Thursday, June 05, 2008

health and pleasure resort

The 175 Years of Headlines series in The West is proving to be a must-read. Some of that old-style reporting was very laboured. How about this 1909 epistle from today's supplement: 'An incident, as exciting as it was probably unique, occurred during the last homeward voyage of the R.M.S. Oroya.' It takes many turgid words before we find out the ship rammed a shark ('an enormous fish of the tiger shark species').

Today also has a story on the beautiful island. Rottnest Island: A Health And Pleasure Resort is from October 13, 1911, and features another buried lead.

'The opening up of Rootnest Island as a health and pleasure resort was a development to which the late Colonial Secretary (Mr J.D. Connolly) applied himself with much earnestness during the five years that he held Ministerial office.'

The island would be ready for the public not later than December 1 next...boring for water was proceeding...a bowling green and tennis court would also be provided.

The gaol and reformatory buildings were converted to: three sitting-rooms, drawing-room, dining-room, lounge, 2 card rooms, billiard rooms, 38 bedrooms, kitchen, with servery, pantry, etc., and 10 bathrooms (and lavatories).

Tremendous stuff. To stay close to the bogs and pool tables, 'the tariff had been fixed at 8s. per day, or 2 pounds 2s. per week.' I wonder how that converts into today's money?

You could also use the phones at the hostel and tourist camping reserve: they worked on the "penny in the slot" principle. Whatever that was.

1 comment:

  1. Reminded me very much of a Paul Murray piece in the current West, although he would have been more of an expert on shark swimming habits, boats, and ocean conditions. he would have stretched it another 400 words too.