GOING HOME FROM work on late afternoons in summer, I drive west between lines of flat grey bush straight into the glaring red sun that hangs just above the horizon. I’m driving to the edge. As the crow flies, I live five minutes from where the land ends and the Indian Ocean takes over. On scorching days the Fremantle Doctor, gusting up from the south across near-deserted sand hills, rouses us from the torpor of a forty-degree-plus day. With our extreme new summer temperatures this is a definite plus for living on the edge of Australia. I live on a good cultural edge with my partner, Darryl Kickett, a local Noongar man with a strong culture, lots of relatives and an ancient family lineage stretching back forty-five thousand years. He doesn’t have to look anywhere else for Home – he’s right in its heart. Not like me, still looking back after twenty-five years, along with the hundreds of thousands of other immigrants looking every which way for Home.
Immigration to the west has been overwhelmingly Anglo-Celtic, bestowing an enduring legacy of looking back west to Britain as Home, like those colonists described by visiting Austrian botanist Baron von Huegel in 1833, who ‘gazed westward over the vast and stormy sea in the direction of their homeland, so far away and out of reach’.
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