Favorite thing: This place has a bit of legend status amongst the locals and rightly so. Though it is a well known hotel these days it was originally a bank! I'm sure there's some irony in there somewhere, I just haven't thought of it yet.
After its life as a bank ended it actually became a general store but it wasn't where it is today. No, it took the legendary Lord McAlpine to move the entire building to its present location where you can sit and reflect while you have an ale today.
Fondest memory: Beside the pub there's a wonderful gallery with a quality eclectic collection of works. Whatever your choice in art, you're bound to find something here to interest you.
- Beer Tasting
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
The story of pearls
Favorite thing: Somewhat surprisingly, cultured pearls weren’t commercially grown here until after WWII (1957) and it was a Japanese man who worked out that local oysters injected with grit from the Mississippi mussel (pig toe clam) was the way to make pearls on a commercial basis.
Some of the places the 19 farms are located are very remote. I know this because I went on a 10 day cruise and we went past a couple located in the middle of nowhere.
What I found surprising is how labour intensive they are. The pearls have to be turned regularly otherwise they don’t grow uniformly. They feed on microscopic phytoplankton.
They also have to be cleaned every three weeks, first with a brush and then with a meat cleaver, the latter to remove things like barnacles.
Inside each oyster there is a blind crab whose symbiotic relationship keeps the inside clean.
55% of oysters can be reseeded for a second time, 30% a third time but only 5% a fourth time. They are checked by x-ray and 15% are lost at the first incision. Pearl technicians work for 3 months of the year and can earn around $100,000 but, remember, shell dust is carcinogenic.
Fondest memory: After their pearl life they are then inserted with plastic shapes to make Mabe or half pearls. Up to 7 per oyster can be inserted.
If all that wasn’t enough, oyster meat currently sells for $700 per kilo in Japan!
The lustre of a pearl is merely the nacre (mother of pearl) deposited uniformly on an irritating object inside the oyster.
The fabled black pearl is also now being grown in the Abrolhos, a group of islands off the West Australian coast but all Australian pearls are silver or pink.
- Luxury Travel
- Arts and Culture
Favorite thing: If you haven't got access to the net the Eco Adventure building in Chinatown (Carnarvorn St)offers an internet service. $5.00 an hour. They have about 5 computers.
- Budget Travel
This is the view of the...
Favorite thing: This is the view of the outback of Western Australia, taken from the plane. I hope you can see how red and sparce it is!
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