A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

Australia’s only tropical capital, Darwin has a relaxed cosmopolitan vibe making it one of Australia’s most distinctive cities.

And the perfect place for a relaxed Sunday for little bears 🙂 The day started with a walk around the Darwin Waterfront to check out the public art.

Jipiyontong (Jabiru) 2008. Cast aluminium, italian glass tiles. Artist: Janice Murray
Jipiyontong (Jabiru) 2008. Cast aluminium, italian glass tiles. Artist: Janice Murray
Jipiyontong (Jabiru) 2008
Jipiyontong (Jabiru) 2008

Janice Murray, the artist of this pieces, is from Milikapiti. The work depicts the Jabiru, a bird found on the Tiwi Islands. The designs in the work are drawn from traditional body designs (Jilmara), used during Pukamani (funeral) ceremony. Tiwi birds are a common subject for the artist and reflect the totemic significance and abundance of birdlife on the islands. Janice’s traditional county on the island is Tinganu, an area to the far East of the community.

Fragment 2008. Cast aluminium. Artist: Katrina Tyler
Fragment 2008. Cast aluminium. Artist: Katrina Tyler
Fragment 2008
Fragment 2008

In early 2005, Katrina Tyler decided to down her tools and take a trip around Australia which led her to Darwin where she settled for nearly three years. Where evidently she picked up her tools again!

Reading the Palm Trees 2008. Weathered steel, routered aluminium. Artist: Dadang Christanto
Reading the Palm Trees 2008. Weathered steel, routered aluminium. Artist: Dadang Christanto
Reading the Palm Trees 2008
Reading the Palm Trees 2008

Dadang Christanto is a leading Indonesian artist who currently lives and works in Brisbane. When the hands become the tree perhaps we will find the relationship between culture and nature where everything can be understood wisely. Birth and death, disaster and fortune are the same.

Lunch was at Curve Cafe and Bar, on the Waterfront.

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

A little siesta, listening to music 🙂

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

Before a quick trip to Charles Darwin National Park.

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

Charles Darwin National Park is a small and fairly new park that has been established to protect parts of the Port Darwin wetland and is located on Frances Bay (Winnellie). The park has a network of cycle paths and walking tracks, and from the picnic area you have great views of the harbour and the wetlands, and of the Darwin city panorama.

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

The welcome sign to the park!

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

Little bears don’t like any insects and even less so biting ones! so they went to Mindil Beach, the place to be on a Sunday afternoon and evening.

Mindil Beach
Mindil Beach

They found their favourite food, poffertjes, at the Mindil Beach Markets.

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

Mindil Beach Markets are open for the dry season of the year – from the last Thursday in April until the last Thursday in October each year. They open Thurs 5-10pm and Sun 4pm-9pm and stalls offer a wide range of food, arts and crafts. Since they’re located next to the beach you can buy a cool drink or dinner and sit on the sand watching the blood red sunset over the Timor Sea.

Sunset at Mindil Beach
Sunset at Mindil Beach

Food is the main attraction here − from Thai, Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese and Malaysian to Brazilian, Greek, Portuguese and more − all at around $6 to $12 a serve. But that’s only half the fun – arts and crafts stalls bulge with handmade jewellery, rainbow tie-dyed clothes, Aboriginal artefacts, and wares from Indonesia and Thailand.

As the sun heads towards the horizon, half of Darwin descends on the market, with tables, chairs, rugs, grog and kids in tow.

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

The sunset was more cloudy than blood red.

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

After a walk on Mindil Beach, another walk around the Waterfront to check out the lights…

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

And to finish the day, yummy drinks at Curve Cafe and Bar 🙂

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

A Relaxed Sunday in Darwin

Reminiscing about the Saturday afternoon Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree…

Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree 2015
Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree 2015

Now in its fifth year, the Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree is a celebration of Darwin’s multicultural community. Nearly a quarter of Darwin’s residents are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. Another big percentage of the population has immigrated from South and East Asia. 75 nationalities are represented in the city of Darwin.

There is food, entertainment, family activities, floating lanterns…

Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree 2013
Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree 2013
Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree 2014
Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree 2014
Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree 2015
Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree 2015
Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree 2015
Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree 2015
Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree 2015
Lion Dance, Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree 2015

And fireworks for the finale!

Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree 2015
Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree 2015

Historic Darwin

The Darwin City History timeline is short and dramatic and includes the Overland Telegraph, gold, crocodiles, world war bombings, uranium, cyclone Tracy and a population of hardy pioneers.

Inhabited for at least forty thousands years by the Aborigines, the first recorded sighting of the Northern Territory coastline was by William Jootszoon van Colster aboard the Dutch vessel Arnhem in 1623. The Dutch left a few names on the map such as Groote Eylandt (original old Dutch spelling for “large island”), Vanderlin Island, Arnhem land, Cape Arnhem, Cape Keerweer, Van Diemen Gulf and the Gulf of Carpentaria, after Peter Carpenter, then governor of the VOC. In 1644, Abel Tasman sailed along the northern coast and named Cape Van Diemen on Melville Island. The French also named many sites along the coast. The interest shown by both the Dutch and the French mobilized the British to settle the north of Australia long before many of the other colonies were established.

Soon after the establishment and settlement of Australia at Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), the first of several British settlements were made on the north coast, partly as a result of Philip Parker King’s surveys. Fort Dundas, on Melville Island, the largest of the Tiwi Islands, was settled on 30 September 1824 by Captain James Gordon Bremer who arrived on the Tamar. He named the fort for Sir Philip Dundas, First Lord of the Admiralty.

The settlers and convicts soon found that the natives were anything but friendly. It’s not like the settlers and convicts had any cultural sensitivities. Apart from the cultural clash with the natives, there were the white ants and the occasional cyclone which made life rather difficult. The soil was good but there were no animals to do the heavy work. Water buffalo were imported from Timor and they became the nucleus of the herd which was later transferred to the Cobourg Peninsula (350km east of Darwin).

In 1827 Major John Campbell arrived to take command of Fort Dundas, but relations with the Aborigines deteriorated all the time. In November 1827, Dr John Gold and storekeeper John Green were speared to death one night when they left the fort to go for a walk, unarmed. The death of Dr Gold left the settlement without a doctor. In April 1828, not seeing the deaths of Green and Gold as acts of war, in retaliation to the death of an Aborigines, Campbell still awaited an opportunity to demonstrate to the Tiwi that murder must be avenged. His view was typical of that common on the Australian frontier. European deaths at the hands of Aborigines were seen as murders, while the pre-meditated shooting of Indigenes by Europeans was considered by many colonists to be legitimate. The fort was abandoned later in 1828 and by February 1829 the Tiwi Aborigines were once again in control of their land.

On 18 June 1827, the twelfth anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, Fort Wellington, on the mainland at Raffles Bay, came into being when Captain James Stirling established another outpost on Cobourg Peninsula, after having rejected Croker Island. With four ships, supplies and men he was much better prepared than Bremer but here the Aborigines were even more troublesome. When Captain Stirling left, Captain Smyth took command. In September 1828 Captain Collet Barker arrived to take charge and for a while conditions improved. His convicts soon grew vegetables and fruit. Collet Barker was liked by the Malay fishermen and his own men who described him as honourable, just, indefatigable and dauntless.

As there were still many problems to be solved, it was decided in England that the settlement should be abandoned and Governor Darling was instructed accordingly. Both Fort Dundas and Fort Wellington were abandoned by 1829. Barker left reluctantly as he was convinced that permanent settlement was possible. Collet Barker was later murdered by Aborigines after swimming the River Murray in 1831.

Neither the Dutch, French nor anyone else had shown much interest in the north of Australia during those years, but the British government made a third attempt in 1838. This time it was Fort Victoria at Port Essington (inlet on Cobourg Peninsula) and by no other than Gordon Bremer on 27 October 1838. This time he had sailed in the Alligator and brought another two ships with supplies with him. It seemed that it would be third time lucky. Fruit and vegetables grew in profusion as did bananas, oranges, sugarcane and cotton. The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge was also confident about the success of the settlement and made money available for a Church.

During July 1839 the settlement was visited by Captain J.C. Wickham and HMS Beagle. The Beagle was on its third voyage, commissioned to survey large parts of the coast of Australia under the command of Commander John Clements Wickham, who had been a Lieutenant on the second voyage, with assistant surveyor Lieutenant John Lort Stokes who had been a Midshipman on the first voyage of the Beagle, then mate and assistant surveyor on the second voyage. They reached the Swan River (Perth) on 15 November 1837. Their survey started with the western coast between there and the Fitzroy River, Western Australia, then surveyed both shores of the Bass Strait at the southeast corner of the continent. In May 1839 they sailed north to survey the shores of the Arafura Sea opposite Timor and reached Fort Victoria in July 1839. When Wickham first sighted the harbour of present day Darwin, he decided to name the port after Charles Darwin.

HMS Beagle Ship Bell Chime
HMS Beagle Ship Bell Chime, Civic Park

You can see the HMS Beagle Ship Bell Chime in Civic Park. It was commissioned by City of Darwin in 2009 to celebrate 200 years since the birth of Charles Darwin (1809-1883).

Created by Dr Anton Hasell of Australian Bell Pty Ltd, the Bell Chime is a publicly accessible musical instrument linking Darwin City to Charles Darwin’s voyage on the HMS Beagle from 1831-1836.

Civic Park
Civic Park

Featuring a series of cast bronze bells and a replica HMS Beagle ship’s bell, cast in brass, the HMS Beagle Ship Bell Chime brings together the separate Eastern and Western bell traditions.

Whilst in Australia, Darwin was amazed at the variety of the parrot species, and a selection of these, cast in bronze from the small Budgerigar to the large Black Cockatoo, are perched on top of each bell in the park.

HMS Beagle Ship Bell Chime
HMS Beagle Ship Bell Chime, Civic Park

After Bremer left Fort Victoria in June 1839, the little town and settlement began slowly to deteriorate.

In 1843 a migration scheme was hoped to bring both white and coloured migrants to the settlement. Cheap land for this purpose was advertised in Singapore and China but no interest was shown.

In 1846 Father Angelo Confalonieri became the first Catholic priest to come to the Northern Territory to establish the Church at Victoria. He died two years later without having been able to carry out his objectives. Victoria, and Fort Essington with it, was abandoned on 1 December 1849.

Mother Country gave up, and South Australia stepped up to the challenge. A fourth attempt at establishing a settlement on the north coast was made at Escape Cliffs, about 75 kilometres from present day Darwin, in 1864. South Australia embarked on the conquest of the North, where the Mother Country had failed. And this time it was different. The stout little ships ‘Henry Ellis’, ‘Beatrice’ and ‘Yatala’ carried pioneer-spirited men, not soldiers and convicts facing exile and worse.

The only man out of place was Lieutenant Colonel Boyle Travers Finniss, appointed in March 1864 to take charge as Government Resident of the Northern Territory, and who seemed to be a left-over from the earlier days of military martinets. The fleet arrived in Adam Bay in June 1864. From the very start there were problems. Finniss had been advised to settle at Adam Bay but against protests insisted on Escape Cliffs, where Fitzmaurice and Keys of HMS Beagle had narrowly escaped the attacked by Aborigines in 1839.

Here landed the first true pioneers of the Territory, known as “the men of ‘sixty-four'”. Many of them were surveyors and all were competent bushmen. They included J. T. Manton (chief surveyor), Stephen King and William Patrick Auld (both of whom had been with Stuart across the continent only two years previously), Frederick Litchfield, William and Gilbert McMinn, John Davis (who had been with McKinlay’s expedition from Adelaide to the Gulf and Bowen in 1862), F.J. Packard, E. Ward (postmaster), and about 30 others.

Stokes Hill was named by William Patrick Auld after Captain John Lort Stokes, one of the officers who in 1839 arrived in the harbour on the HMS Beagle.

Larrakia sacred site: Stokes Hill
Larrakia sacred site: Stokes Hill

Larrakia people know “Stokes Hill” to have within it a Larrakia spiritual ancestor. This ancestor is known as “Chinute Chinute” and manifests itself from time to time as a Tawny Frog Mouthed Owl.

The hill is a registered sacred site and no work takes place on it.

Larrakia sacred site: Stokes Hill
Larrakia sacred site: Stokes Hill

You can find a 1.7m tall bronze statue of a Tawny Frog Mouthed Owl sculpted by artist Koolpinyah Barnes, a respected Larrakia leader, on the walkaway between Smith St Mall and the Darwin Waterfront.

Bronze Owl. Artist Koolpinyah Barnes.
Bronze Owl. Artist Koolpinyah Barnes.

Once again there were problems with the Aborigines and it was Finniss who gave the first order to ‘shoot every bloody native you see’. Fortunately, his ravings were ignored by most of the more level-headed surveyors and their men. However it did not take long before the first white man was killed. Finniss’ style of governing did not endear him to the settlers and a handful of disgusted men determined to get away from Finniss’ camp at any cost. They were led by Jefferson Stow and, on 6 May 1865, set out for Perth in a 23ft. open boat. That was one of the greatest open boat voyages in history, almost forgotten today. None of the six men were seamen; they had only a pocket compass to guide them, oars, and a scrap of sail. They groped their way westward and southward for 5,000 kilometers, riding out mountainous seas off the wild Kimberley coast, and arrived, bearded and emaciated, at Fremantle, two months after leaving Escape Cliffs. As they stepped from their frail craft it capsized and sank. But that’s another story.

By the end of 1865, the South Australian government sent explorer John McKinlay up north to check out the area east of Adelaide River and find a better place for a settlement. With the onset of the wet season he and his men had a terrible time. They returned after five months without finding a suitable site.

Meanwhile Finniss had been recalled to Adelaide and summoned before a Royal Commission where he was censured and criticized. By 1867 Escape Cliffs was also abandoned. It seemed that the old jinx that had dogged the three attempts at settlement by Great Britain in the Northern Territory also dogged South Australia’s brave but rather muddled efforts.

It was going to be fifth time lucky. On 27 December 1868, yet another party of surveyors sailed from Adelaide for the north. In charge was George Woodroffe Goyder, the Surveyor-General of South Australia, who was to become the “Father of Darwin.” The party sailed in the steamer “Moonta” and schooner “Gulnare.” This time, their destination was well-chosen — the glorious harbour of Port Darwin. The little ships anchored beside Fort Hill in that harbour on 5 February 1869 and Goyder named the settlement Palmerston, after the British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston.

At Darwin Harbour, Goyder met the Traditional Owners of the land, the Larrakia people. Goyder said, “We were in what to them appeared unauthorized and unwarrantable occupation of their country.” Nonetheless, relationships between the newcomers and the Larrakia were cordial. Biliamuk, a young Larrakia man, assisted the survey party, and acted as an interpreter and cultural ambassador. Soon after, the Larrakia began trading bush tucker for tea, flour, tobacco and tools.

Goyder Camp at Fort Hill
Goyder Camp at Fort Hill

On the narrow neck of land formed by Fort Hill, at the foot of red-and-white sandstone cliffs, Goyder set up his camp in the shade of tamarinds and banyans. On Fort Hill, a brass cannon was set up, to guard this lonely outpost. For want of a better name it was known as “The Camp” for the first few years of Darwin’s history; it was the headquarters of the police and Government officials. Buildings with walls of pandanus trunks and saplings, and iron and bark roofs, were erected. On both sides was the sweep of the harbour’s deep blue waters, and 20m above was an extensive plateau overlooking the harbour — a plateau that afforded natural access into the interior. Here, Goyder surveyed the city — straight streets 3km long across the peninsula, named after his surveyors. They were Smith, Knuckey, Mitchell, Daly, McMinn, Bennett, Wood, McLachlan, and Packard, with Cavenagh Street named after the Land Commissioner of South Australia. Several of Goyder’s surveyors had been at Escape Cliffs, so they were no strangers to the north.

The First Road: Hughes Avenue
The First Road: Hughes Avenue

Hughes Avenue follows the path Goyder and his survey teams travelled up the hill. It is possible when travelling along Hughes Avenue today to see the remains of ironwood posts and sections of a dry stone porcellanite wall marking the old access route to Darwin. It is the oldest road in Darwin. The Avenue follows the contours of the escarpment from the Smith Street end of the Esplanade back down towards the sea finishing at the site where Europeans first camped.

Hughes Avenue was named after Captain Geoffrey Wesley Hughes, Harbour Master of the Port of Darwin from 1962 until his death in 1966.

Railway & stone embankment: the Stokes Hill Wharf
Railway & stone embankment: the Stokes Hill Wharf

The two existing wharfs in the port area of Darwin have taken their names from the two hills of the port area. Today only Stokes Hill remains. Fort Hill, the location for the flagpole above Goyder’s survey camp, was removed in 1965 to make way for new iron ore loading facilities serving the Mount Bundy mine.

There have been three wharfs constructed that have backed on to Stokes Hill.

The first, Port Darwin Jetty or Railway Jetty, was built in 1885-6. With an 8m tidal range in Darwin harbour, the jetty stood high on timber piles. The little Sandfly steam railway engine shunted trucks carrying cargo along the length of the jetty. Cyclone damage in 1897 and worm infestation weakened the structure and a temporary wharf was hastily constructed at the end of Stokes Hill point.

The second, Town Wharf, was completed in 1903, and stood on cast iron and concrete piers with wooden decking and a distinctive L shape. Cargo handling was by rail. The stone embankment, extending along the edge of the road leading to the wharf, was probably built at this time and was constructed of locally quarried porcellanite stone. The Town Wharf was severely damaged in the first Japanese bombing raid. The remains of the ships destroyed in that first raid remained visible at low tide until 1959, when the salvage rights were sold – ironically to the Japanese Fujita Salvage Company – and the wrecks were cut up and removed.

The third, Stokes Hill Wharf that you can see today, was not officially completed until the end of 1956. It was built of steel and concrete with timber decking and served as the main port of Darwin until facilities were transferred to the new Darwin Port at East Arm in 2000. East Arm became the terminus of the north-south transcontinental rail freight link.

Goyder arrived back in Adelaide in October 1869 and on 21 January 1870, 60 men, women and children stepped ashore at Fort Hill, pitching tents and occupying huts left by the survey party among the tamarinds and pandanus palms along the shore below the cliffs. They had arrived to build a permanent settlement.

Among the settlers was Inspector Paul Foelsche, of the famous South Australian Mounted Police. With a handful of troopers he brought the first civil law to the Territory, and lived in Darwin until he died 44 years later. W. G. Stretton, who was to spend the remainder of his varied career in the Territory, in the public service, also arrived. Mr. Milner, who had been at Escape Cliffs, was Acting Government Resident, in place of Dr. Peel who had acted in this capacity since Goyder’s departure.

The schooner “Gulnare” arrived a few days later with livestock and stores, followed by the barque “Bengal” with more settlers, stores, and horses. This new town, the fifth to be established in the Territory, but the only one to attain permanency, was named Palmerston, the same name as that of the ill-fated Escape Cliffs settlement. A Union Jack was run up on a pole on Fort Hill’s flat summit, the settlers fired their guns, and gave three cheers for the Queen.

The first buildings of bark and saplings were erected in the town Goyder surveyed, early in 1870. The first hotel, the Commercial, was of bark. Later, substantial buildings of stone, quarried from the nearby cliffs, were erected. The first white child born in the settlement was Walter Reginald Gardiner. Eastward and northward around Queensland the “Gulnare” had sailed from Adelaide to Port Darwin. Now westward around the Leeuwin and the Bight back to Adelaide she flew before the wind in 11,000 kilometers of sailing around the continent to bring more settlers and Captain Bloomfield Douglas as permanent Government Resident for the Northern Territory. He and his wife and seven children arrived on 24 June 1870.

Captain William Douglas chose the site for the Government Residence in 1870 and the town began to take shape. In 1872, Government House (also known as the House of Seven Gables) was built, then in the 1880s it was pulled down and rebuilt.

Government House, The Esplanade
Government House, The Esplanade

One hundred and forty-five years ago these newcomers were awed by the lovely harbour and beaches and multi-hued cliffs crowned with tropical vegetation, but appalled by the incredible loneliness, isolation, and by the wild Larrakia warriors with bones through their nostrils and 3m spears in their hands who swarmed in friendly welcome from their camps.

The first Residency was a large log hut with a canvas roof. The Douglas daughters and the young surveyors and police troopers in the settlement provided a primitive social life, with riding parties to nearby beaches and lagoons. Then suddenly the isolation was broken by the barque “Bengal” sailing in out of a blood-red tropic sunset after almost grounding on the treacherous reefs in the Vernon Islands. She carried wonderful news: South Australia was to build an overland telegraph line across the continent from Adelaide along the route of John McDouall Stuart, with an overseas cable to come ashore at Port Darwin.

For months after the “Bengal” arrived the settlers eagerly scanned the empty sea horizon from the cliffs at Fannie Bay and East Point for sign of smoke or sail. After three months of waiting and no news, the little steamer “Omeo” sailed in and anchored at Fort Hill one morning of blazing heat early in September 1870. It was loaded with men, horses, drays, bullocks and equipment for construction of the overland telegraph line. This was one of the great moments in Northern Territory history, for the overland telegraph brought life and permanency to Palmerston on Port Darwin. With the completion of the line the spectre of abandonment which had hovered over the settlement’s four predecessors vanished forever. Hard times were ahead, and while Darwin is still isolated, it has become the aerial gateway to Australia.

The story of Darwin really begins with the necessity to establish a support route for the Overland Telegraph to the southern states of Australia. In November 1871, the 1,800 kilometre submarine cable between Darwin and Banjoewangie in Java was laid. This in turn was connected through Batavia (now Jakarta), Singapore, Europe and London.

Overland Telegraph Memorial, The Esplanade, Liberty Square
Overland Telegraph Memorial, The Esplanade, Liberty Square

The memorial commemorates the centenary of the overseas cable to Java in 1871, and the completion of the Overland Telegraph Line between Adelaide and Darwin in 1872, and the first message between London and Adelaide.

The 3,200 kilometre Australian Overland Telegraph Line was built in the 1870s between Port Augusta and Darwin, connecting Australia to the rest of the world. During the construction, workers uncovered some gold near Pine Creek, about 200 kilometres south of Darwin, which further boosted the young colony’s development. The influx of miners and machinery passing through Palmerston (Darwin) led to the establishment of a railway to Pine Creek which was officially opened in September 1889. Although the line was extended further south to Larrimah, it was finally closed in 1976. It took until 2004 for a rail link to be completed, allowing an Australian train to connect the North with Southern States.

The Northern Territory was transferred to the Commonwealth in 1911, and Darwin became the official name of the still small town.

Development was slow, the distances to anywhere else were just too big, transport and communication difficult and the weather unpredictable.

Enter WWII. In the 1940’s 10,000 allied troops were moved to the city of Darwin on Australia’s northern coastline. It didn’t prevent the two major air raids by the Japanese on 19 February, 1942. 243 people died in the Darwin bombings. Darwin had to live through 63 more raids, the only Australian capital city to come under major attacks during WWII.

But the biggest disaster hit the city of Darwin on 25 December, 1974 in form of Cyclone Tracy. The cyclone and its aftermath are well documented in Darwin’s Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, a fascinating and chilling exhibition. When you see whole suburbs without a house standing, the magnitude of this disaster hits home.

50 people died on Christmas Day 1974, and 70% of the city of Darwin was destroyed. Darwin is a very new city simply because there was almost nothing left standing after Cyclone Tracy.

Along Smith St, across from Civic Park, you can see the Old Darwin Town Hall Ruins.

Historic Darwin

The Old Town Hall was originally built in 1883 during the Pine Creek gold rush. The building survived the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese during WWII, only to be destroyed by Cyclone Tracy 50 years later. Heritage listed, the Darwin Town Hall Ruins are all that remain today of the initial structure constructed in local porcellanite during 1882-83.

A building that survived both the war and Cyclone Tracy is Brown’s Mart, one of Darwin’s most historic stone buildings, built in 1883 and now home to the Darwin Theatre Company.

Browns Mart
Browns Mart

Behind Brown’s Mart are the Darwin City Council Chambers, where an ancient banyan tree known as the Tree of Knowledge casts a huge umbrella of shade. Planted at the end of the 19th century, the tree has been a meeting place, dormitory and soapbox for generations who lived in or passed through Darwin.

Tree of Knowledge
Tree of Knowledge

The plaque reads: Located on the site of the old Terminus Hotel in Darwin’s old Chinatown, this tree has been used as a meeting place, postal address and community notice board. It was also a place where Chinese youth met with and learned from their elders and where wisdom was gained in its shade.

Known as the Tree of Knowledge, this ancient tree is culturally significant to the Larrakia Aboriginal people who know it as “Galamarrma”. The tree, a Banyan (ficus virens) was well established by 1898 and is believed to be a part of the remnant rainforest which made way for the town of Palmerston – later Darwin.

The Terminus Hotel was progressively demolished following its closure in November 1931 and in 1969 community pressure saw the plans for the new Civic Center altered by three meters to accommodate the significant part of Darwin’ history and heritage.

Darwin has been through three very destructive cyclones, including Tracy on Christmas Day 1974, and World War II when Chinatown was destroyed by fire. And, through it all, Galamarrma has survived to remind us of our past.

Tree of Knowledge
Tree of Knowledge

With so much destruction of both homes and infrastructure by Cyclone Tracy, the population of about 45,000 was reduced to about 10,000 by a mass evacuation of people to other Australian cities, the biggest airlift in Australia’s history. This was organised by Major-General Alan Stretton, Director-General of the Natural Disasters Organisation and Minister for the Northern Territory, Rex Patterson. Many of the families that left never returned and the rebuilding attracted people from many different places resulting in a young, diverse population who rebuilt the city. Some locals say it’s due to that rebuild that the city of Darwin is so easy to navigate today. The planners were given a second chance to get it right…

The satellite city Palmerston was established in the 1980s, about 20km south of Darwin. The last milestone (for now) in Darwin’s history occurred on 17 September 2003. The Adelaide-Darwin Railway was completed, and since February 2004 tourists can experience a train journey crossing Australia from South to North on the famous Ghan.

Last Christmas was the 40th anniversary of Cyclone Tracy. Today’s Darwin shows no trace of it.

Historic Darwin

Travellers’ Walk

Once in a while, someone amazing comes along…

Travellers' Walk

…and here they are! 🙂 Beary travellers on the Travellers’ Walk in Darwin.

Travellers' Walk

Prior to the Stuart Highway upgrade during World War II, visitors to Darwin usually arrived by ship.

From at least as early as the 1880s, passengers disembarked at the Port of Darwin and climbed the escarpment via the walkway to town known colloquially as Chinamans’ or Travellers’ Walk.

The path began at the entrance to the railway yards with steps up to Cavenagh Street and finished at the Terminus Hotel. There, shaded by the great banyan tree, ironically dubbed the Tree of Knowledge, drinkers sat debating the issues of the day. This was the seaward end of Chinatown and the commercial centre of the town, now the site of the Darwin Civic Centre.

The 'Tree of Knowledge', an ancient banyan, pictured in 1930s Darwin. It can be seen today outside the city council building.
The ‘Tree of Knowledge’, an ancient banyan, pictured in 1930s Darwin. It can be seen today outside the city council building.

The name of the walkway came about, in part, because Chinese stonemasons, skilled at working with porcellanite, constructed the original pathway and steps. The name was also in recognition of the many people who used it. In the 19th century many Chinese prospectors came north from goldfields elsewhere in Australia and from southern China. Until 1911, there were more Chinese than Europeans in the Top End of the Territory and they made up a vital part of the economy and character of the town.

Photographic evidence shows that the path zigzagged its way up the hill. The route has changed over more than a century of use and has been, at different times, wider, fenced and eventually concreted.

Travellers' Walk

Traveller’s Walk was reconstructed in 2000 and dedicated to Darwin’s pioneers. The Mosaic Art Project is beautiful, a collage of art and a collection of bottles, stones and ceramics found in the vicinity of the walk.

Travellers' Walk

Travellers’ Walk is part of the Heritage and Cultural trail that brings to life Darwin’s fascinating history. It is one of two heritage trails leading down to the Waterfront, the other trail celebrates the lives of Territory women through Damoe Ra Park. The park is situated on the Esplanade opposite Parliament House and leads down to the Deck Chair Cinema. It is easiest to find via the steps on the corner of Herbert Street and the Esplanade.

Travellers' Walk

Damoe-Ra Park was a central and essential site for the traditional inhabitants, the Larrakia people, and the early European settlers. Damoe-Ra was named by Larrakia elder Topsy Secretary, referring to a natural spring located a little further north, on Lameroo Beach. In 1992 it was chosen as the site to commemorate the significant role women have played in the Northern Territory. Territory women artists are responsible for the design and development of all Tribute features.

Travellers' Walk

The park has a memorial pathway, plaque, garden and mosaic dedicated to the contribution of Northern Territory Women. There are three memorials, constructed in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Travellers' Walk

Cherry Cocktails

Fresh Cherry Martini

Fresh Cherry Martini
Fresh Cherry Martini

• 60ml Plymouth Gin
• 6 cherries (fresh, stoned and sliced)
• 10ml sugar syrup
• Cherry to garnish
Preparation:
Muddle the sliced fresh fruit in the base of the shaker, add the sugar, gin and top with cubed ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a cherry on the side of the glass.

Cherry Margarita

Cherry Margarita
Cherry Margarita

• 1/2 cup cherries pitted and mashed
• 30ml simple syrup
• 30ml fresh lime juice
• 25ml Cointreau
• 45ml oz tequila
• Lime wedge for garnish
Preparation:
1. Combine all ingredients into an ice filled mixing tin. Shake and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
2. Combine the zest of one lime with several teaspoons of rock salt.
3. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass. Dip into the zest salt mixture.
4. Fill the glass with ice.
5. In a cocktail shaker mash the cherries with the simple syrup and lime juice. Add the other ingredients and shake to combine. If using the puree shake to combine.
6. Pour into prepared glass and and garnish with a lime wedge.

Grand Cerise Surprise

Grand Cerise Surprise
Grand Cerise Surprise

The liqueur dominates the drink, the rum is used as an accent, and the milk and syrup transform it sweet treat while enhancing the spirits. Choose a dark rum with great character that will show off the liqueur’s orange and cherry flavors. Some suggestions include Pusser’s British Navy Dark, Mount Gay Extra Old, and Angostura 5 Year Old Dark.
• 45ml Grand Marnier Natural Cherry
• 25ml dark aged rum
• 30ml milk
• 7.5ml simple syrup
• dark chocolate shavings for garnish
Preparation:
1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
2. Shake well.
3. Strain into a glass filled with ice.
4. Garnish with dark chocolate shavings.

Sailor Cherry

Sailor Cherry
Sailor Cherry

• 30ml Sailor Jerry rum
• 30ml Cherry Liqueur
• 60ml cranberry juice
• To taste lemonade
• 1 maraschino cherry
Preparation
Shake the Sailor Jerry, Cherry liqueur and cranberry juice with crushed ice, strain into a glass then top with lemonade to taste. Put in a cherry and you’re good to go!

Fruity Grand Cherry
• 75ml Grand Marnier Cherry
• 3 drops orange bitters
• Splash of Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Preparation:
1. In a well-chilled cocktail glass, rinse inside with whisky and pour out the remainder.
2. Stir Grand Marnier Cherry and orange bitters in a mixing glass filled with ice.
3. Strain into the whisky-rinsed glass.
4. Garnish with an orange peel.

Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors
Smoke and Mirrors

• 45ml Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
• 15ml Cherry Liqueur
• 15ml Sweet Vermouth
• 3 drops Angostura Bitters
• 10ml Mescal
Preparation:
1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
2. Stir well.
3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
4. Garnish with a cherry.

Cherry Brandy Champagne

Cherry Brandy Champagne
Cherry Brandy Champagne

Choose good Champagne for this because it contributes the majority of the flavor and the better tasting Champagne, the better the cocktail will be. Add the Champagne last, opening the bottle right before serving for the best results and the best visual when the sugar cube dissolves. If you are serving this for a party, prepare all of the glasses you need with everything except the Champagne for the fastest service.
• 1 sugar cube
• 2-3 drops Angostura bitters
• Champagne
• 30ml cherry brandy
• Orange slice for garnish
• Maraschino cherry for garnish
Preparation:
1. Place the sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute.
2. Use the dashes of Angostura bitters to saturate the sugar cube.
3. Add the brandy.
4. Fill with Champagne and watch the sugar cube dissolve in a fountain of bubbles.
5. Garnish with the orange slice and cherry.

Cherry Vodka Champagne

Cherry Vodka Champagne
Cherry Vodka Champagne

• 45ml Grey Goose Cherry Noir vodka
• 30ml St Germain Liqueur
• 15ml Fresh Lemon Juice
• 30ml Pomegranate Juice
• Top up with your favourite champagne
Preparation:
1. Combine all ingredients in shaker (except champagne).
2. Shake vigorously and strain in champagne glass.
3. Top with champagne. Garnish with a black cherry.

Singapore Sling

Singapore Sling
Singapore Sling

• 30ml gin
• 15ml cherry brandy
• 7.5ml Cointreau liqueur
• 7.5ml Benedictine liqueur
• 120ml chilled pineapple juice
• 15ml fresh lime juice
• 3 drops Angostura bitters
• 10ml Grenadine
• Pineapple, cherry or fresh mint leaves, to decorate
Preparation:
1. Fill two-thirds of a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients and shake until well combined.
2. Fill two-thirds of a tall serving glass with the crushed ice cubes. Pour cocktail into the glass. Add decorations. Serve.

Our favourite 🙂 We, of course, make the best Singapore Sling this side of the Alpha Quandrant…

A Midsummernight’s Dream

A Midsummernight's Dream
A Midsummernight’s Dream

• 5 fresh strawberries
• 15ml strawberry liqueur
• 30ml cherry brandy
• 60ml vodka
• Schweppes Russian tonic water
Preparation:
Mix the strawberries in a blender and pour over ice in a shaker. Add the vodka, cherry brandy and strawberry liqueur to the shaker. Shake well, pour into a highball glass, and fill up with the Russian tonic water.

Cherries from Heaven
• 45ml cherry brandy
• 30ml lemon juice
• 1 drop bitters
• 120ml tonic water
Preparation:
Pour the cherry brandy, lemon juice and bitters into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes, and shake well. Strain into a highball glass almost filled with ice cubes. Top with tonic water, and stir well. Garnish with a lime wedge, and serve.

Black Forrest

Black Forest
Black Forest

• 30ml Creme de Cacao
• 30ml cherry liqueur
• 30ml cherry brandy
• 30ml cream
Preparation:
1. Shake ingredients together and pour into glass.
2. Add a little more cream as a floater, then add a cherry.

Champion’s Bubblin’ Cherry

Champion’s Bubblin’ Cherry
Champion’s Bubblin’ Cherry

• 45ml cherry Grey Goose Cherry Noir Vodka
• 135ml Sprite soda
Preparation:
Pour both ingredients into a highball glass almost filled with ice cubes, and serve.

Black Cherry Cola

Black Cherry Cola
Black Cherry Cola

• 45ml Grey Goose Cherry Noir Vodka
• 105ml Cola
• 15ml Grenadine
Preparation
1. Fill glass slightly above rim with cubed ice.
2. Pour ingredients in order listed to 1/2 inch from top of glass and stir.
3. Add soda straw and garnish with a cherry.
Tips – Give the cocktail a slight stir with the straw prior to serving to mix the ingredients, but do so gently, so as not to release all the carbonation.

Cherry Moon

Cherry Moon
Cherry Moon

• 45ml Grey Goose Cherry Noir Vodka
• 105ml Lemon-lime soda
• 15ml Grenadine
Preparation
1. Fill glass slightly above rim with cubed ice.
2. Pour ingredients in order listed to 1/2 inch from top of glass and stir.
3. Add soda straw and garnish with a cherry.
Tips – Building, or layering, these ingredients results in a beautiful spectrum of color that adds to the appeal of this cocktail. Resist the urge to stir to maintain the gradient of color.

Couronne Royale

Couronne Royale
Couronne Royale

• 45ml Grey Goose Cherry Noir Vodka
• 7.5ml hibiscus simple syrup
• 3 drops chocolate bitters
• Sparkling rosé
Preparation
1. In cocktail shaker filled with ice, add 30ml Grey Goose Cherry Noir Flavored Vodka, lime juice, hibiscus simple syrup and ice.
2. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass.
3. Add Aztec Chocolate Bitters and top with sparkling rosé.
4. Present with a wild hibiscus flower and a maraschino cherry.

Worldly and regal 🙂

Cherry Sangria (recipe for 6)

Cherry Sangria
Cherry Sangria

• 750 ml bottle red wine or rose wine (we use Brown Brothers Dolcetto & Shiraz)
• 1/2 cup Badel cherry brandy
• 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
• 1/4 cup cherry syrup
• 1/4 cup Cointreau orange liqueur
• 1 cup fresh pitted sweet cherries
• 1 orange, halved lengthwise and sliced
Preparation:
1. In an extra-large pitcher combine all the ingredients. Stir in cherries and orange slices.
2. Cover and chill for at least 24 hours. Serve over ice.

Another favourite 🙂

Cherry-Lemon Manhattan

Cherry-Lemon Manhattan
Cherry-Lemon Manhattan

• 30ml Jim Beam Black Cherry Bourbon
• 25ml fresh lemon juice
• 20ml simple syrup
• Cherry & lemon zest for garnish
Preparation
1. Fill mixing glass with ice.
2. Pour ingredients in order listed and stir until well chilled (about 20 seconds).
3. Strain into chilled martini glass, garnish and serve. (For “on the rocks” build over ice in glass, garnish and serve.)

Cherry Mojitos with Vodka (recipe for 6)
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
• 750g dark cherries, pitted
• 1 cup cherry vodka
• 1 (750 ml) bottle sparkling water
Preparation
1. Bring sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool completely. (Makes about 1 cup of syrup.) Syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 month.
2. Put lime juice into a medium nonreactive bowl. Halve 2/3 of the cherries; add all cherries to lime juice. Stir in syrup. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to overnight).
3. Stir cherry mixture and vodka in a large serving bowl. Fill 6 glasses with ice. Spoon 1/2 cup cherry-vodka mixture into each glass. Top with sparkling water; serve immediately.

Cherry Mojitos with Rum (recipe for 6)
For cherry syrup—
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup water
• 500g sweet cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
For assembly and serving—
• 15ml minced fresh mint (each glass)
• 60ml cherry syrup (each glass)
• juice of 1 lime each
• 60ml light rum each
• 240ml sparkling water each
Preparation
1. Combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pot on the stove. Bring to a boil and stir so that all the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add fresh, chopped cherries. Stir and refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until chilled. You can make this cherry syrup ahead of time and keep covered in the fridge.
2. When you’re ready to make your mojitos, drop a tablespoon of fresh minced mint in each glass, followed by 60ml of cherry syrup and juice of 1 lime. Using the end of a wooden spoon (or whatever you have!) muddle the mixture together. The, add 60ml of rum and about a cup (240ml) of sparkling water. Add ice! Serve with additional mint and cherries.

All recipes, except as noted, are for one serve. We’ve only tried the Cherry Brandy Champagne, Singapore Sling, Couronne Royale and Cherry Sangria. Not all at once! Yum 🙂

Le temp des cerises

Le Temp des Cerises

Le temp des cerises

Give me books, a cherry cocktail, fruit, preferably cherries 🙂 , fine weather and a little music played outdoors by somebody I do not know. Or someone I know and I like 🙂

Luscious, plump, sweet cherries are perhaps the only fruit whose seasonal arrival has been celebrated in music, and even more so in cocktails 🙂 and food.

Le Temp des Cerises

Cherry with his favourite course… Desert!

Le Temp des Cerises

We have recently discovered that cherries are not only for jams and pies; these juicy, ruby red beauties are ripe for the picking in surprisingly refreshing and delicious salads. Who knew goats cheese was a perfect companion for cherries?!?

Seared-Chicken Salad with Cherries and Goat Cheese Dressing (4 serves)

Seared Chicken Salad with Cherries and Goat Cheese
Seared Chicken Salad with Cherries and Goat Cheese

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (60g)
2tbsp snipped fresh chives
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
500g chicken cutlets
1 head Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
250g fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved
1/4 cup walnut pieces
Preparation:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, goat cheese, chives, vinegar, and 2tbsp water; season with salt and pepper. Set dressing aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook until opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Thinly slice chicken crosswise.
3. Divide lettuce among four plates; top with chicken, cherries, and walnuts. Serve salad with dressing alongside.

Our effort… Yummy, even if I do say so myself…
Le Temp des Cerises

Sweet Cherries with Robiola Cheese (4 serves)

Sweet Cherries with Robiola Cheese
Sweet Cherries with Robiola Cheese

The delicate texture of Robiola, a mild and creamy Italian cheese, is a great partner for sweet cherries. Ricotta or soft goat cheese would also work nicely.
Robiola cheese, room temperature
250g fresh sweet cherries
3tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 baguette, ripped into pieces
Preparation:
Place cheese on a serving platter. Top with cherries, almonds, and thyme. Drizzle with oil. Serve with baguette.

Our effort… We used goats cheese since it was on hand. Must try a different oil. Extra-virgin olive oil might be good for you but it detracted from the cherry experience in our opinion.
Le Temp des Cerises

Bon appetit!

Le Temp des Cerises

We actually found a French wine called Le Temps des Cerises. Fou du Roi (the Jester) is a blend of 50% of Grenache Noir, along with Cinsault and Carignan and weighs in at only 12% alcohol. The tasting notes say that it displays cherry on the nose and has an elegance and vibrancy that is very appealing. It tastes alive! It has good tannin structure which will help as it ages and the finish is long, clean and lively. Definitely one for those who want to explore the complexity of natural wines.

Le Temps des Cerises Fou du Roi 2013
Le Temps des Cerises Fou du Roi 2013

You can find out more about Le Temps des Cerises range of wines here…
http://www.livingwines.com.au/wines/Le_Temps_des_Cerises.htm

We didn’t get the wine, for the moment we want to explore the pitcher of cherry sangria 🙂

Cherry Sangria
Cherry Sangria

And the music was from someone we know…

Le temps des cerises is the title of one of the prettiest of French popular songs. Written in 1866, with words by Jean-Baptiste Clément and music by Antoine Renard, it became associated after the fact with the Commune and the French Revolution. Ever since, the song has been considered the unofficial anthem of the French Left. Yet there’s virtually nothing in the words of the song that can be interpreted as a leftist or revolutionary theme. Go figure! As old as this song is, it remains popular today, probably due to its timeless beautiful melody. Lots of singers have sung it, but Nana Mouskouri’s version is the one we liked the best.

Le Temps des Cerises
Quand nous chanterons le temps des cerises,
Et gai rossignol, et merle moqueur
Seront tous en fête!
Les belles auront la folie en tête
Et les amoureux du soleil au cœur!
Quand nous chanterons le temps des cerises
Sifflera bien mieux le merle moqueur!

Mais il est bien court, le temps des cerises
Où l’on s’en va deux cueillir en rêvant
Des pendants d’oreilles…
Cerises d’amour aux robes pareilles,
Tombant sous la feuille en gouttes de sang…
Mais il est bien court, le temps des cerises,
Pendants de corail qu’on cueille en rêvant!

Quand vous en serez au temps des cerises,
Si vous avez peur des chagrins d’amour,
Evitez les belles!
Moi qui ne crains pas les peines cruelles
Je ne vivrai pas sans souffrir un jour…
Quand vous en serez au temps des cerises
Vous aurez aussi des chagrins d’amour!

J’aimerai toujours le temps des cerises,
C’est de ce temps-là que je garde au cœur
Une plaie ouverte!
Et dame Fortune, en m’étant offerte
Ne saurait jamais calmer ma douleur…
J’aimerai toujours le temps des cerises
Et le souvenir que je garde au cœur!
Jean-Baptiste Clément (1866)

Le temp des cerises

Elevenses

What day is it?

Elevenses

It’s play day!

Elevenses

My favorite day 🙂

Elevenses

My adventures with Winnie the Pooh were grand!

Elevenses

Nearly eleven o’clock, it is time for a little smackerel of something.

Elevenses

Minty hot chocolate! And scones, and cherries…

Elevenses

Did you know that there is a Winnie the Pooh Day, celebrated on the birthday of author A A Milne, on January 18? Every year, the occasion is marked with events such as teddy bears’ picnics, featuring plenty of honey on the menu. We have Honey! But not for elevenses 🙂

Elevenses

Time to do a little Nothing…

Elevenses