Darwin

I arrived in Darwin on June 5th and it’s now August 13th. That’s pretty much winter in Darwin – June, July and August. Time to get on the road again and get this journey done. While here, I’ve enjoyed side trips to Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks and a wonderful visit to Bali.

Taking stock, since the Gold Coast last November, I’ve covered 9,000 of the 14,000ks to do the circuit. Just 5,000 to go. Again, these distances are straight-line between major centres – Gold Coast, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth … They don’t include Tasmania or any of the side trips. Alice Springs, 1,500ks due south of here, is next – into the ‘red heart’ of Australia. Tennant Creek is on the way. What do you want to bet there’s no water in the creek. Photo op. Here’s a progress map (Ctrl click).

http://maps.google.com.au/maps/ms?vps=2&ie=UTF8&hl=en&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=209198152440536352020.0004d957157c9d1f2073c

I met Ian and Beth here, a great couple on holiday from NSW, living somewhere between (?) Sydney and Lithgow (sorry guys, forgot the name of your town again). We were neighbours for a week or so. Thanks for dinner Ian and Beth. Ian was on a mission re-tracing his father’s footsteps. Beth supported him all the way on his journey – how good is that! Ian’s father was stationed up here in the RAAF during WWII. I’ve read the Japanese made almost 100 air raids against Australia. Photo below courtesy of the ‘Australian Geographic’. The caption read “Smoke plumes rise after the 19 February 1942 attack that left more than 250 dead. (Credit: Australian War Memorial)”.

Smoke plumes rise after the 19 February 1942 attack that left more than 250 dead. (Credit: Australian War Memorial)

The Japanese commander that led the attack against Darwin, also led the attack against Pearl Harbour, 2 months earlier on December 7, 1941. Hope they got his ass somewhere along the line.

Went out with Ian to visit the site of a WWII RAAF air strip along side the Stuart Highway. Very hard to imagine what it was like for those young guys in the early 1940’s. Stuck up here in the bush, in the middle of nowhere, in the heat, humidity and rain, with the snakes and insects – defending their home against the Japanese. Makes the hair rise on the back of your neck.

Some entertaining things I saw here and there around the Darwin area:

Advertisement: “Casual roles for experienced chefs, stewards & kitchen-hands. Kitchen-hands will need steel capped boots and salad prep experience.” – steel capped boots? For kicking the customers?

Walking through Batchelor, I came across a historic church site. The sign outside read “saint Barbara, patron saint of gunners and miners”. I guess this was in reference to WWII and the local mining days. The church knows how to cover all the bases. Patron saint of gunners – go figure – praise the lord and blast the enemy!

Sign in the laundry:

makes you tip toe after dark

makes you tip toe after dark

A sign in the men’s washroom (who takes photos of signs in men’s washrooms?). Still smelled like it hadn’t been flushed in a month. Maybe they need to get John Elferink on the job?

government & management involved in everything

government & management involved in everything

What a guy below! BTW, you can see Ian through the window.

jack of all trades

jack of all trades

Do the 2 click to see the caption and the buffalo hunter in the lower right quadrant.

check out the buffalo hunter - priceless

check out the buffalo hunter – priceless

A cruise on the Adelaide River. These crocodiles are very well fed. Otherwise they’d be jumping a lot higher.

croc rising to take the bait

croc rising to take the bait

I bracket these 2 together, because there are “crocs” in this building. I know. I went in one day to watch democracy in action and was ‘entertained’ (disgusted) by a buffoon chief minister. Should I use his name? Ah go on, why not? John Elferink – it’s difficult to argue with the truth. You can’t see the bars at the top of this building. I’m told they’re designed to hold the roof on in high cyclone winds, but I think it might have more to do with all the hot air in the building. Perhaps generated by some of the occupants. I enjoyed my visit to parliament.

Parliament House

Parliament House

Lovely, warm day, but no swimmers. Something to do with crocodiles.

Darwin Beach - no swimmers? crocs mate!

Darwin Beach – no swimmers? crocs mate!

This is where the Darwin Kiwis will watch the All Blacks beat the Wallabies this weekend.

Shenanigan's - had dinner with Doug Ward (new kid in town) here

Shenanigan’s – had dinner with Doug Ward (new kid in town) here

Darwin is HOT. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t. The aboriginal calendar has 6 seasons. Two of my favourites are called the “knock ’em down storms” and the “cold weather season“. I’m here in the cold weather season (June – August). It was freezing one morning when I fell out of bed, a numbing 24C. During the day the high only got up to 34 and then at 8PM it’s a chilly 30 – burr! If that keeps up, I’ll be looking for my winter longs.

The great game of cricket, named after the famous English school of the same name, where the game was invented (like Rugby). Or the insect, whichever works for you. None of the players knows what’s going on. That’s why there are so many of them on the field at one time – to help each other figure out what should be done next. In fact, they can play for an entire week without a result – game ends in a draw after a whole week! When this happens the players wander off the field scratching their heads thinking ” WTF”! As do the fans. Then there’s LBW, out for a duck, silly mid off, gully, wicket, stumps? Who the hell knows?

cricket at the oval, does anyone know what's going on here?

cricket at the oval, does anyone know what’s going on here?

I caught up with 2 brothers-in-law here. What are the odds on that? Wes Turner, Linda’s brother, lives here. Doug Ward, Nancy’s 1st hubby, moved here a few days ago. Both ex brothers-in-law, but I guess once a brother-in-law, always a brother-in-law! Jeeze, there are so many ex’s of every kind around!

Well, I see this next haul as the last stage of the Oz journey. There are a lot of empty kilometres between Darwin, Alice, Uluru and the east coast. And, once I get to the coast, I’ll be traveling over old ground. I’m getting restless and ready to move on. The 12 foot pop-top has lost its charm 🙂 She’s been good to me and is in perfect shape, but its time to pass her on to another lucky person.

Good-bye from Darwin. PS. one regret, I didn’t get to look into any Charles Darwin history – seems to be overlooked here? It certainly isn’t obvious, but … maybe next time.

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About durhamgjvoyageur

Retired guy, travelling and enjoying our amazing world - "Gap Year"!
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4 Responses to Darwin

  1. You should be a writer Dad. Your stories are great, full of interesting information and funny! Love Nickie xxoo

  2. Sue says:

    I agree with Nickie – so enjoy all !!!!!!!
    xxoo

  3. Joy says:

    Hi Jerry,
    I’m back to the grind, almost, after a pretty blissful cottage summer. School starts in two weeks. You’ve been busy! Great adventures, and I was glad to see your map… Really shows how impressive your journey is. I enjoy reading about it all, but especially some of the people you meet.
    All the best as you continue your journey.
    Joy

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