During our explorations of Perth, we had the good fortune to meet Susan, the wonderful principal of a local school. Over the course of our conversation with her, she invited us out to the neighboring town of Mandurah (apparently pronounced “Mandra”) where she lives. Located 45 miles south of Perth, Mandurah is the second largest city in the state of Western Australia (WA). The Noongar native peoples called this area “Mandjar”, meaning “meeting/trading place.” In 1831, the area was established as a small fishing village by Thomas Peel and 12 other European settlers, who had come to WA two years earlier with the promise of land grants. By the late 1800’s, the population had grown to a whopping 160 and the town had its own fishing cannery. Today, Mandurah’s economy is based on buxite mining and tourism, giving it the “unofficial” title of “the gateway to south-western Australia.” Some of its most frequent visitors are dolphins and whales. We had a great time visiting with Susan and exploring her home town.
Another highlight of our trip to Mandurah were the Thrombolites of Lake Clifton Park, which are ancient forms of microbial communities that are formed in shallow water. These rare creatures are considered to be the most primitive forms of life on earth. They have existed for more than 3500 million years.