Wray-nbow of Colour Part 2

After reading my last post, a friend of mine told me that she had been threatened with police action if the chalk drawings her children did on the street of her neighbourhood wasn’t washed off.

I really can’t understand that mentality; I love the acceptance of colour and creativity on the streetscape of Wray Avenue.

It isn’t confined to children either.

When I went down to buy a bottle of wine from the Fremantle Doctor the other night, I saw Robyn from Wild Poppy doing something to the tree next to the cafe.┬áIt wasn’t until the next night, after the Fremantle Street Arts Caberet that I saw what she’d been doing.

As my girlfriend and I turned the corner into Wray Avenue, we saw our friends Ian and Sally underneath the tree admiring the knitted wool covering that went right up its trunk. I can’t believe that we’d walked right by it on the way in.

They were amazed by it. Not being from the street, they hadn’t seen the rail that Robyn had covered in crocheting last year.

I managed to get a photo of the tree the next day.

Robyn from Wild Poppy decorated this Tree with guerrilla crocheting

I’ve already noticed it attracting lots of people during the day, with many tourists stopping to take a picture. It’s a wonderful entrance to the street.

I just hope that the planned roundabout that they’re putting in next month isn’t going to mean that this tree, and its colour, get removed; there were rumours of this a while ago, that the tree and the chair would have to go.

There are some people with some grand plans for public artwork in the centre of the roundabout, and equally others with grand opposition to any ideas that I’ve heard put forward.

I for one would love to see something organic, like this tree, that the community can interact with: yarn bombing it up or decorating it on a changing basis.

Wray-nbow of Colour

I noticed this on the footpath this week.

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Some little kids have decorated the front of their house with chalk – and, coincidentally, I was totally looking for coloured chalk to do something similar with my class last week.

It’s nice to have something colourful to walk past on the street. But how come it’s only the imagination of children that allows public space to be reclaimed in this way?

There’s more to my house’s heritage than I could have thought

I received a letter in the mail yesterday telling me that the heritage value for my house was to be upgraded from Category 3 (“some cultural heritage significance”) to Category 2 (“considerable cultural heritage significance”).

The attached historical description of the property was as follows:

Rates Book Information:

Wray Avenue was named after the former Mayor Fremantle, W.E. Wray 1914 to 1918. The road was formerly named Alexander Road after the Mayor of Fremantle, Laurence Alexander 1901 to 1902. Prior to that the road was named Hampton Street.

This group of three houses at 38/40/42 was built in 1902/03 for the owner John Pattinson Beresford who also built the adjacent properties at 9/11 and 13/15 Wray Avenue. Beresford worked as a police officer, brewer and publican. At different times he ran the ‘Pearler’s Hotel’, ‘Star Hotel’ and the ‘Esplanade Hotel. The properties were used as investment properties and were leased out to various tenant.

The houses were formerly numbered 40/42/44 Wray Avenue, the numbering changed in 1935/36.

The first two occupant of the three cottages were J. Lewis, painter and Samuel Lawrence a police constable. The third is not listed. The rates books do not distinguish which occupant lived in which house.

The Beresford family were owners of the three cottages until at least the 1920s. Afterwards the ownership was split.

This confirms my earlier research regarding the naming of Wray Avenue but discounts my theory about the origin of its earlier name of Alexander (read that post here).

The history of my house and Wray Avenue is a hobby of mine, and I can add the original occupiers from the 1903 Western Australian Directory of Towns [1]. J. Lewis, the painter, occupied number 40 (now changed to 38 Wray Avenue) and Samuel Lawrence, the police Constable, occupied number 44 (now 42 Wray Avenue). The directory lists a Mrs J Farell as the first occupier of number 42. Is it possible that women weren’t allowed to put their names on rates books at this point in history?

Anyway, this address is now 40 Wray Avenue – my house (the one in the middle below).

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What is even more interesting for me is that in the 1904 Western Australian Directory of Towns [2], there is a Henry Beresford, no doubt a relative of John Pattinson Beresford, listed as living in this house. Henry seems to have occupied several places along Wray Avenue at different times after this.

Trying to find information about this connection led to a very tragic twist in this story – the suicide of Mr John Pattinson Beresford [3]. This is another suicide related to this street, as Mayor W.E Wray himself committed suicide.

A report in the Western Mail Saturday 10th October 1908 told the story.

TRAGEDY AT FREMANTLE.

DEATH OF MR. J. P. BERESFORD

At about half-past one o’clock on Thursday morning, Mr. John Pattinson Beresford, licensee of the Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle, committed suicide in very tragic circumstances. The deceased, who was formerly a sergeant of police in Western Australia, had been suffering from dropsy and insomnia, and was under the care of Dr. Paget. It is understood that his conduct of late had been such as to cause some alarm. On Wednesday night he and his wife went to bed, and at about 1.30 in the morning Mrs Beresford went to sleep. Shortly afterwards she awakened and discovered her husband lying across the foot of the bed with a revolver near him. She did not hear the report of the revolver shot, and was horrified to find that he was dead. The police were sent for, and on examination a bullet was found in the left breast, right over the heart. In the revolver were found two undischarged cartridges. One cartridge had been discharged, and two others were found at the foot of the bed.

The event was reported in papers across the nation, including The Brisbane Courier and The Mercury in Tasmania. It can be assumed that this must have occurred at what is either 25 Alexander Road where his wife, Mrs Mary Ann Beresford, is later listed as living there and other searches showed Beresford children living at 27 Wray Avenue (coincidentally the property I was looking to buy before this one).

To back up my theory that the Henry Beresford who lived in my house in 1904 was the son of the man who had these houses built, I have found a birth notice in The West Australian, 22 October 1908 showing that his son was born at 25 Alexander Road (now Wray Avenue), the house where Mary Ann Beresford dwelt.

BERESFORD, – On October 21 at 25 Alexander road, Fremantle, the wife of Henry James Beresford – a son. Both doing well.

Incredibly, this was not even a fortnight after the suicide of the child’s grandfather John Pattinson Beresford. Henry is later listed as living at this property.

All in all, quite interesting stuff and not what I was expecting to be looking into over these school holidays.

1 – http://www.slwa.wa.gov.au/pdf/battye/pods/1903/0083.pdf

2 – http://www.slwa.wa.gov.au/pdf/battye/pods/1904/0078.pdf

3 – http://www.trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/37817645

4 – http://www.trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/26211954

Bean anywhere good for breakfast lately?

There’s so much competition for coffee around Wray at the moment. I’m loving it.

My new favourite place is Vanilla Bean. It opened in the old Presto Cafe digs about a year ago. At first I wasn’t taken with it but the convenience of them being open before 6.30am (the only local cafe that does so) when I discover┬áI’m out of milk and/or coffee for my machine at home had me going back.

While not actually on Wray Avenue (it’s on South Terrace), it’s less than 50m from the corner so I’ll claim it as part of the area. Besides, Adam can get his quality take away coffees out so quick I could be back home with them before any of the other vendors had even taken my order.

It’s not the coffee or the speed of service that I like most about Vanilla Bean though, it’s their genuine, neighbourly service. The proprietors are Howardians (a term I’m going to use now for peeps who live of Howard St) and they know the area and the feel of the community.

I can walk in to Vanilla Bean with a head full of sleep and before I even know what I’m going to ask for they’ll be starting on my “usual”. Adam takes the time to build up a personal rapport that I just don’t get from many businesses anywhere these days.

I see it as one of the positives of higher density, inner city living: having local businesses with real local knowledge, where business isn’t just driven by profit motive by by playing an important and responsible role in social cohesion.

More of it please,