Where were you when ’83 when Australia won the America’s Cup?
Possibly, some of you will have no idea what I’m talking about.
But, for True Blue Aussies over the age of, say 35 – you know exactly what I mean.
For the first time in America’s 132 year reign – the America’s Cup had been won to another country. Specifically, by a boat out of Perth – Alan Bond’s Australia II. For British Columbians, this is like the magnitude of the Vancouver Canucks finally bringing home the Stanley Cup, after what has now stretched into a 99 year, riot-inducing drought – the last time being 1914, a win on the part of the Vancouver Millionaires. Or the Boston Red Sox breaking the 86-year curse of the bambino to win the 2004 World Series.
Maybe that helps the perspective?
I have a vague recollection of being woken up by my dad – at four am in Canada. (I was five years old – and his son too small yet to deliver and share in this momentous revelation) so, his Barbie-loving daughter, was the next best substitute upon which to bestow the earth shattering news. In those low-technology times, the winning had been broadcast in a quick, stoic soundbite over CBC Radio. After all, what news was a yachting race in a snowy, hockey-mad country?
But that was enough for my dad – he got on the phone to everyone he knew back home in Perth to rejoice! Australia II, the winning yacht was represented by the The Royal Perth Yacht Club – where he had been a member for many glorious years in his youth. Immigrating from Australia, in 1963, he wistfully left behind his prize winning boat – The Battle Axe to a mate, Denny, another member of the club. Even when he moved abroad to Vancouver – the ties in his heart to Royal Perth Yacht Club were as strong as ever.
So with a free sunday on our hands – we made a day trip of lunch at Bib & Tucker, and the WA Maritime Museum. Now, living in Perth exactly thirty years later, I could finally go see the Australia II, at the museum in Fremantle where it is where it is housed.
Bib & Tucker is owned by three Australian athletes – a swimmer, a pole vaulter and a hockey player. (That’s right Canadians – a hockey player!) It seemed an apt place to start our afternoon and it certainly didn’t disappoint! Table service was spot-on – friendly, knowledgable and fast. That’s right – proper table service replete with side-plates, water, eye-contact from the waitstaff, and the subsequent accommodation of any needs throughout your meal. The vista on this sunny afternoon could not be better either, as the sun beat down on Leighton Beach and the gorgeous, hot weather belied that it was actually a winter’s day in Perth.
It’s a quick pit stop along the way from the city to Fremantle and seriously, the menu has something to please everyone. We had pizza and fish tacos – but I want to go back and try…everything. It all looked so damn good. To describe it? West Australian fusion? Fried goanna and witchety grubs it’s not, which according to my pops, is proper traditional bush tucker. They’re open for brekky, lunch and dinner – presenting the most variety I’ve seen on offer for each day part, anywhere in Perth. Still not convinced? Head over to the menu and take a look! Eamon Sullivan (the swimmer) is also an owner of Louis Baxter’s coffee house in Subiaco – my hands-down favourite for coffee in Perth – so you know, the brew is good too. And, yes also the beer!
And so, satiated by a kick-ass lunch we headed over to the Western Australia Maritime Museum.
Entry to the museum is very affordable:
$10 for an adult, $3 for a child, $5 for concession or enter as a family for $22. That’s bang for the buck. There is plenty of parking available in Fremantle, or take the train. It’s a short walk across the parking lot and is very fast from Perth City.
Having spent my youth in California – I was most influenced by a movie from the 1980’s called “Back To The Beach.” It was a fluffy comedy featuring everyone from Fishbone to Pee Wee Herman, and was centred around the grown-up versions of Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Besieged by the trappings of suburbia and the demands of family – they embark on a vacation and wind up sidetracked in LA, where they revisit their old beach (Paradise Cove in Malibu) that made them household names in the sixties. Mayhem and drama ensues when they discover their daughter (gasp!) living in sin, on a pier with her feckless, but good natured surfer boyfriend.
It was turning round the corner from the mummified shark exhibit that I first saw it – the 1970’s Sandman Shaggin’ Wagon – and thought immediately of that old movie.
The sight of that bad boy creeping up the drive is enough to strike fear in the heart of any Australian parent. I’ll bet more than once it was greeted by a dad, wielding a baseball bat. Mom, inside – admonishing her teenage daughter that she “Bloody well ain’t going anywhere tonight!”
Re-created to the smallest detail down to the dirty mattress in the back, the eskie, the fast food wrappers, hang ten stickers, parking violation, chewing tobacco and Pink Floyd cassette tapes. And, oh – the romantic candle meets wine bottle in the back that just screams “Baby…my pants are chafing me.”
It’s the epitome of an Australian parent’s worst nightmare. But…OMG. Look how cool it is!
And WHY aren’t there more museums filled with crazy crap like this?
There are a million other things I could say, a ton of photos I could post as this museum is totally worth the visit.
But I’ll just get on to the main subject at hand: Australia II.
I’m not being dramatic, but as an Aussie from abroad…it completely took my breath away!
It’s the real deal here, and looking at this yacht I could almost feel the exuberance of the winning moment: the roar of the crowd, the jubilance of a nation, the swell of civic pride, the…ok, maybe I’m going overboard. But it was awesome and I won’t spoil it with too many pics…so go see it for yourself!
I remember these characters from the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver…
Here’s something truly bizarre.
Framed along with some more 1980’s memorabilia someone wrote a letter to a “Jonanthan” recounting the race. Based on the address of 165 Warratah Avenue…This Jonathan was the next door neighbour of my grandparents!
I wonder if they knew each other?
Have you tried out Bib + Tucker? Or have a great story about the America’s Cup win? Feel free to share it here!