25/4/2016 – 1/5/2017
First time in Darwin and its as hot, as I imagined, humid hot, not like its hot in Wagga Wagga but hot like you break out in a sweat just standing still.
There is an obvious ‘big’ thing here ‘when the war came to Australia’, there are sign posts and references to WW11 sites everywhere, and its almost a right of passage to head out to the Darwin Military Museum. As a complete novice to the art of war I am quite perplexed at the confusion that seems to surround the attack by the Japanese. First of all an imminent attack from the enemy was taken seriously with so many women, children and civilian’s evacuated quickly and successfully but then later warnings were ignored, discarded as just the Americans again. resulting in absolute devastation. Stranger still that the enemy describes the attack as being like hitting an egg with a sledgehammer and ‘unworthy’ of the Japanese force. The museum is worth the visit with excellent displays with a plethora of information and with planes landing, taking off frequently very close by it makes the experience all the more poignant.
There are remnants of war sprinkled throughout Darwin and the surrounds with many dugouts still in sight today.
Tropical cyclone Tracey is also another very important part of the history of Darwin and again, despite warnings, resulted in total devastation. Listening to an actual recording of the cyclone at the Darwin Museum and Art Gallery is incredible but still I can only imagine the fear that overwhelmed the people, families and the community that came out the other side of a terrifying nightmare but a nightmare that was real.
Darwin has rebuilt and prospered with tourism being a huge boost to the economy. The Mindil Beach Sunset Markets are a treat for all the senses – the sun setting over the sea, the sounds of the musicians’ especially hearing the sounds of the didgeridoo reverberating through the crowd, the bargains to be had and the wonderful taste of the huge variety of food available. I tried the crocodile spring rolls – could there be anywhere else you could get that!
Walking around Darwin at sunset I notice the dragonflies hovering around in the hundreds, maybe thousands, apparently a sign that the wet season is over and the dry season has begun.