Category Archives: challange

write your story: for your family or publicatiom

We write for pleasure, but whose pleasure? Our own? Do we want to keep our stories to ourselves or do we want to share them with others?



During this Coronavirus isolation and lock down, classes no longer run. However, in our Memoir Writing Group at Godfrey Steet Community House in Benleigh Victoria Australia our objective is to produce our own story for our family, or for publication to the wider community. We all have writing projects ‘on the go’ which we shared with each other for help and feedback. When we used to meet, we would also write a 15 minute splurge where we just ‘go for it’ and write whatever comes into our heads. It’s amazing what finds its way to the page. Before we start, we knock that editor critic off our shoulder and tell it to take a holiday. There will be plenty of time later to revise and get things right.

We are not sure when the classes will resume and I miss the people and their stories. (please watch the Godfrey st Community House site on Facebook). I believe that everyone has a story to tell. The memoir writing group assists and encourages us to do so in a safe and friendly environment. Members read and discuss historical and personal events from their own point of view. They may wish to write a memoir for their family, or to publish for wider distribution. I am in awe of the talent in our group and can’t wait to hear the next installment of their work in progress.

We are all passionate about writing and I try to make the class handouts on the craft of writing as relevant to our writing as possible. Later in the year, with their permission I hope to showcase members and their work in progress. I’m sure you too will fall in love with their unique and different stories.



Tell your story

When you have the time during isolation why don’t you grab a pen and start recording your life story in the pages of an exercise book? It’s that simple. Later, your family will love to read the stories you tell from your perspective because it is their history: where they came from, their story.

In the beginning, don’t worry about time lines or order. Just jot things down as they come to you. You can always sort it out later.

The book that most changes your life is the one you write.

May you all remain safe and well during Coronavirus isolation



What time is it there? is my latest book and is on kindle and Amazon.
It is about my journey from VCE to PhD.

ANZAC biscuit recipe

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day ( Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) when, on the 25th April we remember all soldiers who fought for us.

ANZAC Day is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.


I remember going into Melbourne and standing with many others by the flame of remembrance with tears in my eyes as dawn broke over the Shrine of Remembrance as I listened to a lone bugler playing the last post. Unforgettable.

Later I enjoyed a Gunfire breakfast and mingled with old diggers, Vietnam Veterans and many from many other wars and conflicts. I shook their hands to convey in some small way my thanks. .

This year it is different. In this coronavirus lock-down I will be observing social distancing by standing on my own out the front of our house here in Victoria with a lit candle. I will remember them in my own way. Respectful, grateful and so humbled by their achievements 

Lest we forget

I will then come inside and make the Traditional ANZAC biscuits by taking

1 cup of coconut
1 cup of rolled oats
1/2 cup of sugar
3/4 cup plain flour
Melt 1/4 lb butter 2 tabs Golden syrup and add 1 teas carb soda

Mix and roll in small spoonfuls onto a floured baking tray, leaving room for the biscuits to spread
Bake in a moderate oven (approximately 200 degrees) for ten minutes.

(I often bake double quantities. Believe me, they disappear quickly)

Store in an airtight tin immediately they are cold (if you are lucky and have enough left)

How did the dawn service in the city start? It is suggested that the Dawn Service observed on Anzac Day has its origins in a military routine still followed by the Australian Army. The half-light of dawn was one of the times favoured for launching an attack. Soldiers in defensive positions were woken in the dark before dawn, so by the time first light crept across the battlefield they were awake, alert, and manning their weapons; this is still known as the “stand-to”.

Also in 1927 a group of returned men returning at dawn from an Anzac Day function held the night before came upon an elderly woman laying flowers at the Sydney Cenotaph. Joining her in this private remembrance, the men later resolved to institute a dawn service the following year.  

I hope you all stay safe and well during this difficult time

Self Publishing: ‘What time is it there?’ is on Kindle

I’m so excited. What time is it there? is finally registered as a Kindle e-book on Amazon books.

For a free sample click on the ‘read Amazon’ link

I had so much fun tweaking this book and adding the humorous voice of the older Diane writing a novel.

It’s fun to actually let loose and enjoy writing a book. Sometimes, as authors, we can become bogged down with editing and refining our work for possible publication . This book was fun and I enjoyed every minute. I love the cover designed by Luke Harris of Working Type.

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Posey Quill owner, Wendy J Dunn  was fabulous and walked me through publishing this novel, even though it put on hold her fabulous (I’ve read it) 4th Tudor book she is soon to publish and promote.

David Major  of a Distant Mirror did the Interior layout and design and formatted this Kindle e-book version

A Distant Mirror

I learnt so much and am very grateful to all who gave welcome advice just when I needed it most. Many thanks to Paul Whitting who gently guided me through the intricacies of my computer and Facebook (even though I’m definitely technologically challenged). Everyone needs someone to turn to when things are difficult.

I had to overcome many prejudices about self publishing and realized that up front you have to pay people to design your cover, edit and format your work.  I didn’t even realize that to format an actual book and a Kindle e-book were two different areas of expertise. However, it is worth all the pain and pressure just to have a well designed book in your hand. It also makes you realize why traditional publishers give you such a small return. They have to do all this for you.

How fortunate I was to have managed to get this book up and running and to actually launch What time is it there? just before the coronavirus lock-down.

May you all remain safe and well during this difficult time

Women Writing History and launch of What time is it there?

How lucky everyone was fit and well and able to attend.

Women Writing History and my book launch of What time is it there? was the last event on the Eltham library’s calendar before the coronavirus restrictions and closures were put in place.

I was lucky enough to have my son, Paul and his wife, Marian plus Ron, Robyn and Walker beside me for support. I thought I’d be okay on my own, but I honestly needed them there and they were so supportive.

You can buy a copy of the book at Amazon.com 

What time is it there? was finally launched by Wendy Dunn of Posey Quill Publishing during the Women Writing History Event  at the Eltham Library last Saturday. Even with last minute cancellations we still had nearly fifty people there. The staff at the Eltham Library were fantastic and provided free sandwiches and glasses for the champagne and wine. The nibblies were enjoyed by everyone.

I know that many book launches have been cancelled and we have friends in New Zealand who can’t get home. So sad, but so necessary.

I was just so thankful that I had my moment in the sun.

My workshop on How to Write the Mother  was a huge success. Many writers used their twenty minutes of Free Writing  to tap into their memories of their own mothers although they could have written anything that popped into their head. The stories they read out, written during the Splurge were so good that Kath Hart from the Eltham Library wants us to print them out for an anthology.

Of course all that might have changed due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Who knows where it will end?

Book Launch of ‘What time is it there?’

I can’t believe the book launch of ‘What time is it there?‘ is only a month away
Date: 14th March
Time: 1pm
Where: Eltham Library. Panther Place Eltham
Tel: 9439 9266
During the ‘Women Writing History’ event.

All Welcome

I love the cover that Luke Harris of Working Type did for me

David Major of Distant Mirror did the formatting both for a printed book and an ebook for Amazon.  Dr Wendy Dunn at Posey Quill is my publisher and mentor.

I have never published an Indie book before and it has been quite an experience. I now know the amount of work Ilura Press and Madeglobal did to get my two other books ready to publish.

As the author I knew that I had to get this manuscript as perfect as possible. This meant inserting the overarching voice (in 2nd person narration) of a humorous older Diane writing this novel and making sure the two voices (in third person narration) were the right point of view. Editing was also needed and Dr Nerina Jones and Dr Wendy Dunn came through for me. Nerina’s comments after reading the manuscript delighted me.

I love the way the narrative segues across time and character. The pattern is quickly established and seems to flow as naturally and easily as thought from one setting or p.o.v. to the next. As noted in the attachment , Diane’s Journal in the second person contributes an endearing aspect to her characterization.

I’m also conducting a workshop for writers attending the Women Writing History Event on the Saturday 14th March about Writing  The Mother. I have a power-point demonstration plus will talk for approximately half an hour with at least forty-five minutes for people to write about their own mothers, or someone who has been like a mother to them, or even a fictitious mother.

Who knows what gems we may find for our own writing. They can later share with others or keep what they have written to themselves.

My Memoir Writing class at Godfrey Street Community House in Bentleigh (9557 9037) will learn from my experiences into self publishing. One member has printed her own book for family members and I am so proud of her. It’s a great read.

Katherine and the Nitniluk Chalets

Okay. So I’ve been busy working through all the facets of self publishing and have neglected my blog. I promise I will finish it and get back on track again in the New year. At least I now have a cover for the next book, but now comes the formatting etc. I guess I was spoilt with my first two publishers doing all that for me, but at least I will know all of the process involved when talking to my memoir writing class next year. We break up for the Christmas holidays on Wednesday 4th December 2019. But for now it’s back to the Darwin blog

Top of my ‘to do’ list was a boat trip to see Katherine Gorge.

When we were last here in 1975 we couldn’t afford to go on this tour. This year, Paul had booked us into the Nitniluck Chalets, The name is indigenous . Nit (the sound cicader’s make) niluck (country) means cicader country in the local language. This time, instead of camping we were in a stand alone chalet with two bedrooms and a large living space with all mod cons. Even a full sized refrigerator. Paul and Marian had their own chalet so we could spread out to our heart’s content. Alan was soon ‘testing the bed’ and gave it a big thumbs up.

The next morning I walked over to the swimming pool while Alan had his shower. In a chair in the open camp kitchen I waited for for the pool to open at 8:am It was so peaceful listening to the birds and watching Rosellas squawk and flit amongst the gum trees. I’m amazed at how different they are in colouring to those at home. Familiar Plovers stately patrolled the grass and tiny birds searched for a breakfast of bugs and worms. Overall was the distinctive call of a black crow. The breeze made the trees, and our washing, dance. The pool didn’t open at the prescribed 8am (the chalet owners obviously hadn’t made the transference from the wet season to the dry season) so I’ll walk back to our chalet in warm tropical sunshine enjoying every moment, especially after a cold Melbourne winter.

  

Over a cup of coffee out on the chalet deck we began reminiscing about our trip in 1975. How different this trip is compared to then when there was no air-conditioning and certainly not in our truck, no mobile phones, little money, a fridge that didn’t cope with the heat and bush camps most nights. But I fondly remember two small boys, cooking over open fires, being warm, stars that beamed rather than twinkled in a huge open sky, of being able to see for miles.

Tues 23/4/2019. We finally make it to the Katheryn Gorge Cruise. Paul wheeled Alan down the long ramp and onto the first boat. We look up at high red cliffs on either side of the first gorge. There are thirteen individual gorges, all connected during the rain fed wet season and separated in the dry, but only two are ever open for public viewing. Today’s trip comprises of those two gorges with a walk from our boat to another in the second gorge. Alan and I decided to wait in the shade for our group to arrive back from their second gorge tour. Our leaders had put chairs under a strategically placed shelter on the natural rock landing . Iced water is nearby in case we get thirsty. It is easy to dehydrate here. We found it such a delight to quietly sit listening to the water and feeling the cool breeze fan our faces.

I saw steps up to my right and decided to have a look. They led to rock paintings on an overhang, drawn many years ago by indigenous people while they waited on this Arnhem Land Plateau  for the wet season to end. Hidden for many years it is just now being set out as a place to visit. I hurry back to tell Alan all about it when we see a line of people heading back to the landing and our barge appearing.

 

Katherine Gorge was named by Scotsman John MacDow Stuart in 1862 after the daughter (Katherine) of his Adelaide sponsor, James chambers. 

Paul had to push Alan’s wheelchair back up the slope and two people offered to help. It is amazing how many kind people offered while we were away. I love it when Paul calls the small tent- like cabins with wire netting for back packing tours ‘Budgie cages’.

 

We relax in our luxurious surroundings. It is so peaceful here but we still need Paul and Marian’s anti mozzie wipes, jell and coils when we sit outside. Washing dries so quickly. I washed out a blouse in the morning, hung it on a hanger and wore it that afternoon. Alan is happy and well as this trip is a great pace for him,

Tomorrow we go to Mataranka and I can’t wait to see what it is like now.

Yellow Waters in Kakadu

I haven’t kept up with this blog. I know, I know. The reasons for writing it are numerous and varied. I know them all, but I have been procrastinating. Putting off writing and delaying with all the excuses under the sun. But…I’m back. This will be the perfect record of a perfect trip…and will get me writing again

The surrounding country of Kakadu (20,000 square kilometers) belongs to indigenous people.

If you respect country, it will look after you

We are the visitors.

Paul picked us up from the Crocodile Hotel at 5.15 am to take us to the Yellow Waters. I am not at my best at that hour of the morning, but I felt excited about the experience ahead and everyone else in our party felt the same. Just the thought of meandering along in our open boat watching the moon fade and sunlight slowly gild the water was enough to keep me going.

We have had glorious sunny days but cyclone Trevor caused the rain to bucket down over Kakadu during the wet season and the usual gangplank for the Yellow Waters trip is underwater. To our delight our flat bottomed barge of a boat is now leaving early from Home billabong  upstream and will snake through a narrow water way to the yellow waters. We will drift past where we would usually board our boat and then continue on to explore this amazing place.

 

I am entranced, in heaven, as we set off and glide along. The moon is low in the sky. We share the experience with other passengers but even the children are quiet as we explore this remarkable place.  That morning we observed so much variety. We experienced unusual birds, crocodiles and wetlands with floating buffalo grass and lily pad fields.

 

This body of water begins at Jim Jim falls. Yellow Waters got the name from the yellow Melaleuca trees.  (/ˌmɛləˈljkə/) is a genus of nearly 300 species of plants in the myrtle familyMyrtaceae, commonly known as paperbarks or honey-myrtles.Here, they stain these waters yellow. (I used to make bark paintings from the many and varied colours of the paperbark. Most are yellow but if I found a red bark it was highly prized and I always remembered that tree and would constantly return.) If you are born or die indigenous you are wrapped in paperbark and belong to country. It is a very spiritual tree. We travel through the Melaluca swamp, listen for whistling kites and look for white bellied sea eagles.

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There is a request not to lean out of the boat to take a picture as crocodiles can launch at least half of their body weight out of the water and may grab a hand…or more. in spite of constant warnings we travel through yellow billabong into the South Alligator River.

Kakadu is owned by the traditional owners but it administered and protected by the Federal government and protected under Parks and Wildlife Australia as a national park. The indigenous people see Kakadu as a supermarket and a clothing shop.  Dilly bags (a carry bag) are made from the pandanas palm which came from south east Asia 500 years ago.

Paul wheeled Alan up the ramp to an eggs, bacon, sausage and mushroom breakfast. Later, Paul went to the Bowali Visitors Centre (named after Bowali Creek) and asked for all wheelchair friendly sites.

My next blog will cover Litchfield Park, Kathryn Gorge and Mataranka

Darwin: Jabiru and Kakadu

Before we left for the Crocodile Hotel at Jabiru Paul took us to Cousins Lookout and Waterhole. It was not what I was expecting. Lookouts for me meant going to the top of a hill (one tree lookout and tower in the Dandenong ranges comes to mind) and seeing vistas of rolling wooded hills and deep valleys. This lookout was a grassy slope overlooking a billabong.

Cousins Lookout was marked ‘closed’ on the roadworks board at the main turnoff but when we reached the actual road there was nothing to be seen.  We decided to take a chance. I’m so glad we did.

       

In the early morning light wallabies were everywhere.  I kept seeing large termite mounds and just had to take a picture. They reminded me of when we first saw them in 1973. They had not changed and were familiar to us.

      

We had a resident geko lizard on our ceiling at Mary River Retreat. At night he actively chased bugs and sometimes he came half way down our walls. We loved watching him. I was reminded of the gekos in Malaya. There we always said,  for the first year we sit and watch them. The second year they watch us and the third year we are up there with them. To Alan the ceiling of the unit reminded him of our truck canopy all those years ago.

 

We arrived back to our unit only to find a family consisting of grandma, grandpa, mum and dad, and four boys had arrived for the Easter holiday. Mum was not happy. she said loudly that the grandparent’s unit was better. “You must have paid more,” was her comment. “Ours smells and has lino on the floor. I’m going to see if I can change.” The children were all scrapping and yelling to go into the pool to escape Mum’s mood and to get away from the heat.

I put on my headphones (a hospital gift from Marian) to drown out the noise and wrote with my apple pencil in my ipad (a gift from Paul last birthday). Fabulous. I could scrawl away in my ipad and not hear a thing. Tomorrow is Good Friday. Tent pegs are hammering, voices calling, the golf buggy hurtles by filled with an adult driving and laughing children and the water spray is tut, tut, tutting. They are happy campers preparing for the Easter holiday but the peace without the headphones has gone. Tomorrow we are happy to move on to Kakadu.

To help me understand more about our destination I searched for information about Kakadu on the internet. This is what I discovered.

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The name Kakadu may come from the mispronunciation of Gaagudju, which is the name of an Aboriginal language spoken in the northern part of the park. This name may derive from the Indonesian word kakatuwah, (via Dutch kaketoe and German Kakadu) subsequently Anglicised as “cockatoo”.

Kakadu National Park is a protected area in the Northern Territory of Australia, 171 km southeast of Darwin. The park is located within the Alligator Rivers Region of the Northern Territory. It covers an area of 19,804 kms (7,646 sq mi), extending nearly 200 kilometres from north to south and over 100 kilometres from east to west. It is the size of Slovenia, about one-third the size of Tasmania, and nearly half the size of Switzerland. The Ranger Uranium Mine, one of the most productive uranium mines in the world, is surrounded by the park.

The Aboriginal traditional owners of the park are descendants of various clan groups from the Kakadu area and have longstanding affiliations with this country. Their lifestyle has changed in recent years, but their traditional customs and beliefs remain very important. About 500 Aboriginal people live in the park, many of them are traditional owners. All of Kakadu is jointly managed by Aboriginal traditional owners and the Director of National Parks with assistance from Parks Australia, a division of Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Energy. Park Management is directed by the Kakadu Board of Management.

Our accommodation at The Crocodile Hotel was superb. Our unit was large, comfortable and right beside their swimming pool. The dining room was close by. We had several meals at the hotel restaurant. On the first occasion I had barramundi fish and it was superb, as were all our meals. The lovely young waitress was a new French backpacker who had just arrived and was learning the language and the craft. Our room was just behind the head of the crocodile hotel in the picture below. You can just see the shade sail over the swimming pool. In the heat it was lovely to go for a swim in cool water before showering and heading off for dinner.

Kakadu is indigenous owned and we were very aware of and respectful of their culture. Paul and Marian took us to view the rock paintings at Ubirr, a group of rock outcrops in the northeast of the park, on the edge of the Nadab floodplain. There are several large rock overhangs that would have provided excellent shelter to Aboriginal people over thousands of years. Ubirr’s proximity to the East Alligator River and Nadab floodplains means that food would have been abundant and this is reflected in much of the rock art there. Animals depicted in the main gallery include barramundicatfishmulletgoannasnake-necked turtlepig-nosed turtlerock-haunting ringtail possum and wallaby,

   

Paul pushed Alan in his wheelchair in 35 Celsius heat and made sure Alan looked at as many paintings as possible. Paul also ensured Alan saw a remarkable variety and concentration of wildlife by stopping at every bird-hide and shelter along the way. He was so professional in the way he unfolded the wheelchair from the back of the four wheel drive car and had it ready for Alan to use.

Burrunguy, formally called Nourlangie Rock, is located in an outlying formation of the Arnhem Land Escarpment. There are a number of shelters in amongst this large outcrop linked by paths and stairways. The shelters contain several impressive paintings that deal with creation ancestors. Some of the stories connected to these artworks are known only to certain Aboriginal people and remain secret. Anbangbang Billabong lies in the shadow of Nourlangie Rock and is inhabited by a wide range of wildlife which would have sustained traditional Aboriginal people well. We had many picnic lunches and loved the peace of this place. I took many photos of information to read at my leisure.

  Photo of Anbangbang Billabong

From the Jabiru airport we took a kakadu Air one hour scenic flight. I wanted to get an idea of the size and shape of the land and you can only do that from a small plane or helicopter.

 

The vast expanse of Kakadu lay spread out before us.  I saw the flood plains below and the high escarpment rising out of the mist. It would have provided shelter for centuries from violent storms, flood plains and billabongs during the wet season. I imagined aboriginal people sheltered by rock cliffs towering above. Imagined them waiting patiently for the monsoon to pass and the dry season to begin. They would huddle around fires, gossiping, story telling and adding to the art work. An abundance of wildlife kept them healthy and alert. The commentary through the headphones was informative and fascinating. There was so much to learn and to see and I was spell bound by the sheer size of the area.

Jim Jim falls were fascinating from the plane and we were given every opportunity to see them. I’d noticed on one of our car trips that the road to them was still closed. We decided not to try to get through this time. However  viewing them from the air was amazing.

     

How generous of the indigenous people, now that they own most of Kakadu to welcome all people to their country. However, certain areas are closed to everyone, indigenous people included, because that area is the resting place of the Rainbow Serpent and she must not be disturbed.

 

Darwin: the Mary River Region

The Mary River region is Jawoyn land and I want to know more about the indigenous culture, but first we settled in to the Mary River Wilderness Retreat.


I was delighted to find that we had our own unit with shared pool (a necessity in this hot climate). The water of the pool was not heated and was gloriously cool. I couldn’t wait to don my bathers and swim under the shade of tall palms. So refreshing. Even Alan had a dip in the pool. We had sunshine everyday with azure blue skies. Amazing for the end of the wet season. Our time in the Top End was on the cusp of the wet and dry seasons when trips and accommodation were beginning to reopen for the dry season ahead.

On the way to Mary River we called in to Howard Springs. 

   

We hardly recognised it after so many years and Paul wheeled Alan everywhere so he could participate in the beauty and history of this place.  Fish were bountiful and the large lizards were amazing to see. We even saw the original spring bubbling out of rocks. 

We also called in to Fogg dam. Alan remembered walking over the dam wall in 1973 and seeing crocodiles. This amazing place also triggered many memories for me. We laughed at how it was believed at that time that rice would be a lucrative crop to grow at Fogg Dam.  Acres were planted until the Magpie geese discovered it was a free banquet and stripped the plants bare.

 

We also viewed wildlife at the Wetland complex and spotted crocodiles in the water’s edge at the South Alligator River. I shuddered when I thought about how little crocodiles figured into our plans so long ago. I now realize how lucky we were to return with two healthy boys able to grow into the caring men they are today.  After my swim we settled in to our unit at the Wilderness Retreat. The next day we went on the experience of a life time:

A Wildlands Wetlands Safari in an air boat over the corroboree billabong.

  

Josh took the four of us on the first trip for the season and was amazing. He revealed to us the indigenous culture of that part of the world. Josh showed us the differences between the native water-lilies and the ancient introduced Asian water-lilies. He demonstrated how the stalks were like celery and the large leaves with their hairy surfaces could be used as water containers or even hats. Alan had to try one and said it was much cooler and protected his head from the sun.

   

I was amazed that something so decorative could have so many indigenous uses. We had to wear headphones to block out the noise of the air bus engines.

       

When josh opened up the motor and whipped over the water-lilies it was a thrill of a lifetime. How reassuring that an air-boat doesn’t do any environmental damage. This made our trip all the more fun.

Josh’s commentary was superb as he pointed out Jabiru birds,  and crocodiles that made the billabong home. I loved learning about the birds, animals and indigenous culture associated with this magical Top End of Australia.

 

Jumping crocodiles trips are constantly advertised. We even saw an advertisement of a boxing crocodile. I did not want to see crocodiles jumping out of the water to grab a chicken. I wanted to see them lazily powering along with only their eyes and spine visible in the water. This environmentally friendly air boat trip was amazing.

We went back to the Wilderness Retreat ready for a swim and to relax in our unit. Later, we sat outside protected by Paul and Marian’s mosquito coils and wipes and listened to cockatoos roosting for the night.

The next day Paul took us around in the hired golf cart. We had a plan in place that if anyone got sick we could easily fly home. However we happily headed off to out accommodation in the Crocodile Hotel at Jabiru/Kakadu

 

 

45 years later

Forty-five years. Turn around three times and those years have gone in the blink of an eye. 

Yet so much has changed. We have changed from the wide eyed uninformed thirty year old Melbournians with two young boys optimistically starting out on what we called The Trip of a Lifetime. Now, our over fifties son and wife are taking two mouldy oldies (by that I mean late seventies and early eighties) back to revisit Darwin. What will have changed? How will life have changed, apart from the wheelchair and extra luggage?

In 1973 we traveled in an old F100 truck with a pick up camper in the tray from Melbourne, via Ayers Rock, to Katherine and Darwin and back. It was the year before Cyclone Tracy wrecked havoc on the top end. However, we saw the devastation on the television and were aghast at the destruction of lives and property. Victorians were not aware of the impact WWII had on Darwin and we knew nothing about the indigenous population. We were amazed to discover so many different tribes, each with their own language and culture who didn’t understand English speaking Southerners from Victoria.

As individuals we, and the Top End have changed. Before every large event in Melbourne is a recognition of indigenous people and a Welcome to country ceremony. We have said Sorry for past transgressions and indigenous people now vote and are counted in the census. Kakadu has been returned to it’s indigenous owners and tourism is tolerated in certain sections of Kakadu . The Crocodile Hotel at Jabiru is indigenous owned.

Forty-five years later we traveled in style, staying first at the Palm City Resort. It was hot, over 30 Celsius hot, and I loved our villa and personal spa hidden amongst tropical vegetation.

 

Relaxing with a glass of champagne I wondered about this new city, seen so briefly. It appeared lush, tropical, multinational and laid back. Darwin city reminded me of a teenager. I felt it was still growing up and finding its way. It seemed to me to be like the Gold Coast used to be before the high rise buildings came to town. Darwin, to me was like a large country town, accepting diversity and welcoming.

Next week: what the Hop on Hop off bus reveals.