This is my place in time.
When I was twelve and in my last year of primary school, my class went on an end of year camp with all the year seven students from the sister schools we’d be joining in our first year of high school.
The camp was held out in the country, just outside of Pinjarra township in a historical campsite called Fairbridge Village.
I had a wonderful time at the camp and had good memories of my time there back in 1993. I remembered the lovely little chapel with its stained glass windows and always wanted to see it again. Yesterday I was craving tea and scones, and when I saw the coffee shop sign by South West hwy whilst out for a country drive yesterday, I thought it would be nice to pop in and have a look around. I expected to be filled with nostalgia about that happy, fun time back on the edge of adolescence.
Fairbridge is a historical site with a long history of homing child migrants from 1913 through to the early 1980s. It has a very dark history for many of the former residents. I knew of this history and of the ongoing suffering by many of the people that stayed there as children.
Sometimes you visit a place and get an immediate sense that it’s somewhere you shouldn’t be. That you aren’t really welcome. It’s a feeling I’ve gotten in certain old buildings, and that’s the feeling that we got walking around the grounds at Fairbridge. It’s hard to explain but it felt ‘heavy’. A little too quiet. A little ominous. I asked my husband about it afterwards and he said that “something just didn’t feel quite right”.
I felt this especially when I stepped inside the chapel to have a look and take photographs. I’d been inside the chapel as a child and we’d had a couple of services and sing alongs. It was one of the reasons I wanted to visit again, because I remembered the lovely curved wall of the building and the pretty, round stained glass window. I stepped inside the chapel by myself. It was dark and lit only by the light coming through the windows. It was cold inside and there was a very unwelcome feeling in there. I kept looking around and felt very uneasy. I took a couple of photographs and left quickly, making sure I left a donation towards the chapel maintenance.
We never did get scones and jam. We decided to leave pretty much straight afterwards. It’s a shame, as it would have been nice to see the buildings I remembered from all those years ago. However, neither of us felt that we should be there, and decided it was time to move on.
This was going to be my entry for ‘somewhere I visited as a kid’, but instead it will be:
#77 Somewhere I don’t belong.
These photographs were taken as part of the “My place in time” challenge. You can find out more about the challenge here.