Archive | October 2014

Darwin: Charles Darwin NP military bunker

The bunker was built during WW2 to hold ammunition. It was deemed far enough inland to avoid being a target for the Japanese.  The bunker has been transformed into a museum which details Darwin’s role in the war.  During World War II, this area was part of a network of military sites that formed Australia’s front line of defence.

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Darwin: Old Town Hall ruins

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The old Town Hall amazingly survived the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese only to be wiped out by Cyclone Tracey in 1974.  The ruins were built during the Pine Creek Gold Rush in 1883.  These days the decay of the ruins has been slowed by modern-day conservation techniques.  They are used as an outdoor theatre.

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The Bombing of Darwin memorial plaque

Before we went to Darwin I knew little about the bombing in 1942 during WW2.  It happened soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbour and was organised by the same Commander.  It was a strategic bombing rather than an invasion as I had been taught in school.  The Japanese were preparing to invade Timor.  With Darwin being so close to Timor they could easily have helped defend Timor from the military bases protecting the northern coast of Australia. The information on these plaques provides a lot of really interesting information.

http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs195.aspx

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A trip down Katherine Gorge

After our lunch at the Nitmiluk Visitors Centre we drove down to where the boat was moored to start our two hour tour of Katherine Gorge.

I didn’t know it beforehand but Katherine Gorge is made up of thirteen gorges.  During the wet season it becomes one with the higher water levels. It follows the Katherine River, which begins in Kakadu. We were there early in the dry season when the water levels had begun to drop.  The boat travelled to the end of the first gorge where it stopped.  We had to walk a few hundred metres to the get on to the next boat. It was funny having to do that.  It was a really interesting walk and gave us a chance to take in the scenery rather than just cruising beside it.  The sandstone walls rise more than 100m above the water and are marked with erosion from millions of years.

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Crocodiles love to sun themselves on the sandbanks.  The sign on the sand warns visitors of this.

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Emerald Springs Roadhouse

To say I was surprised by how good this roadhouse is would be putting it mildly.  Our tour stopped here for breakfast on our way to Katherine.  Our driver told us that it used to be a normal (but unsuccessful) roadhouse until the current owners bought the property and transformed it.  We didn’t get time to look around much but were impressed by the gardens and laid-back feeling of the area.  The food was great.  Mum and I had raisin toast but Dad had an egg and bacon sandwich which looked delicious.

On their website, they advertise having the only cappuccino machine between Darwin and Katherine, therefore having the best coffee around.  I’m not a coffee drinker so can’t confirm that.

We also stopped off here on the way home from Katherine for dinner.  I ate one of the nicest Caesar salads I’ve ever eaten.

 

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Darwin – Day 4: Adelaide River War Cemetery

This was our first stop on our first day tour from Darwin.

Adelaide River is just over 100kms from Darwin and was the headquarters for the army and air force in World War 2. The cemetery was built for the 432 men and women killed in action.   I loved the tranquillity of the area.  It isn’t on a main road or in a busy area.   It is set in beautiful gardens.  We arrived very early in the morning. Our tour started at around 6.30 so this would have been before 8am I think. There was still a little bit of dew on the lawns and it wasn’t too hot.

 

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I loved the gardens.  They are so beautifully maintained.

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This tree was outside the cemetery. I love the way it twists and turns and is all gnarled. I’d love to know how old it is.

Mindil Market and sunset

Mindil Market is one of the ‘must do’ things in Darwin.  Whenever you tell someone you’re going to Darwin they ask if you’re going to the market.  I even find myself asking people now that I’ve been.

However it’s not just the market that it is well-known for.  It’s the sunset on the nearby beach that attracts most people.  The market is just on the other side of the sand dunes.  Most people make sure they arrive in daylight, buy takeaway dinner from one of the many stalls and go and sit on the beach, ready for the normally fantastic sunset that awaits.  I chose Thai but there are so many nationalities to try.

Once the sun has set, people either go home/to their hotels or go back to shopping at the stalls.  Live bands begin to play as well giving the market a very festive, fun atmosphere.

 

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This performer moved when someone put money in the bowl.  One little girl got the fright of her life when he moved after she put some money in the bowl. She ran back screaming to her parents.

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Delicious and healthy???? It is possible.

 

Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge #31

The Sandridge Rail bridge used to carry trains on a rail line from Flinders Street Station to Port Melbourne.  It is one of the earliest passenger railway lines in Australia.  The line closed in the late 1980’s when light rail was introduced to it’s destinations and was disused for many years.  During that time there was often talk about knocking it down but it holds such historical value to Melbourne and Australia that it remained standing but with no clear purpose.  Eventually it was decided to restore it and use it to link the fairly recently developed Southbank/Queensbridge Square precinct with Melbourne CBD.  It is now an open public space with a walkway, bike path and sculptures which has turned it from a white elephant that no one knew what to do with into a great public space.

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Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 31

Darwin Day 3: Fannie Bay Gaol (interiors)

Fannie Bay Gaol was built in 1883 and used until 1979. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been to live in such primitive conditions.  The accommodation was the most basic; harking back to the days when prison was more punishment than rehabilitation.  It was dirty and depressing. There was no privacy, hardly anywhere to go to escape the heat and rain during the wet season; nowhere to go to get warm during the dry season (even though it is a lot warmer in winter than the southern states of Australia).

It probably sounds like I didn’t like being there.  I did. I found it fascinating because it’s like no other jail I have visited before.  We were there in the heat of the day in the dry season and it was unbearable.

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The ‘mattress’ was made of straw and a very thin material.

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The gallows.

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The Mess.

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Kitchen

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One of the cells.

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Meet Sweatheart

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Sweetheart was a 5.1 metre crocodile that used to attack boats, dinghies and fishing boats on the Finnis River in the Northern Territory between 1974 and 1979.  Towards the end the attacks became more frequent so the wildlife officers from the Northern Territory Conservation Commission decided to catch him and move him to a crocodile farm where he and people would be safe.  Unfortunately he died after being captured so they gave his body to the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory where he is on permanent display.  We watched a short video on the capture which was really interesting.  The Aussie movie ‘Rogue’ was loosely based on Sweetheart.