Sarah Johns moved to Perth six years ago from Hampshire, UK. She lives in Perth’s northern suburbs, and prior to that lived in the city. Here’s her take on transport and education in Perth.
GETTING ABOUT PERTH
Some people take the view that Perth public transport is poor compared to other cities. To be honest, if you live in some of the far outer suburbs, it is. But even as far north as Clarkson and as far south as Mandurah there is a train line and bus routes.
Trains run quite late actually, at least until 3am on some lines and while taxi’s can be in short supply on weekends and peak times, mostly it’s fine. I find my way really easily in Perth due to the Freeway running north and south and there are a lot of main highways in between.
Unlike the small windy roads in England where to get anywhere you have to turn left, then right, then left then right about 75 more times, in Perth it’s more of a grid like set up where most places are reached via a fairly main road then just turning off nearer the destination.
In the Eastern suburbs of Perth and into Regional WA such as Margaret Rover down south or Exmouth in the North you really would need a car.
Because Perth and WA are so large, it takes a long time to get places. You could drive for two days straight and still be in WA, perhaps up at Ningaloo or something. To fly around WA is not cheap either, so if you would like to visit places, take a week off and prepare for long drives with no motorway service stations.
If you’re lucky you’ll drive through a small town with a petrol station and a bakery. Enjoy it because the next one might not be for another 5 hours. Actually I’m being a bit harsh, it is getting better, and I think south is better than north as in there is more things happening and more built up areas.
The Transperth website has a lot of detailed information, not just limited to timetables but any disruptions or alternative routes too.
EDUCATION IN PERTH
Schools and further education in Perth are generally good quality. There is a mix of private and state schools, Catholic and non-denomination schools as well as pre-schools, Universities and Tafe (Technical and Further Education).
Children usually start pre-school around 4 years old, attend Primary School from aged 6, and then Secondary School, sometimes called High School until the age of 18.
After High School, people are free to leave the education system, get a job or apprenticeship, or continue with further education at University or a specialised College.
Most students go to a University in their home town or state, so the culture of living away during Uni and tasting adulthood and freedom is less common here than the UK. For financial and convenience reasons, most students stay at home while studying. Graduation after completing and passing a degree is usual, and the same graduation ceremony that you might see in the UK happens here too.
The fees to attend an Australian Uni vary. In general, you get a student a loan called HECS, which is paid back gradually once you get a job after graduation that pays over a certain amount.
For further education, such as University or Tafe, Perth has several providers. The University of Western Australia (UWA) is the biggest University, and is based very close to Perth City.
Notre Dame University in Fremantle is a private University and the Uni itself is sprawled out over one side of Fremantle (Freo).
Then there are Curtin University, Edith Cowen University and Murdoch University. While all offer a wide range of courses and degrees, there is also specialisation, such as technology.
Tafe is Australia-wide, with several campuses in WA. Tafe gives students access to over 230 fully accredited award courses and a wide range of short courses, and training programs.