This is my place in time.
I have a love/hate affair with Guildford, the little historical town on the edge of Perth’s Swan Valley.
Growing up in West Midland (Woodbridge), only 5 minutes away by car we spent a lot of time in Guildford. Time I recall was mostly spent being dragged between antique shops by Mum and Dad.
Jones’ has been there for as long as I can remember (and plays a part in the rest of this story). Mum wasn’t overly keen this shop but back in the 80s I always thought it was the most exciting of the ones on the strip.
In every single shop we visited, there was a vintage one of these. Sometimes several of them. I don’t know why, it’s just something that has stuck in my memory.
When I was really small, about three or four, there were still markets in Guildford, in the courtyard behind this building (where Retrobella is now). I only have a vague memory of the markets, and perhaps it’s not my own memory but from an old long lost family video, but I do remember bright purple icecream, face painting, and glass blowers. What happened to all the glass blowers? They were everywhere when I was little, making swans by the dozen.
Besides the vague happy memories of times spent at the markets, playing in secondhand wardrobes, and dancing the night away at The Woody, Guildford is somewhere I view with a bittersweet grimace due to lots of missed opportunities. Not life altering opportunities, just a big pile of ‘why???’.
Why did I not visit this grand old lady before she inevitably* burnt down and became subject to demolition by neglect? For almost TWENTY YEARS my family lived five minutes away, and not once did I step foot inside. Even my husband who grew up in Kwinana (about an hour away) has visited the Guildford Hotel. I never went inside. Ever. What a moron.
* I say inevitably because the Guildford Hotel was just one in a long line of historical pubs that mysteriously burnt down between the early 1990s and today. I smell a rat.
One of these buildings used to house the Guildford deli. We didn’t go to the Guildford deli very often (we had our own around the corner), but what was really special about this one was that they had the sit down gaming tables. The real ones, before they were ‘retro’, ‘vintage’ or just remade because everyone thinks they’re cool. These were the real thing with joysticks, old cathode ray tube screens, and little stools. I can’t remember if I ever played them. I just miss them. The deli also had strawberry Billabongs (icecream not unlike a Paddlepop). It was the only place I knew of that sold them. Everyone else just had chocolate.
I have lost count of how many times I’ve driven past Alfred’s Kitchen in my life. It almost looks upmarket now, with its rust coloured paint, benches, and big structured fire pit. We never went there as kids, my brother probably did, but it wasn’t one of our family outings. I think it was full of bikies and very smoky from the firepit, so we would have probably avoided it due to my brother’s asthma.
It looks different in my memories, it was painted white, with red lettering. The fire pit was a huge round concrete drum or pipe. It was cylindrical anyway.
This is my brother’s favourite burger spot. He has countless memories of getting up to mischief in the vicinity of Alfred’s. But to this day, I have only ever been to Alfred’s once. It was twelve years ago, about 2 weeks after Jas and I started dating, and we were staying the night at The Rose and Crown, so we went and had burgers before going to the pub. They were good, but not life altering, so we never went back. Which is pretty stupid really. I think we’re due another visit.
My biggest missed opportunity in regards to Guildford, is tied to this building, the beautiful post office. Back in 2002, just before I met my Husband, I was friends with a guy called Danny. We met on the internet, and we’d hang out at his place some nights just watching the Discovery Channel. That’s not a euphemism, he loved animals, especially fish, and he had a gigantic TV. We’d just watch animal docos for a few hours. I don’t remember a lot about hanging out with Danny, other than that he was really into body building so there was never any food in the house. I swear his fridge had nothing in it except for egg whites and bottles of Coke.
The post office was his, he actually owned the building, and he managed the post office shop. He had done since about the age of 16 when his parents (the Mr and Mrs Jones who owned the antique shop) bought it for him. I believe the post office has now passed back into the ownership of the National trust or the Swan Valley Trust or something like that, but twelve years ago, it was his. At the time, his parents lived upstairs.
I have a hazy memory of going upstairs once, and in that memory (real or imagined), looking across to the Guildford Hotel. I always loved the belltower part of it and wanted to take some photos. I am sure he told me he knew the owners, or the old owners and would have been able to organise for me to take pictures. I could also have taken photos from within the post office, behind the clock face. That was really appealing to me.
But it never came to fruition, and I don’t know why. I expect it was just a case of life getting in the way. I got a new boyfriend, I moved a couple of times, I stopped hanging out with Danny and the photos never got taken.
I regret that on a regular basis. =(
I think it’s one of the things driving me to take so many photos now.
34 – This sign makes me laugh.
I can’t imagine Guildford without the fish truck. It’s been parked on the corner of James and Meadow streets, next to the railway, almost every weekend for something like forty years. I’ve never bought a single thing from the truck, but after seeing their sign for WA prawns at $24 a kilo, i might have to do something about that.
Their sign advertising ‘sexy salmon fillets’ makes me smile. It can be found here, and on the corner of Hackett drive by the University of Western Australia.
Here are some other photos I took on Sunday:
These photos were taken as part of the My place in time project. I started this photo documentary project in May 2013, as a way to encourage myself and other people around the world to take an interest in recording the everyday scenes of their local area, and to print the photos. Whilst I only set 100 prompts I have taken hundreds of photos of Perth’s suburbs during the past 18 months. It’s become so very important of me to record as much as possible, especially given how quickly Perth changes. Many of the buildings I have photographed in the past year have since been demolished or closed to the public.
You can see the progress of the project here.