The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

19 June, 2016

Darwin for 8 weeks

We arrived in Darwin near the beginning of June.

Always good to be back in the territory and catch up on the NT news!!
For the first two weeks we stayed at Bruce and Julie's property near Noonamah. This worked out well as we had to do some work on our house in Palmerston so wasn't too far to travel each day. Gardening was on the agenda, I hired a lawn mower and trailer, and after numerous trips to the waste transfer station, lucky free in Palmerston, we cleaned up the garden and patched up a wall with the help of Tim a builder we met whilst staying at Noonamah.

Hidden Valley raceway 

Lucky for me (or very well planned according to Helen!), we completed the majority of the cleaning and repairs in time for the V8 Supercar round at Hidden Valley and I managed to go into the track on Saturday.  Caught up with Richard who dragged himself away from the corporate area to have a drink with me.  Was a great day and enjoy watching the race on a dedicated race track rather than city streets like so many races today!
Track side entertainment between races
After a couple of weeks we decided to move out to Darwin River with Gary and Jean.  They also have a nice property and was able to catch up with several other friends. From here we could go into Darwin for other catch ups and shopping.  We also did a day trip to Dundee Beach with Ray and Carol and although Dundee hasn't changed much was good to go back and have lunch at the pub.

Dundee Beach Pub
Noticed this park going out to Dundee, thought it was appropriate!!

On the 28th I took Helen to the airport to fly to Vanuatu (via Brisbane) for 5 days for Megs and Andrew's wedding.  Refer to the next blog, Vanuatu, for Helen's holiday away from me.  I stayed and fended for myself, well most of the time, other than when I had a beautiful roast dinner with Ray and Carol and Ray forced me to drink too much red wine !!

On 1 July 1978, around 6000 Territorians gathered at Darwin’s Cenotaph to be part of something special.
Self-government was finally here, a new era, bringing with it a sense of relief and excitement that the Northern Territory could now stand on its own two feet, no longer dictated to by the Commonwealth Government.  Each year Territory Day is celebrated with fireworks (supposedly between 6pm to 10pm) - anyone can buy and discharge and is something one must see to believe!
Whilst Hels was away living the life of luxury. I along with a few other couples went to Berry Springs community oval fireworks.  This is a great night with the locals letting off their own fireworks in designated areas, although some did seem to stray at great speed into the crowd (only in the territory)!! followed by professional fireworks - a much more controlled display.

  
Gathering for the fireworks on Territory Day

A good crowd enjoying the balmy night

Professional fireworks

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This little Honeyeater had built a nest in the bush just outside our camp at Darwin River, was so tiny we walked passed it for days before noticing the nest.

We watched over this nest for weeks but unfortunately they didn't hatch.

In the following weeks we had our Doctor check ups, drove to Crab Claw catching up with Frank & Jenny from Coffin Bay SA, hair appointments, Coolalinga Markets, dinner at Litchfield Pub and enjoyed the surrounds at Darwin River.

One of morning rides up to Darwin River Dam

Darwin River Dam

For our last week we stayed at Marlow Lagoon Short Stay - Charlie has set up 3 concrete slabs on his property each with power and water supply.  There are 2 showers (cold), washing machine and now a dump point.  He is just setting things up and we were his 3rd customers.  From here you are fairly close to Darwin so we were able to re-visit places we frequented when living at Palmerston.  Did the visit to Casarina Shopping Centre, Mindil Beach Markets, dinner at Stokes Hill Wharf, walk around the Waterfront, drive around Cullen Bay, drive down Mitchell Street, Nightcliff Markets, drive around Nightcliff foreshore, drive to East Arm and sat under the tree we had our orphan Christmas day with Chris and Les in 2012.

Mindil Beach sunset

Stokes Hill Wharf
Karen organised a John Holland Reunion while we were in Darwin. We had a gathering at the Ski Club on Friday night after the others had finished work.  Was good to catch up as John Holland don't have an office in Darwin anymore so most of the others are now working for what was opposition company's on various projects around Darwin. Always good to have a chat over a beer and reminisce about the good times. Thanks Karen for getting this organised.

Since we were in Darwin 3 years ago a lot of development has gone on and there has been a lot of residential development around Palmerston, a new Woolworths at Bellamy and a new shopping centre being built at Yarrawonga which will have Woolworths and Kmart.

Never visited the Aircraft Heritage Museum when living in Darwin so decided to check it out this time - and we were very impressed. There are 19 aircraft on display, as well as 38 major displays, relics of crashed aircraft and 21 engines.  An impressive presentation of Aviation videos of the B-52, and the bombing of Darwin are displayed.  You can see some rare amateur footage of the first air-raid in Darwin, and also original footage from Japanese archives.  The main exhibit is a massive B-52 bomber (one of only two on display outside the US) along with other military aircraft, engines and the wreckage of a Japanese Zero fighter shot down in the 1942 air raids on Darwin.  


B-52 Bomber


de Havilland DH-82 Tiger Moth

We spent quite a bit of time in the museum and thoroughly recommend people visit.


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