Everyone’s in love with Lost Perth

• Warren Duffy: Unearthing lost Perth. Photo by David Bell

• Warren Duffy: Unearthing lost Perth. Photo by David Bell

Gathering 60,000 followers in 10 weeks, Lost Perth would have to be one of the most popular Facebook pages in town.

The site collects old images and stories of Perth, focusing on the way things used to be and the old buildings and businesses that have disappeared, and it’s captured Perth’s imagination lock stock and barrel.

The bloke behind the site, 49-year-old fencing worker Warren Duffy, had initially hoped to stay low-profile.

“I didn’t want anything,” he chuckles. “I wanted to do it for fun.”

The former Navy cook says he’s always been interested in history and having been adopted and lost a couple of family members, he always found himself looking to the anchors of the past, the way things used to be, for comfort.

“People always talk about the past, people always talk in the past tense,” he says.

Two hours after launching the page 1000 had signed up. It grew to 7000 the first day, and at the time of going to press, clocks in at 63,800.

Mr Duffy now spends more time managing the site than many do at work, and he’s loving it.

“I’ve created some sort of warmth and happiness,” he says, adding there have been very few times where he’s had to delete a racist post or one that features “two-dollar words” (swear words).

“The messages that are coming through are warm and positive.”

He’s had a few favourites in 10 weeks, but one of the stories that touched him most was sent in after he’d posted pictures of his late sister who used to busk in the city malls, with a cat perched on her guitar.

A fan wrote in to tell Mr Duffy he remembered his sister, and recalled that she used to take the money she made busking to buy food for street kids.

“It’s heartwarming to know that she helped people,” Mr Duffy says.

He’s now planning to sell his fencing business, work on the site for a few months off the proceeds and then become a train driver, because he recently met one and reckons it could be fun.

by DAVID BELL

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