New Museum for Western Australia
The Western Australian Museum – Perth in Northbridge was already an impressive institution when it closed in 2016 to undergo a four-year renovation. More than 400 million dollars later, the 2020 reopening of the rebranded New Museum for Western Australia is set to be nothing short of spectacular! Morphing out of the museum's existing red-brick heritage buildings like some kind of architectural alien, the low-emissions New Museum will feature 6000 sq metres of gallery space, including a dedicated 1000-sq-metre space for large-scale exhibitions. At the time of writing, building works were on track: watch this space.
Nullifying the Night
As per Kings Cross in Sydney, Fortitude Valley in Brisbane and Hindley St in Adelaide, things can get ugly in Northbridge in the wee small hours. After a spate of violent late-night incidents in Sydney, including several deaths, in 2014 the New South Wales state government introduced 'lock-out' laws, requiring pubs, bars and clubs to lock their doors to new arrivals at 1.30am and call last drinks at 3am. Yes, the rates of booze-fuelled violence declined, but at the considerable cost to the live-music scene, the small-business economy and the sense that Sydney had any sort of pulse after midnight. Queensland introduced similar laws in 2016, and it looked like Perth would follow suit after an all-in Northbridge street brawl in May of the same year and a third of Perth's hospital beds being taken up by damaged drunks on weekends. But, bolstered by stats suggesting a 36% downturn in street violence since 2008, and perhaps fearing the impact of such laws on an already cooling WA economy, the state government decided to stick with the status quo (3.30am last entry, 5am last drinks). So enjoy your predawn drinks in Northbridge this Saturday night – but don't go throwing any chairs through windows and starting a ruckus now, y'hear?
Perth Street Art
Take a walk around the Perth suburbs – Northbridge is a prime example – and on any empty span of wall you'll most likely spy a fabulous mural. The city has seen a boom in street-art culture in recent years – not just off-the-cuff tags and quick graffiti jobs, but gorgeously imaginative, creative pieces by established local and international mural artists. Cafes and bars in particular are clamouring to commission a bit of colour, aided by sympathetic local councils and the police, who tend to turn a blind eye to illegal, uncommissioned pieces these days. For the low-down on the Perth street-art scene, with loads of photographs, an interactive map and links to Facebook pages for individual suburbs, check out www.streetsofperthwa.com.