Don't go there. A huge, legendary serpent has lived there since the beginning of time, lurking. He'll devour or damage the unwary who enter his place.
Sometimes, the legends of the past are far more interesting than anything my fertile imagination can come up with. I was looking for prospective real estate for Lucifer in my home city of Perth. When I came across a penthouse apartment on a site with that kind of history in local Aboriginal legends, how could Lucifer buy anywhere else in Mel Goes To Hell?
For those not familiar with Perth, Western Australia, I'm referring to the Old Swan Brewery. A decommissioned brewery on land reclaimed from the Swan River, since redeveloped into offices, restaurants…and apartments, it would seem.
As I'm not advertising real estate (despite the magnificent view) and I won't violate copyright by borrowing the estate agent's pictures of the place, this post will be about the building, the site and the legends surrounding it, including the Wagyl.
Australian Aboriginal legends tell of a rainbow serpent that created the world. Even its name – Wagyl (sometimes spelled Wagal, Wagul, Waugal, Waugul or Waakal) – means soul, spirit or breath.
Legends state that the Swan River (known to local Aboriginal people as Derbal Yerrigan) that snakes through Perth, from the Darling Scarp to the Indian Ocean at Fremantle, was formed when the Wagyl came down from the Darling Scarp, squeezed through the Narrows where the Narrows Bridge is now, coiled around to form the large area of open water from Mill Point through to Point Walter that's known as Melville Water, before leaving the water at Gooniniup, where there is a natural freshwater spring and a gap in the limestone cliffs of Mount Eliza.
There are deep holes in the river at this point, which were considered places to be avoided by Aboriginal people, because this was where the Wagyl lurked, waiting to devour anyone who disturbed his lair.
The site known as Gooniniup is where the Aboriginal people of the region now known as Perth City had their base camp, because of its freshwater spring.
Swan River Colony's first water supply came from the same spring, back in 1829. In 1861, when the site was still used as an Aboriginal campsite, a fountain was built at the spring site in honour of the fifth Governor of Western Australia – Sir Arthur Kennedy. Governor Kennedy's Fountain still stands at the spot today – and the water still flows from the cistern as it did over 150 years ago.
The Old Swan Brewery Complex is on Mounts Bay Road, a road built by convict labour in the 1850s. Constructed in 1879, by the 1890s the Swan Brewery was considered responsible for a huge increase in alcohol consumption in Western Australia.
The Old Swan Brewery closed in 1966. Many plans were made for its redevelopment, but through extensive discussion between government institutions and Aboriginal groups, a High Court decision regarding Aboriginal land rights and legislation applicable to the site, followed by protests by Aboriginal people and construction unions, none of them were implemented until 1992. Today, the former brewery contains high-end offices, restaurants and 28 luxury apartments, including the one where Luce lives in Mel Goes To Hell.
Of course, he can't really live there, despite the predatory snake, its past production of the demon drink, the cursed site…I write fiction, right?
Next week, in stark contrast to Lucifer's luxurious lair on the Swan River, I'll show you a some of Mel's little house – the smaller part of a duplex that is all an angel needs. Just as long as her demon CEO doesn't find out her address…
For Mel's house, click HERE.