Blast from the Past

Like sands through the hourglass…

Dingalings do stupid things, they don’t think of others at all,
They’re dopes and bullies, see the trouble they bring? That’s what we call dingalings!

If you’re now wondering about my sanity then you obviously didn’t grow up in Perth in the 80’s…

Dirt and Germs

I stumbled across a Livejournal page linking to these while searching for info on the old Ascot Water Playground. This was a favourite summer destination when I was a kid and I only just discovered that it’s all shut down and derelict. I cycled over today and scouted it out for Abandoned in Perth. I’ll probably get a proper expedition together later on.

It was a great place Ascot Water Playground. You had a big pool at the bottom, a sort of concrete bunker halfway up with fountains and slippery metal ladders (which were a death trap waiting to happen frankly) and two smaller pools at the top linked with locks. Locks! Like on a canal! A paddling stream ran from the top pools all the way down the hill to the bottom pool and one year (oh the excitement!) they opened a new pool with water slides. And admission was whatever you decided to put into the tins at the gates!

One of the defining moments of my childhood was at Ascot, the day when I finally summoned the courage to climb the deathtrap ladders all the way to the top. All the other kids (including my younger brother) who’d been clambering up and down them with abandon for years kept mocking me mercilessly about my cowardice, and on this particular day I decided I was going to conquer them even if it meant I fell to my death on the concrete below. I waited until there was no one in the bunker (both so the other kids wouldn’t figure out how badly their mockery hurt me, and so that if I chickened out at the last minute there’d be no one to see) and hauled myself up the slippery bars and over the top onto the roof. Then I clambered back down and wandered off, quite happy with myself.

(I only ever climbed the ladders once again – the next time the other kids started mocking me. I climbed up and down once to shut them up, and then never risked it again. Honestly, I’m amazed no one was ever killed on those things.)

But – back to the modern day – run off from the park into the river was apparently getting out of control (the site is right on the riverfront) and there were all kinds of liability issues (those ladders I bet), so the playground had to shut down about five or six years back. Another irreplaceable childhood memory gone – although at least it’s gone in a way that provides me with something to clamber around and take eerie photos of.

The Livejournal page I stumbled across has a bunch of other musings about Perth in the 80s, including a reminder of the plastic tugboats and space shuttles you used to get Red Rooster in. How could I forget those!? They were made of extremely thin and brittle plastic (that crumbled after only a few hours exposure to Perth’s harsh summer sunshine) and you got a sheet of stickers to personalise them with. Great days!

I’ll have to write about my memories of Atlantis Marine Park and Dizzy Lamb sometime I suppose…

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