Point Peron then and now

Point Peron beach

Point Peron, a stretch of land at the end of Cockburn Sound five kilometres west of the City of Rockingham, holds special memories for me and many other Western Australians.

Shoalwater Islands Marine Park surrounds the area which provides safe swimming beaches and boat launching facilities. The shallow coastal waters provide visibility for divers and snorkellers.

There are accessible walking trails over limestone cliffs with spectacular views the ocean dotted with small islands. The paths can be navigated with a bit of effort with a pram or wheelchair.

Several gun turrets built during World War II still exist in the cliffs. Built to protect nearby Garden Island if Western Australia were to become an enemy target, one has been restored. It also has a nearby bunker which can be explored.

People fish from the beach and kyak over the reefs. And, of course, there are always the sunsets.

Point Peron comprises a crown land reserve with lakes, walking tracks and plentiful bird-life. In recent years there have been unsuccessful attempts to reclassify the area for housing. Residents of Rockingham applauded the decision to reclassify it as the Rockingham Lakes Regional Park.

Memories of Point Peron

Memories of camping almost on the beach with my parents, sister and family friends at Point Peron as a child give me a frisson of pleasure, all these years later.

In those days, my father’s car bumped over miles of limestone roads from the turnoff on the Perth-to-Mandurah Road. We passed through the what was then the tiny coastal village of Rockingham.

We sang and played games as he drove. No one dared to ask, ‘Are we nearly there, yet?’

Our tent, made of old fashioned green canvas, had no floor and a particular smell. Some families may have used sleeping bags. Not us. Bedding placed on the wild grasses meant many prickly nights.

We camped near a tiny ‘runoff’ creek which provided hours of fun for kids. Swampy land has since been drained, and and lakes created. The little creeks no longer exist.

We carried all our necessities, including drinking water. My parents stored food in an icechest, which meant arduous trips to the village for replacement ice and fresh milk and food.

Holiday camp leases

Some sixty years ago, the government leased parcels of land for development as holiday camps. Some of these still exist and are used by organisations such as the Returned Soldiers League, WA Education Department, the Maritime Workers Union and others.

The organisations built simple holiday huts and recreational facilities.

My magic holiday at Point Peron

I’ve just come back from a magic holiday. My youngest son, Timothy, a seafarer, invited me to go with him and his fourteen-year-old son for a week to Point Peron.

We stayed in MUA hut thirty metres from a beautiful swimming beach about a hundred metres from where we camped when I was a child. The hut sleeps five, and was basic but clean and comfortable

This holiday echoed those of my childhood. After World War II, my parents spent holidays in beach cottage not far from home. In those days, people had two weeks annual leave a year and made the most of the time off.

I haven’t swum in the ocean for many years. With help from Tim, I managed to sit on the sand at the beach, wade in ankle-deep lapping waves and even to swim. So special!

Swimming with Pilot

Tim barbecued lots of fish which he and my grandson caught from ‘our’ beach. He cooked crayfish given to us by one of the occupants of another hut. We used the communal recreation area where we enjoyed the company of other holiday makers.

As well as walking, swimming and socialising, I managed to read Anna Funder’s Wifedom, a story about the wife of Orson Wells. And I must confess to little naps most days!

What I learned in a week at Point Peron

A steep learning curve. Things I’d forgotten.

  • The importance of simple holidays. Once I knew this. I’ve spent many wonderful holidays camping at the beach or beside rivers with my children and grandchildren. Before I retired at 70 and then married for a second time, my lifestyle included regular breaks and weekends away. Sometimes with friends. Often by myself.
  • I seemed to have forgotten much during years of overseas travel. Long-distance travel on planes and trains became seductive. To visit exoic places, eat strange and wonderful meals and learn about other cultures became the norm.
  • Simple places, close to home, can also feel exotic, strange and beautiful. It’s about mindset. A simple beach holiday for this old woman felt amazingly refreshing.
  • Meals can be both simple and wonderful. Fish, caught by people who care about each other, cooked on a shared barbecue, tastes magic. Salads made with whatever’s in the fridge work a treat.
  • We can learn a lot about people we holiday with. Even when we think we know them well, holidays reveal new aspects of our families and friends.

Snow holiday

My Point Peron holiday was the second in the last six months.

In August last year, my daughter and her family included me in their snow-based vacation in Victoria. It was the first time I’d seen snow! Two very different holidays. Both memorable. Both wonderful. I am truly blessed!

I wrote about our holiday at Mt Beauty here.

Maureen Helen blogger
Acknowledgement of country


  1. I loved reading about your holiday with Tim and your grandson. It sounded idyllic.
    I hope everything else in your life is running smoothly.

    1. Yes, SueW, our holiday was idyllic – in a homespun, rustic sort of way that I loved.
      Nothing runs as smoothly as I would like it to, but I’m peaceful and trying to live my life a day at a time, sure that everything will work out in the end. Thank you for your concern.

  2. Lovely to read about your special time with your son & grandson. Making these memories for the next generation is wonderful.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Maureen. I had not thought about making these memories for other people, but I know my son and gransdon enjoyed reading this blog and finding out how my experience had affected me.

      I hope you are well and keeping busy. x

  3. Fabulous, Maureen! Holidays with family are such beautiful times. Your post lifts ones spirit: sheer joy and enthusiasm oozes through your words.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences both recent and from earlier holidays.

    Love the photo of you enjoying the water!

    1. Yes, Susan. Holidays with family can be amazingly good for one’s spirits, and I did experience joy. Tim too the photo from the beach, and we were pretty far out, past a ledge in the ocean. I thought I would never swim in the ocean again, and there I was, taking mouthfuls of salt water for the sheer pleasure of the feeling and the taste. Truly blessed with my family and my friends, too.

  4. Yet again, dear friend, thank you for sharing your recent holiday. Loved the photo of you in the ocean – gotta make a time when you and I can get down to the beach for an ocean swim – we can help each other to walk down the sand and into the water – once in the water we shall be ok. Your blog has pierced me with energy!

    1. I love your description, ‘pierced me with energy!’ What a lovely thing to say. Thank you. Glad ou like the blog, and I’m pretty chuffed about the photo, too.

      As for helping each other into the water… not sure we’d manage very well, given our various difficulties. We could think about falling in a heap on the sand and rolling around laughing.

  5. HI Maueen
    At last I have managed time to catch up on you Blog. What a heartwarming, delightful experience. You reminded us all that a simple holiday can be one of the most memorable. Your writing created the visual image of the time and place and really resonated when you told us about camping out at Point Peron as a young’un.
    It was so good to read one of your blogs again. I am so glad you have got back to writing. Thank you for sharing your insight and the lovely story about your holiday with Tim and son.
    X Trish

    1. It’s lovely to hear from you, Tricia. Life seems to go so quicky, and its been ages since I’ve been a regular blogger, but hoping this time I’ll keep at it. So many technical and life problems got in tghe way. Thank you for your lovely remarks about my Point Peron holiday blog. Such a lucky woman! And we plan to go back again soon. It was very easy and very refreshing.

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