Monday, September 15, 2008

Derelict Ukulele Wielding Asylum Seekers

Now it is not in my best interests to sell you guys real estate. Most of us poor sad bastards couldn’t afford the piece of heaven I am writing about anyway. I am about to embark upon a Spray about real estate agents and in particular that covert and exclusive club; the real estate agents of Nullaki Peninsula.
From now on they will be referred to as REANP. REANP, in the true spirit of the universal pimp, will get hard-ons over your grandma – but only if she has sea views.

Nullaki is special. It has a beached baby humpback whale, a bay they call the Natural Aquarium - because on a still day you can look into the waters and see anything you want to see. It has a beach scattered with the petrified bones of ancient trees. There are rolling dunes populated by that kind of vegetation that is both resilient to the howling salty southerlies and absolutely vulnerable anything human. (Anyone familiar with trying to grow Pimelia ferruginea in their home gardens and then see it growing on the side of a sand dune down the beach, flowering gloriously, will be aware of this incongruity.)
I digress. Real Estate Agents. Nullaki Wilderness Estate.

Seven years ago a British investment banker bought most of the peninsula. He’d looked at Margaret River and decided the prices were outrageous. So Chris Langslow bought 100 acres of Nullaki instead for about $410,000.
Today, packages of land are selling there for between 2 and 4 million. They are pretty amazing and more outrageously priced than Margaret River funnily enough. They are pig-out blocks, beach front with views to Antarctica on a good day. (Not really but you get what I mean?)

To achieve this real estate coup and keep the EPA and local councils happy, the place had to be fenced off. The whole peninsula. To keep out ‘the vermin’. There are rules. No pets, no grazing, clearing only on the house site.
The problem however, with spending 3 million on a block of land that you can’t produce anything with, is that only investment bankers from Hong Kong can actually afford to build a house there. They can’t live there because they need to be in Hong Kong making money, so it really is a wilderness resort for these sorts to helicopter into on long weekends. (Squatters note - These palaces are empty – a lot.)

So….. they need caretakers and with caretakers the need for them to have a separate abode – as far away from the ranch as possible, so the investment bankers and Yakuza can carry out their weird parties away from the rabble.
The E.P.A. has thankfully stymied their latest attempt to double the amount of housing and the consequential effluent, phytophera dieback and clearing of land, citing that "the EPA considers that this proposed scheme amendment is by its nature incapable of being made environmentally acceptable." (City of Albany Town Planning Scheme No.3. Amendment 247 – Nullaki Peninsula.)
The caretakers are now not human, but made of razor wire, electric fencing and keypad entry. Out in the bush, security is a big issue, especially if you are not even allowed to keep Dobermans.

A few months ago Shark and I took a mental health day off. We went shopping first, bought some bread, wine, honey, a ukulele and a kazoo and then headed out to Nullaki. He knows how to have fun, this Fishy. (Mental note – must not call him Fishy. It makes him upset. Must call him Shark.)
I drove my sister’s banged up old van that sways in the breeze and goes like the clappers. Shark played "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" on uke and I accompanied on kazoo, a brilliant instrument because you can play whilst driving. How cool is that?!

Anvil Beach was getting hammered. "Why Anvil?" Shark asked me.
"Because of that anvil over there," I was making it up and he didn’t believe me. But it’s true! Where the reef folds around the bay there is calm water through which rises up limestone plinths in all sorts of shapes, all gnawed at their base by the sea. One is a perfect anvil.
The wind tolled. Water fell over the reef with the incoming tide and spilled into the natural aquarium and ‘outside’, the ocean boiled. It’s a wild place.

Back in the carpark, we decided it was time for a bevvy and some lunch. Half a kilo of honey, a loaf of bread and some red wine later, we were wondering why the sea air makes you so goddamn hungry and whether or not we should throw up. It was total honey overload.

But I did have to compliment Shark on his skills as a wino, something he was unsure how to take. His skill with a pocketknife and an empty spring water bottle to create two functional wineglasses is difficult to better. Man, I get jealous of how clever he is. A Sense of Occasion always happens to me when I drink wine out of plastic with Shark. At 11 am. In the back of a van.

So we thought (drunk) "Let’s go and check out the gated properties and try to get in!"
I have this idea that when the Apocalypse comes, we need a place we can go, and it’s best we start scoping these places now. Fresh running water, food, shelter and a wine cellar is all I need. Then when it happens we can retreat with a select few and begin rebuilding the master race.

Those big fuck-off gates with electric fences and keypad entry really are something else. I mean I’ve never seen a fox or a rabbit doing their heads in over a pin number so they can get in and wreak havoc on marsupials. It’s a different kind of vermin these guys are trying to keep out.

98,978 combination attempts later, the gate slid open! Far out! But it wasn’t our tenacity; it was the flash 4WD coming the other way that opened sesame. Bugger. Real estate agents.
We sat in the little rusty van (drunk), ukulele at hand. The driver slid down his window. We could see the Mr and Mrs Investment Banker in the back seat, looking utterly terrified.

"Is there a problem?" REANP asked, his face stretched tight over forced cordiality.
To tell you the truth, I was beginning to commiserate with them. Keypad entry gates and electric man-barriers do something to people and totally infect the very sense of safety they are trying to enforce. The gate is wide open. There’s derelict ukulele wielding asylum seekers who have nothing to lose, waiting for the Apocalypse so they can invade. I mean, it’s a frightening scene.

I did, I felt sorry for them. So I said, "We’re lost." To which everyone laughed too loudly and sounded very relieved. Then they waited to make sure I was going to follow them out.

I know they must have passed the girl. Maybe REANP explained to his clients that she came with the estate as a kind of quaint aesthetic package. She was another kilometre or so along the road, riding her deadly tredley out to Nullaki. Her face flushed with cold winter air, long tousled blonde hair. Tracey and her rusty old trusty with perfectly oiled chain and glad wrap on the handlebars. Tracey, who grew up a farm girl out this way, the cold thrill of her cheek, no helmet, brown bare feet on rat trap pedals. Off to Nullaki for free.

Thankyou Shark for black and white images.


  1. Great little story! I can't believe that bloody great big house!

  2. Is this true? Or just a great tale...

  3. It's a ripping yarn and all true! Go out there and check the gates out for yourself.Pretty loose place to surf and a bit sharky I reckon x

  4. Thanks for the tip, when I get busted I'll refer the Fed's here ;)

    Sweet tale of misadventures, i want in next time.

  5. I also forgot to mention that you really can write pretty damned well girl! I know you know that, but hell it is impressive!