Then to Adelaide by coach where we had hoped to book sleepers on the train to Perth but told that had to be done six months in advance. We spent another seven days exploring Adelaide and its lovely unspoilt beaches and making friends with a lady whose house was close to the sea who collected shells and with a power saw cut into these to expose their lovely colours and made then into brooches and ear-rings.
We then had to undertake a journey of some 36 hours by coach, supplied with pillows and blankets, to Perth crossing the Mallabar Plain and the 'Great Australian Bight'. The year before it had been a red dirt track but now the road was tar-macadamed, and around midnight we stopped at a large hotel complex which was crowded with cars and caravans as their occupants used the showers and had a meal.
When we reached Perth we stayed with Mabel's Aunt, who had a property on the edge of the city. Mabel had two uncles, brothers of her Mother Sarah Ann Johnson, who emigrated from Bedlington Station in the 1920s. George married a Bedlington girl before going to Australia had worked as the Superintendent of the Parks in Perth, but sadly he died suddenly when back in Northumberland on holiday in 1948. The youngest of Mabel's Uncles was Stan and he worked as a sheep-shearer but during the Second World War had served in the Australian Army and saw service in Darwin in the Northern Territory. He had married Elsie, now his widow, and Mabel was now meeting her for the first time and planned to stay with her for about six weeks as we took her out and about.
Mabel would relate her mother's story that when Stan had left Bedlington Station his mother had sewn a number golden sovereigns in the lining of his coat so that during his early days in Australia he would always have some money to fall back on! Sarah Ann's sister Elizabeth married George Colpitts in Bedlington and they, too, emigrated in 1929 but to America where they both worked in large retail stores. Emigration is a sad reflection of the economic times in the years following the Great War.
We had a wonderful time in Perth, a beautiful city, picknicking in the extensive parklands on the banks of the Swan River. We attended one of Tom Stoppard's plays, 'Night and Day'; a 'Glyndebourne-style' event in the grounds of the University of Western Australia for an open-air performance of 'The Marriage of Figaro'; and a Searchlight Military Tattoo which had The Scots Guards Military Band and their Pipes and Drums. Perth was a place where many from my home town in Peebles in the Scottish Borders emigated to in the early 1950s, including a nephew, so it was great meeting up with many well-known faces. However, it was terribly hot and at midday the temperature was unbearable and on beaches not much shade for shelter.