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3 corrections, most recently by GBurghall - Show corrections


Why it Must Go.

(By "Raffles.")

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 object- 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 of 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 continuously 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 of the many games grouped in stalls about the grounds require any skill on the part of the play- er, and although, in many instances, the prizes awarded, to winners 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 the 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- ably they have never seen before. An-   other of the attractions of the "city"   is the spectacle of a pyjama-clad woman   falling out of a bed, which suddenly cants upwards 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 City 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 closed. 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 this 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.   Solutions to 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 scheme of foreshore beautification already embarked on, citi- zens of Perth, with 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 duty 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.