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Following on from the story on this website a couple of weeks ago about the town of Guildford in Western Australia and its rededication of its Stirling Memorial Gates (click here to read), Barbara Dundas has written about autumn time Down Under.
It is hoped that this will be the first of some regular correspondence via Barbara from our fellow Guildfordians from Western Australia, a town that has a number of historical links to Guildford in Surrey.
April has heralded the start of autumn in Guildford Western Australia. This early colonial township, perhaps more a village in size with some 700 homes still carries many features of the town when first established by Governor James Stirling in 1829.
In my garden, a half acre town lot with a home built in 1860, the grape vines that form along a walkway, or arbor, are now touched with autumn tones of red and brown.
The crepe myrtle tree, with multi-coloured tapestry of bark, is shedding leaves of reds and golds with each wind gust. Bulbs are edging green shoots above the garden beds.
In Guildford, with its Mediterranean-style climate and plantings, one is acutely ware of the seasonal changes. Oranges are already changing from green to their rich orange – a signal of the coming winter.
Unlike the British winter, the gardens, in particular the lawns that have struggled through the summer months, now turn lush green. The wattles and other yellow-flowering plants will usher in winter in a few more months. Yellow is the colour of winter.
Within the town we have just celebrated the rededication of our Stirling Memorial Gates. Gates that were erected in 1929, to celebrate Western Australia’s centennial year and honour the state’s first governor.
On Wednesday, April 25, Anzac Day is celebrated across Australia and New Zealand. It is a public holiday and Australia’s most important national occasion.
Services are held across the country in towns and cities. It honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, in which so many lives were lost, and is said to mark the start of nationhood in Australia.
Many families rise early for the dawn services held at the State War Memorial in Kings Park, Perth, or BlackBoy Hill in Greenmount (where soldiers were trained prior to departing their long journey to Europe).
Families watch the sun rise in silence and the cold, before the sounding of the bugle and relevant readings and wreath presentations. Then on they go to their local service where wreaths are placed on memorials for the local men who gave their lives in the First and Second World War, in Korea and in Vietnam.
In our home, we have just lit our first wood fire this year, eiderdowns and doonas have come out of hiding and soups will soon be on the menu. We are told we are to have the start of our long-awaited autumn rains this week – a welcome break for the thirsty gardens.
Barbara Dundas. From Guildford WA.