The City Of Light

Perth is the world's most isolated continental capital city, with the vast Indian Ocean to the west, and the Nullabor Desert stretching far into the east.  Back in 1962, we were effectively the only thing that glowed at night on this part of the planet.

On the 20th February 1962, U.S. astronaut John Glenn, just happened to be orbiting the earth in his spacecraft Friendship VII, and would be passing over Perth that evening.

With the support of the Perth City Council, it was decided that every light should be left on in the city.  This would give John Glenn a birds eye opportunity to check out Perth.

John! John!  OVER HERE!
Darn! Left my glasses on the kitchen table.

Perth residents stood patiently in their back yards and waved torches skywards as the spacecraft passed over head.  John peered out of his window and exclaimed, "The lights show up very well. Thank everybody for turning them on, will you".  The world was suddenly Perth aware.

From that day onwards Perth became known as the "City of Light".  Our isolation made the spectacle all the more brilliant.

Thirty six years later Perth residents hit the switches again.  John Glenn was back up there, doing an encore orbit on board the space shuttle Discovery.  It is believed he then remarked, "OK guys, you can turn them off now".


Copyright 2013