the direction the tram will be travelling next.  However, the seats are not in perfect alignment, so he has to be careful not to get his fingers caught when running down the carriage. 
  • Perth and Fremantle trams use manual brakes with three separate settings – engage, hold and release.  This means that the driver has to go through these three steps each time, whereas Melbourne trams are built with a single braking mechanism, which allows for smoother driving.
  • The “steering wheel” in a tram is not meant to steer the tram – it is actually the brakes which are applied only in an emergency.  The tram is operated by a lever, which works somewhat like a dimmer switch, i.e. if you turn it more towards the right, the tram will go faster.

 

We almost didn’t take the tram. Sitting at lunch, we wondered, “How different is the tram from the train ride anyway? They both run on rails.  And although it’s a different circuit (round the park), the bushland scenery is pretty similar.”  

But. As we walked past it, on our way to the car park, DS asks if he can ride on it. 

Hmm. The ride isn’t expensive and he gets on for free.  We ask the conductor when the tram leaves next. And he says, “In about half a minute, as soon as the driver gets back.”  And the rest, as they say, is history. 🙂  

I’m really glad we rode the tram. 🙂

*****     

On our way back from Whiteman Park, we stop at Coles to get some fish to cook for dinner. But it turns out that the whole Bassendean Shopping Centre is closed on Sundays! Alamak…how?

Then DH spots this Fish n Treats corner store. So we walk in, hoping to buy some cooked fish instead.

The proprietor recognises our accents and identifies us to be from Singapore. We strike up a conversation and he tells us that his family migrated from Singapore years back, and now they hold Australian citizenship.

As we leave, he hands us the wrapped package containing the cobbler and barramundi fillets that we’ve ordered, and tells us that he’s included some complimentary chips as well. That was really nice of him.  😀

We pop by home and leave the wrapped package on the dining table – dinner settled, yippee!

*****

The kids awake from their nap in the car, so we decide to visit Cape Lavender for some scones and tea.

The scones are good. The jam is also infused with lavender, so that makes for a twist on the usual strawberry flavour.

We also order a tier tray to share.

The only thing that spoils the experience is the service quality (or lack thereof). The lady attending the tables never smiles.

And she wasn’t very friendly or forthcoming in locating a table for us. We found ourselves a table for two and squashed our party of five around it, because she said we weren’t allowed to pull extra chairs up to our table. (???).  Anyway, shortly afterward, a larger group vacates their table so we shift to the other table.

I thought lavender is supposed to make one feel relaxed and happy, not morose and taciturn. Maybe it’s just an off day for her, but if that were the case, I guess for today she wasn’t a very effective poster girl to the tourist crowd for the products they’re selling… *shrug*

There are some paddocks nearby with horses in them. After tea, we stroll around and one of the horses comes right up to the fence and allows us to pat him.

He looks a little like the horse in the watercolour illustrations from a book in our collection – “Horse”, written by Malachy Doyle and illustrated by Angelo Rinaldi.

Can you imagine the joy on our little horse enthusiast’s face? 😀

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