In Mandurah, change is the only thing that stays the same

Changes: Things were certainly different when we were growing up in Mandurah. Photo: Mandurah Mail Archive.

Changes: Things were certainly different when we were growing up in Mandurah. Photo: Mandurah Mail Archive.

It seems like a while ago now that Mandurah Mail editor Kate Hedley and I were at Assumption Catholic Primary School together.

In fact, it was 1986. That's more than a while, it’s an eternity.

Since then, the Mandurah Mail was launched (in 1991), Kate became its editor, and now – to my surprise – I’m following in her footsteps (at least in the meantime – too much editing takes you away from the writing, which is the bit I love the most).

There is not much about this City that hasn’t changed significantly.

In 1986 Mandurah’s extensive network of canals were just on the verge of becoming more than a dream. They were just about the only thing argued about on the Council.

Then in 1990, Mandurah became a City. More changes.

I had a good mate who lived on Coolibah Avenue, Dudley Park, and we would spend hours exploring the bush and the swamps near the Estuary.

Nathan Hondros

Just about everywhere I go in the region I can reel off an old timer’s story that begins, “I remember when...”

But in that, I’m no different to anyone.

My connection to the region started with the holiday house my grandfather built on Carthage Road in Falcon.

Every weekend he wasn’t working on the wharves in Fremantle we spent in Mandurah doing what the region became famous for.

We’d put his tinny in at the boat ramp at Falcon Bay and go fishing or else head out into the estuary to go crabbing.

We’d come back with a barrel full of catch.

History: The Castle Fun Park was one of the highlights of a 1980s Mandurah childhood. Photo: Mandurah Mail Archive.

History: The Castle Fun Park was one of the highlights of a 1980s Mandurah childhood. Photo: Mandurah Mail Archive.

In those days, mums would let their kids go swimming and surfing out at Avalon or Gearies without any supervision. And that’s where we spent entire summers.

We’d get sun burnt and nobody cared, we’d stay out from day break to dusk and no-one would panic. Things just seemed simpler.

Then my parents moved to Mandurah when my Dad took a job teaching English at Mandurah Senior High School (more changes – that’s the name of the school that is now John Tonkin College).

I had a good mate who lived on Coolibah Avenue, Dudley Park, and we would spend hours exploring the bush and the swamps near the Estuary.

Then one day, in a part of the bush we’d often get ourselves lost in, we stumbled onto a massive clearing that was about to become Mandurah Road.

Things were about to change in ways we’d never suspect and that was the only thing that stayed the same.

– Nathan Hondros