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Why it Must Go.
Despite strong protests by the City Council, opposition on the floors of both Houses of Parliament, numerous deputa tions 'to Ministers from responsible pub
lic men and clergy, and vigorous objec tions raised by the Town Planning Asso ciation and other bodies, who have at heart the welfare of Perth, there still flourishes in the city a place- which, at best ? is an architectural eyesore and a moral disgrace. Situated at the foot of William-street, and forming one of the few blots on the picturesque riverfront of Perth, this place— mis-called White City —is allowed^ to /stand, under .semi'Gov ernment control.- This is all the more surprising when it is considered that the grounds of- White City overlap the road alignment ot Bazaar-terrace by 18' or 20 feet. ? ' When White City was originated, there was excuse for.it During the war years, when money had to be raised to give as sistance to bodies working on behalf of the Empire in its struggle, carnivals were conducted in the Supreme Court gardens. It was found, however, that the work of the Court was interfered with by these carnivals and the State Gardens Board set aside the site at the foot of William street- for those functions. From this beginning, the position has grown to its present size and, the carnivals, which were commenced to assist war-time objects, are now being conducted, in the name of various charities, in a manner which undoubtedly has' a demoralising influence over the younger of- Perth'-s citizens. \ Unsightly Buildings. Apart from the fact' that it provides a means — although a doubtful one — of obtaining entertainment in the open air, White City has little to commend it. Architecturally, -it . is ? an abomination. Walled by ugly wooden fences, several un sightly structures stretch from Bazaar terrace to the waterfront, resting on bark-covered ground^ No effort has been made, to render the buildings attractive in appearance and their corrugated iron roofs, blocking the vision o.f .the river, are anything but picturesque. The most serious'aspect of White City, however, is the influence which its vari ous activities have over the younger life of the town. The grounds, adopting for each season, a different name, are almost continuausly open throughout the sum mer. As soon as one charity concludes its carnival, another opens; but it is safe to say that it is White City, and. not the charity, which attracts the people to the grounds. Once patrons are inside the grounds, there is a relaxation- of the pro prieties which proves an irresistible lure both to young men and women:-. That White City 'lives by its gambling' devices is at once apparent ^Few ofrthe.,many games grouped in stalls about the grounds require anv skill on' the part of the play er,' and. although', in many instances, the prizes awarded, to winnecs are boxes of chocolates or articles of little value, the gambling germ, is certainly, sown 'in the minds of those boys and girls who attend ihe carnival.' Round the .buildings which house the more open and larger games of chance, crowds of young-people' gather and it is no uncommon, sight to see young boys and girls, still in their teens, losing their- money consistently, in. small amounts. ' White -City, also,- contains a large open-air - dance floor - on . which youths, with their' hats on their heads, 'perform intricate and sometimes' immod est, steps with, young-women' whom, : prob ablyj they .have never- seen before. ? An other of the! 'attractions'. df-, the ?; 'city' is -the' spectacle of a py jama-clad' woman falling out of a. bed, which suddenly cants npwardj'if a knob on a screen 'above is struck by a ball. The price of this excis ing and elevating sight-is one penny, pro viding the aim of the thrower is suffi ciently straight to hit the knob at his first try. Usually- it is much more. Since' its -inception, White pity has proved to be a magnet, for larrikins and loafers, who, in various' stages of. intoxi cation, make for its gates when -the hotels are-dosed. Although' no liquor is allow ed on the grounds, it is impossible for those in charge to see when it is being carried in and, during . the few weeks when- the grounds have been open ^his year, the police have had to deal with several cases of disorderly conduct which have commenced inside, the grounds. Police are- always, in attendance and the women police are invariably present- to warn young girls and youths against the possible consequences of any .casual. ac- quaintanceships ' which they, .may have' formed. . What Could Be Done. Solutionsyto -the -White City difficulty are not hard to find, and. there are several' ways in which the State Gardens Board can obtain revenue from the area without, continuing with the -existing, state of af fairs. - An urgent need exists -in Perth, for public .tennis courts,- where persons,, not connected. with any club, could enjoy a game.' The removal of White'-City' and the formation of courts would, there fore, fill, a' public need, as well as beau tify the- rives foreshore. Alternatively, one of the greatest, problems facing Perth at the .present time. is the question- of providing parking 'spaces for motor cars. If White City. were abolished and a neatly constructed and ornamental parking area were made, it would probably be found that a small- parking .fee would' recom pense 'the State Gardens Board, for. any loss of ? revenue. Or if the land were used to further the schpffie of- foreshore beautification already embarked, on, citi zens of Perth, iwith the exception of those interested in the continuance of the carnivals from personal motives, : would be thankful- for deliverance'. There has already- been formed in Perth a commit tee whose dutjr will be to find fitting ways of celebrating ? the ? State Centenary. There is no- doubt that, as visitors from allover Australia will come to the State a clean-up of Perth is essential.- and an early start could ? be made with White City. .