Darwin Tourist

It’s Monday night. I’m at work updating this Online Diary. And I’m having a few beers… so if there are some typos, please understand. Since I last wrote I’ve done some amazing things.

On Saturday afternoon, I paid a visit to Darwin’s World War 2 Oil Storage Tunnels. I can’t really recall why I didn’t visit them a couple of years ago with Damien, but I’m really pleased I have now.

They’re worth a visit for both their historic and artistic values. The tunnels were dug into the cliff to protect fuel from Japanese bombing, but there, apparently, were never very effective. Even today, the tunnels leak from the vast underground water supply that is found underneath Darwin. Of the six tunnels, one is now open to the public. Despite the best intentions, by June 1942 after 19 Japanese air raids, only one sound tank remained, with 20,529 tons of oil lost from the destroyed tanks.

Darwin Oil Tunnels

Located inside the tunnels are about 100 wartime photographs that portray both a humorous and more serious side of the bombing sixty years ago of Darwin. Other photographs also portray, for example, the grave of an unidentified grave of a Japanese soldier, the actual bombing of Darwin, and the ration books.

I also paid a visit to what is possibly, Darwin’s most unique attraction, Aquascene. Every day in Darwin, on high tide, literally hundreds of fish – milkfish, mullet, catfish, and rays – arrive at Doctor’s Gully at the Northern End of the City Centre. And for over forty years, members of the public have been hand-feeding them.

As the tides in Darwin are quite large, high tide is the only time of the day when the water reaches a level where the public can easily come into close contact with the fish. During low tide, the water is 500m away from the coastline, so it’s only during high tide that it’s possible to see the fish up close and personal. Fishing is banned in the area, in an effort to maintain stocks, as prescribed in the Northern Territory’s Fisheries Management Plan.

The fish-feeding enterprise, run by Aquascene, is a privately run business. While the property is still primarily a private residence, it is opened up to the public each day for feeding. Opening times are totally dictated by tidal movements and change from day today.

I know my Saturday night sounds boring… but I spent Saturday night watching “The Bill” and “Parkinson”. I’m a little bored with the storyline of the young girl who can’t afford to pay her rent and who has to bludge off her friends.

On Sunday, I was invited by Michael, who works at the radio station, to spend the afternoon hanging around, having a few beers, and a few laughs.

Afterwards, we went to the movies to watch the new Kevin Kline movie, “Life As A House”. I’ve never been a Kevin Kline fan, I always thought he over-acted in a Meryl Streep kind of way, and he didn’t disappoint me. While Michael and his friend, Todd, spent half the movie crying, I found myself bored by the predictability of the film. Although I think there are some good moments in the movie, the moments of emotion are, in my view, contrived. I’m sure it will be very successful.

After a full-day at work, I went along with Penny to the Darwin Rural Hash House Event. About half the crowd ran for a few kilometres, while the other half went for a “power walk”. The group describes itself as “drinkers with a running problem”. One of the members of the group, the man who supplies the keg, actually has the “Kegman” number plate. But the walk also offers amazing scenes of the landscape of the Northern Territory. I’ll be visiting again soon. It was a good fun night, with a certain undergraduate feel, but highly enjoyable.

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