Monday 29 November 2021

Monday Murals - Darwin Face and Fortune Teller

I love murals and street art. If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you.  Just follow the Linky steps below.  Once you start looking you will find murals everywhere.  The "Monday Mural" meme goes live on Monday at 12,01AM, Perth,Western Australian time. Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters. Looking forward to your mural finds this week.  Thanks, Sami.

Painted by local artist MissPolly, aka Polly Jonstone, for the 2018 Darwin Street Art Festival, this mural can be found at 46 The Mall, in Darwin's city centre. 

The mural represents local girl - Artia -of Maori and Indigenous heritage, and  how vibrant and young Darwin is, having the youngest median age of any capital city in Australia. In the background the blues and turquoise represent the sea, orange represents the soil, and the pinks and purples represent the Top End sunsets.

Another mural by Miss Polly -a "fortune teller" which appears to have been painted in January 2021 in Austin Lane, in the city's Central Business District.

I've recently posted 2 other murals painted by Miss Polly in Darwin - "The world belongs to those who read" and the "Sturt Desert Rose" . I quite like her style.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Signs - Australia, the place to be

 For other signs from around the world please check Tom's blog post

These were all seen at the Edith Falls Cafe, where we stopped for lunch on the way to Katherine in the Northern Territory.  You can read about that here.

The Edith Falls Cafe and all the signs hanging on the board close to the tables

Monday 22 November 2021

Monday Mural - Diverse Life and Indigenous Flora

I love murals and street art. If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you.  Just follow the Linky steps below.  Once you start looking you will find murals everywhere.  The "Monday Mural" meme goes live on Monday at 12,01AM, Perth,Western Australian time. Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters. Looking forward to your mural finds this week.  Thanks, Sami.

Painted for the 3rd annual Darwin Street Art festival in September 2018 by Elle, a very accomplished New York City street artist, the mural represents the diverse life and culture found in this region of Australia. It can be found in Austin Lane, in Darwin's central business district.

Just below this piece on the wall to the left is another mural, painted for the 2019 Darwin Street Art Festival, by local artist Jason Lee, with a collection of indigenous flora. 

Wednesday 17 November 2021

October Wrap-up and Signs

With so many posts about my visit to Darwin and Kakadu National Park, I've been lagging behind on my October Wrap-up post. 

It was wettest month of October in the last 50 years, and probably one of the coolest too. Just didn't feel like Spring at all!!

Friday 1st - I met up with two now retired colleagues - Jan and Gill, and this time we went to Praline Cafe, a lovely French cafe. My hot chocolate was good, and the cakes we ordered were super pretty and delicious too.

Saturday 2nd - I joined the committee ladies from the Portuguese Australian Women's Association to set up the tables for a High tea event to be held the following day at the Scouts Centre, in the suburb of Salter Point.

The small event attended by just over 30 people was successful, and we had 2 guests who talked about women's issues in the workplace. As usual far too many sweets.

Friday 8th - I invited 3 ladies that I met through the "Buy Nothing" group to my house for morning coffee and cake, and we had a lovely time and also discussed our participation of our Harvest Group in the Canning Show to be held beginning of November.

Sunday 10th - We collected plants and fruit trees given to us by our friends Tony and Kei. They live in a retirement village with beautiful gardens, and Tony who has the best "green fingers in the world" takes care of the area in front of their unit - they have all sorts of vegetables and fruits there, all planted by him since they moved there about 6 or 7 years ago.  

Tony's garden

Flowers in Tony's garden

In the afternoon we had tea at the new house by the river of one of the Doctors of the clinic where I work.  I baked a Loquat cake, from a recipe I had recently seen, using the last loquats from our tree, and everybody loved it!

A view of the Swan River from Dr J's house

Loquat cake

Saturday 16th Finally a sunny clear day. We had breakfast with our friends pf 37 years, Wendy and Lido at the Kent Weir Cafe, with views of the Canning River, and right next to the Canning River Education Centre.

After coffee we walked a little bit in the park, and the mini library and a mobile charging station we found were new to me.

Charging station and mini library

Back home we spent the afternoon in the garden, repoting plants and planting the fruit trees and other plants that our friends Tony and Kei gave us. 

Tuesday 19th - Overnight the weather changed, with heavy rain and wind, and when I woke up we had no electricity. 

Sunday 24th - Went with our friends Wendy and Lido to the Castaway Sculpture exhibition in Rockingham (38km/23mi south). For lunch we bought fish and chips and sat down in front of the beach eating it. 

Castaways is an annual outdoor exhibition at the Rockingham foreshore, showcasing artworks created from repurposed materials. It started as a community project to raise awareness around discarded items washing up on local beaches. It now provides an opportunity for emerging and professional Western Australian artists, schools and local businesses to be a part of the regionally-recognised arts program that continues to promote sustainability values.

The no-vaxers had a little tent by the beach but not many adepts... and it's been years since I saw a Citroen CV, look at that number plate - Deux CV.

Some were simple, others more complex and imaginative like the "Banjaxed" by Peter James, but my favourite was The Sad Pair, by Tuinna Blackie, a New Zealand born artist, made with copper and aluminium.

The sad pair - just look at the curly hair, the slingshot in her pocket, the spider on the lamp post.

Next we drove on to Mandurah (32km/20mi) further south to attend the Caravan and Camping Show.

Friday 29th -
 joined Grace (from Perth Daily photo) for coffee and a chat at the inauguration of the newly renovated Karryinup shopping centre, (32km/20mi north), now the largest shopping in Perth. From the full underground parking I thought half of Perth had the same idea we had, but because it's a huge place it didn't look as full inside.

I had noticed a Lego store, the first in Perth when I entered, and before I left to return home I visited the store and bought a couple of boxes for Christmas gifts for the kids.

Saturday 30th - The month ended with a dinner & dance to celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the Portuguese Social Club. Members eat for free, and this year each table was given 2 bottles of wine too.

The birthday Cake, prawns for starters, and roast meat, chicken leg, rice, potato and green beans

Our almost 90 y old friend Idalia, Jose and I, our table and our Honorary Consul in front of the cake, the Club committee members on the right, and to the left the Mayors of Fremantle and Cockburn

This is the only painting project I finished in October, having started it in August.  It took quite a while, having dismantled the whole mini kitchen to paint it, then struggling to put it all together!

I added a new wooden top, a remnant from another project, which then involved a lot of adjusting of the stove burners, tap, washing bowl and the rod holding the shelves... anyway I found solutions for everything.

I also added a backing board with a look alike black and white tile with peel and stick paper.  I bought the mini appliances on Marketplace for $15 and they compliment the kitchen very well. Ready for a Christmas present.

Mini Kitchen before

A Spring miracle in the garden - 3 wagtails were born in a nest the mother made in the rotary dryer which we use as a cover for our veggie patch , and we saw them take their first flight.

I first noticed the nest on the 30th September and they flew off on the 24th October. That day I checked on them before leaving to go to Rockingham and Mandurah, and 2 of them were already sitting on the fence. The smallest one was still in the nest.

When we returned in the early evening, the last one was on the floor, but when we approached it, the bird climbed the nest and managed to fly off.

Aren't they so cute? The baby birds stay in the nest 13 to 14 days before flying, and the parents are very fierce and territorial birds.  Even though they are tiny they manage to scare off crows or any other animal that are in the area looking for nests.  

I made 5 jars of  Tomato jam from Roma tomatoes gifted to me from the "Buy nothing group". Not the ideal tomatoes because they should have been peeled and seeded but I just used the whole fruit and sieved the jam before putting them into the jars.

Other birds in the garden: 

Galah, magpie-lark eating seeds with the doves nearby, magpie eating nuts, honeysucker, rainbow lorekeets on the neighbour's palm tree

A trip to the op-shop yielded 4 pirex dishes ranging in price from $4 to $8. A couple of them were a bit dirty looking but they've been cleaned with a paste of vinegar and bicarbonate and they look almost new again. I'm keeping the yellow and the red one and giving the other two away to my friend Kei who is always looking for old pirex. I have a big collection mainly with blues, yellows and reds... 
I also got a couple of books, which were library books.

Monday 15 November 2021

Monday Mural - Cheeky Dogs

I love murals and street art. If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you.  Just follow the Linky steps below.  Once you start looking you will find murals everywhere.  The "Monday Mural" meme goes live on Monday at 12,01AM, Perth,Western Australian time. Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters. Looking forward to your mural finds this week.  Thanks, Sami.

Painted for the 2020 Darwin Street Art Festival, by local artists David Collins, Jesse Bell and Pabs, this "cheeky dogs" mural was created with original artwork from young Aboriginal artist Dion Beasley. 
It can be found at 20 Shadforth Lane on the back of the NAAJA building - North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency. (in the same lane as the Sturt desert rose mural from the 25th of October.

Dion lives in Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, and has minimal communication skills due to being profoundly deaf as well as having Muscular Dystrophy.
Dion has overcome many challenges and learnt to communicate through sign language and his drawings. He has a great sense of humour, reflected through his 'cheeky dog' range of artwork - t-shirts, bags, caps, aprons.... 
Dogs have a respected place in Australian Aboriginal culture and Dion has a great talent for depicting them in a fun and entertaining way.

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Darwin day 6 and 7 -- Katherine Gorge, Adelaide Cemetery, Darwin

Friday 24th September 2021 - 

After a continental breakfast at the Knotts Crossing Resort in Katherine, we checked-out, loaded our bags into the tour van, and at 7am were ready to drive the 37km (23mi) to Katherine Gorge in the Nitmiluk  (Cicada Place) National Park.

The tour tickets had been pre-purchased, so we just had to wait to be called to board one of the boats at the jetty for the 2 hour tour. In the meantime we noticed the trees above the ticket area were full of scary (to me) bats.

The flat-bottomed boats are able to navigate the shallow waters in the dry season, but sometimes the boat had to slow down to avoid underwater rocky areas.

The guide told us stories about the local Aboriginal people - the Jawoyn -  pointed out a few birds, the small sandy beaches, talked about films that were shot in the area, etc.

A lot of swallow nests in this cave, but they were too quick, so didn't capture any with my small camera

Small sandy beaches


During the dry season it is safe to swim and canoe (which you can hire), there are freshwater crocodiles in the area, but these are harmless if you don't disturb them. Saltwater crocodiles will get into the area during the rainy season, but we were shown a lot of traps along the way and they are removed from the area before the dry season. 

There are 100km (62mi) of walking trails, which are best explored during the cooler early morning.

We cruised until a certain point, then disembarked, had a look at Aboriginal rock art, walked a few metres and got back onto another boat the other side of the rocky area to sail into the second gorge.

On our return to the base, from the tour boat the Baruwai lookout was pointed to us. Apparently the most popular lookout at the western end of the gorge, with extensive views over the park and with the best views at sunset, and the trail to get there is only around 1,8km (1.12mi) return.

When we finished, we had a toilet visit, top up our water bottles and back to the bus on our way to Darwin.

About 1,30h later, we stopped for lunch at Pine Creek, the old mining town we had visited the previous day, on our way to Katherine.  It's the fourth larges town in the Northern Territory, with a population of about 328 people, which gives you an idea of the population density in this State.

At the pub I ordered Fish and Chips for me, which I could hardly finish as it was a huge serving, but was delicious.

Toilet signs at the Pine Creek Pub

The "snake charmer", a snake in water, a bike full of signs and my lunch of Fish and Chips

   On our return to the van, someone pointed to an elderly local who was holding a snake, can't remember what is was, but not dangerous. He offered if I wanted to hold it, but I'm petrified of snakes, whether good or bad. A few more snakes were in cages on the side of the pub, one might have been hot as she was inside water.

Just over one hour later we reached Adelaide River Cemetery.  Situated 116km south of Darwin, and 100mt from the Adelaide River it is a beautifully laid out cemetery with manicured gardens, tropical flowers...

The entrance to the Cemetery


Established in 1942, it is the last resting place for service men and women who lost their lives in Northern Australia as a result of WWII.

Divided into two sections - the eastern section if the military cemetery with 434 graves and memorials to persons who died but whose bodies were not recovered and the western section contains burial places of 64 civilians, including a memorial to 9 people killed in the Darwin Post Office, during the first Japanese raid to Darwin on 19th February 1942.

When we were there "Pat Cullinan and his 4x4 adventures" (Australian TV show) team was there filming, so who knows I might be a tv star by now 😏

Next a pit stop at the nearby Adelaide River Inn. I loved the sign "Sorry, we do not have wi-fi. Talk to each other (like it's 1990).

At the entrance to the pub there is a gigantic saltwater crocodile in a glass case. 

Inside, on top of the counter is "Charlie", the now embalmed water buffalo that featured in the first Crocodile Dundee movie in 1986. 

The movie was inspired by the "real Crocodile Dundee" - the strong and brave Rod Ansell.  In  August 1999, more than a decade after the movie, from which he didn't profit at all, Rod who was 44 was shot dead by police after an amphetamine induced rampage, that saw him wound 3 men and kill a 33 year old policeman - Glen Huitson.

Glen Huitson was the Officer in Charge of the Adelaide River Police Station and the town has a park named in his honour. There is a statue to the Officer in Livingstone, 60km up the road, where the shooting happened.

Back on the bus, we made our way to Darwin arriving about 1,15h later.

We checked back into the same hotel - Oaks Darwin Elan Hotel, and Jenny and I were even given the same room. As we were waiting in line to check-in I looked behind me and saw the journalist husband of one of my work colleagues also waiting to check-in. Imagine being about 4000km away from home and coming across someone you know!

Oaks Elan Darwin Hotel and hotel room

It was our last night in Darwin and after getting ready, we walked a couple of blocks to best tapas restaurant in Darwin- Moorish Cafe.

Once again we were surprised at the high quality of restaurants, the fresh food and great service in Darwin.

Saturday 25th September

After breakfast, we said our goodbyes, and I checked out and left my suitcase at reception. My two travelling companions would be leaving soon to the airport, but I had a late afternoon flight, so had plenty of time to do some sightseeing around Darwin.

I ordered an Uber to take me to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

The Museum and sign at the entrance

The entry-free museum is a must to visit, with interesting exhibitions about Darwin and Northern Territory's history and how the settlers lived when they first arrived in the area.

The star of the Museum is "Sweetheart" a 50 year old, 5,1mt male crocodile, which weighed 780kg when caught in 1979, and drowned while being caught, probably due to the muscle relaxant used.

Another interesting exhibit is the display on Cyclone Tracy that devastated Darwin on Christmas Eve 1974, with footage and reports about the event and what it has taken to rebuild Darwin into the modern city it is today. 

There is a sound booth where you can hear a recording of what the cyclone sounded like as it ripped through the city, killing 71 people, destroying 80% of the houses, and leaving more than 25 thousand out of the 47000 residents homeless. 

Cyclone Tracy newspaper photos

       There is a pavilion housing boats, pearl luggers and historic craft from the Pacific area, and an Indigenous art gallery with works from artist from the Top End.

Various boats

The Indigenous Art Gallery

                               The museum is situated right next to the beach at Fannie Bay, but no swimming in Darwin beaches, unless you wish to be eaten by a croc or stung by a deadly jellyfish!

Fannie Bay Beach - right by the Museum

  Another Uber was called to take me to the George Brown Botanic Gardens 2km away...I would have walked if I had the time, but it was also getting hot.

I picked up a map from the information centre, but kept getting lost!

The 42 hectares gardens were a tropical paradise with many unusual plants I had never come across, divided into many different "garden rooms" - cycad garden, frangipani garden, food garden, African garden, shade garden, and lots of statues - crocodile, dinosaurs...

Dinosaurs in the Botanic Gardens

A metal crocodile statue with fish in his mouth

During Cyclone Tracy, 89% of the plants were lost. George Brown, who had worked in the gardens since 1969, took charge of the restoration from 1971 to 1990 and the gardens were named after him.

All over the park were Orange Footed Scrubfowl, throwing up soil, not sure if they were making nests...



The beach
When I left the garden I ordered an Uber to take me to the Esplanade (seaside), took photos of the beach, bought some Sushi for lunch and sat down in a park enjoying some sun while eating.
Flowers in a park near the seaside

Then I walked a few blocks up to the hotel, finding mural after mural... I was in mural heaven 😉, retrieved my bag from the hotel reception, and called another Uber to take me to the airport.

The Qantas flight departed at 4,30pm and I landed in Perth about 3 hours later at 7pm (we are 1 1/2h behind Darwin).

Unlike the flight to Darwin that was half empty and I had 3 seats to myself, this flight was almost full, and the 2 seats next to me were occupied. 

And that is the end of my Northern Teritory adventure! Hope you enjoyed the virtual trip and didn't get bored by the dozens of photos...

                                                        * * * * * * * * * 

The best time to visit Darwin, Katherine and Kakadu National Park would be in the dry season, from May to October, the cooler months.  The area has two seasons: hot/wet and hot/dry.

Darwin, is the capital and the largest city of the Northern Territory. Its population is around 150,000 and while the Northern Territory about twice the size France, Spain and Italy combined, or the State of Texas, the total population of the NT is only about 250,000 people.  The CBD (central business district) or city centre is small and easily walked. Lots of murals can be found in this area.

I was pleasantly surprised with the city of Darwin and surrounding national parks - a modern city, helpful people, great restaurants, lots of cultural places, diverse markets (which I didn't get a chance to visit), incredible landscapes and abundant wildlife... Even though the beaches are beautiful, they are empty, and you shouldn’t swim at the beaches - jellyfish and saltwater crocodiles await you... and most swimming holes are either closed or not safe to swim in during the rainy season (except in Litchfield National Park, where they remain accessible year round).

Map of our itinerary from Katherine to Darwin:
We covered about 376 Km (234 miles) from 7am to about 5.30pm.