Beautiful Bassendean with Earlsferry Sculptures
We started our walk at Point Reserve which was magnificent in the early morning light. Point Reserve lies across from where the Helena River intersects the Swan between Iho Park and Kings Meadow Reserve on the Guildford side. The riverfront properties here own the land all the way to the river so either side of the reserve is private property limiting access.
It is a beautiful reserve to visit for a wander along the river's edge. The river is popular with kayakers and it is very relaxing to watch them paddling past with the sunlight glimmering on the water. We enjoyed watching various water birds interacting with the river, corellas in a nesting tree and a flock of geese letting us know their opinion of our visit!
The reserve itself is a little rough (and covered in goose droppings) so is not the best place for a picnic. It has a small basic playground, BBQ facilities and toilets. We chose to park here and use the reserve as our base to explore Bassendean. From the reserve we walked up to North Road, admiring the Point Reserve entrance statement landscaping and art features. There is a map here for the Bassendean Heritage Walking Trail which we completed later on our walk.
We followed North Road to the intersection with Guildford Road where we looked at the flood level map and markers and took a mental note not to explore this area after too much rain! We spent some time at the reserve underneath the Guildford rail and traffic bridges. There were birds along the river to look at including a beautiful, pure white egret. In one spot there was steam rising from the water. We spotted a pretty little mushroom emerging after recent rain. Again the swish of the paddlers as they went by was relaxing. This park is in better condition than Point Reserve if you wanted to throw down a picnic rug but there are no facilities.
We briefly followed the shared use path, which forms part of the Swan River Heritage Trail and is also part of the Camino Salvado Pilgrim Trail. We walked alongside the railway lines looking at the various graffiti artwork and then along Railway Parade before crossing over the tracks at Success Hill Station and turning left off Thompson Road into Nurstead Avenue. This street has a few well maintained heritage homes before you get to Earlsferry House on Earlsferry Court.
Earlsferry House, built in 1902 is a two storey brick, iron and timber house in Federation Queen Anne style. Earlsferry House features tuck pointed Flemish bond brickwork, decorative wooden verandahs and a turreted corner facing the river frontage. In 1989 Earlsferry House was badly damaged by fire and subsequent vandalism and theft further damaged the interiors. Not all of the original features have been able to be replicated in the restoration process however the house is now heritage listed and operates as a B&B. The magnificent gardens and grounds also host Earlsferry Sculptures showcasing a range of stunning metal sculptures created by proprietor and master craftsman Martin Jaine.
The magnificent gardens are jam packed with unique sculptures, crafted from reclaimed materials and designed to delight and intrigue. Many of the works are natural scavenger hunts as you look closely to discover the various bits and bobs Martin has used to create them. There are animals, flowers and other decorative items.
The garden offers views across the Swan to Guildford. If you are lucky you will meet Buster the dog or the resident cat as you wind your way through the gardens and the workshop area taking it all in.
The Gallery is open Sunday from 10-4 and offers smaller art pieces from as little as $10. Most of the artworks on the property are for sale. You can enter the property up the long driveway and parking is available onsite. Martin asks visitors for a gold coin donation to support various charities.
We really enjoyed discovering this treasure house and loved Martin's creativity. It certainly gives a new meaning to recycling!
After viewing the sculptures we crossed Guildford Road and walked around the outskirts of Bassendean Oval on Old Perth Road. Passing Surrey Street we picked up the Bassendean Heritage Walking Trail, a 2.6km, 30 minute trail passing Bassendean's historic sites. Following Old Perth Road we sidestepped down James Street to admire the stunning Anya Brock mural featuring her dog, Angus, painted on the side of dog friendly Holly Raye's cafe, where we enjoyed a well earned coffee.
From here we continued up Old Perth Road spotting some beautiful dogs painted on the side of the Bassendean Library as part of the Whimsical Street Art Project. Further along at 42 Old Perth Road is a mural by Nami Osaki complemented by Oakley's Animal Wall painted by 7 year old Oakley. Nami Osaki also painted the front mural on the Mandarin Oriental Restaurant across the road. Make sure you walk around to the car park side to view the three magnificent pieces by Melski, Robert Jenkins and Larry Halden. Looping around the historic Bassendean Hotel we headed down Parker Street past the old Fire Station. Following Palmerston Street we passed the Masonic Lodge with it's bright red doors and discovered another beautiful mural on the corner of James Street.
After spotting the heritage English Oaks along West Road we detoured slightly off the trail and headed up Briggs Street back to Sussex Street to see the Pensioner Guard's Cottage and the Historic Post Box which brought us back to the top of Point Reserve.
We spent around an hour wandering around Earlsferry House admiring the sculptures, 30 minutes walking the Heritage Trail and probably an hour shared between the riverside reserves. Bassendean Town Centre, which is very walker friendly, has several cute cafes as well as a shopping centre so there are plenty of refreshment options.