Highway to Hell … or enlightenment

• Buddhist nun Ani in the house Bon rocked. Photo by Steve Grant.

BON SCOTT used to sing about the Highway to Hell, now it’s emerged he may have actually lived on it.

Perth Festival’s AC/DC themed finale next weekend has helped fuel the legend that the lyrics to Highway to Hell refer to Canning Highway’s accident hotspot at the dip just before the Raffles Hotel. The highway is being closed on Sunday March 1 for a fleet of trucks with AC/DC tribute bands to honour the 40th anniversary of Scott’s death.

Recent evidence has emerged that the hell-raising singer was a boarder in a historic East Fremantle home on the highway during the 1970s; somewhat ironically, it’s now a Buddhist meditation centre.

That quirk isn’t lost on Kadampa Meditation Centre resident teacher Ani, but the ordained nun says Scott’s reputation masked the sensitive, reflective soul revealed in his letters back home.

Kadampa is holding an open day during the Highway to Hell event, giving people the opportunity to see where Scott lived as well as learning about their order.

Ani says they first discovered his connection to the house in a brochure from when it operated as a B&B, then recently a parent dropping some youngsters off recognised the place and said he’d used to jam with Scott before he hit the big time.

The stunning Federation home, which has been fully restored and extended with the award-winning meditation room, has other feathers to its bow as well.

It was built by East Fremantle’s first town clerk, Horace Parker, in 1901 and his daughter Dorothea became WA’s first locally born female doctor. In later years WA’s first female police detective was also a resident.

This year is also marks the 25th anniversary of Kadampa Perth’s incorporation; the first Australian arm of what is now a global organisation represented in nearly 50 countries.

Ani says they initially formed in either Applecross or Ardross before renting in East Fremantle and Fremantle, before purchasing “Hayfields” in 2012.

“Modern Kadampa Buddhism preserves the meaning and intention of Buddha’s original teachings while presenting them in a clear and systematic way that everyone can easily understand and put into practice in their busy modern lives, gradually gaining experience of deep inner peace and happiness,” she says.

The centre, which has around a dozen residents, is run by volunteers and has about five drop-in meditation classes a week and four reserved for people following a more structured journey towards enlightenment.

For the Highway to Hell open day the centre is offering meditations, as well as kids activities, a prayer for peace and a cafe with home-baked vegetarian dishes.


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