Goodbye WA, hello Northern Territory!
Finally, we arrived at Darwin.
Darwin has been knocked about a good deal. It was bombed repeatedly by the Japanese in the second world war and then devastated by cyclone tracy in 1974.
Cyclone Tracy, still the most devastating natural event in Australian history. It all but blew away the town on xmas eve 1974. According to a recored commentary, most people didn’t expect the storm to come to much. A weaker cyclone had passed though a few weeks earlier without doing significant damage, and the leading edge of tracy brushed over the town without leaving any hint of particular ferocity to come. Most people turned in as if it were a ormal night. It wasn’t until Darwin was hit by the backend of the storm system, about 2.30am, that people realized they were really in for it. As the winds whipped up to 160 miles an hour Darwin’s frail tropical houses began to shen pieces and then to disintegrate. Most of the housing was post-war fibreboard homes, quick and cheap to built but could not stand up to a real hurricane. Before the night was out Tracy had blown away 9000 homes and killed more than 60 people.
After a quick coffee, I decided to have a wonder around Darwin.
Constructed in 1925 of pocellanite stone by Snell and Co. to house staff from the British and Australian Telegraph Company. The architectural style, unique in Darwin, is reminiscent of colonial models developed in India, Malaysia and Singapore.
The cenotaph / War Memorial.
Overlooking the Harbour in Bicentennial Park the Cenotaph is Darwin's memorial to those members of the armed services, rescue services, and civilian personnel who gave their lives in the service of their country in time of conflict.
WWII Oil Storage Tunnels.
The tunnels were constructed in 1943 to protect Darwin's oil supplies. I was told that by the time they had finished building them the war was over, so they were never actually used!
They are pretty spooky though!
The Old Courthouse and Police Station.
Built in 1884 for the South Australian Government, its simple verandah and walls of coursed rubble are classic early SA style. The courthouse adjoined the police station with a cellblock in the back. The Navy used these buildings from WWII until the Christmas day of 1974 cyclone disaster.
The Old Town Hall.
Conservation techniques are used to slow decay of these post)cyclone Tracy ruins. Along with Browns Mart and Christchurch Cathedral, the simple, rectangular building erected in 1883 during a mining boom created a human scaled streets cape of stone. In WWII, it was used for naval administration and later as an art gallery.
The original cathedral built in 1902 was devastated by Cyclone Tracy. The cathedral you see here is a totally modern design built in 1975 incorporating part of the ruins of the original structure.
Intended as a mining exchange when built in the 1880'sn this stone cottage has served many purposes throughout the years.
The Beagle Bells
The HMS Beagle Ship Bell Chime is a musical instrument linking the City of Darwin to Charles Darwin's voyage on the HMS Beagle from 1831 to 1836.
The display features a series of cast bronze bells, and a replica HMS Beagle ship's bell, cast in brass; the sculpture brings together the separate Eastern and Western bell traditions.
The Tree of Knowledge.
The banyan tree (ficus virens), a species revered by Buddhists worldwide as the 'The Tree of Knowledge'. This ancient beauty has been a locally-famous landmark throughout the town's history.
The present temple building was erected after the original temple built in 1887 was destroyed by Cyclone Tracy. It is built on the same footprint as the original Temple.
Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.
A crocodile steak burger! Delicious!
A walk around George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens.
So many different types of palms!
Mosquito heaven! (Even worse, you can still catch dengue disease up here!)