On Monday we visited the NT Art Gallery and Museum. It contained many fine examples of traditional and modern art and the Aboriginal art section was really impressive in range and size. There is a great display of the venomous animals that you may encounter in the NT. The ‘hit’ was a very large 6m crocodile, called Sweetie that had been accidentally drowned whilst being relocated. It was finally preserved and is an amazing sight.
On Thursday, we went to the opening of the Darwin Festival in the park over looking the harbour. The sunset increased the beauty of the already beautiful setting. Three Aboriginal bands played. They came from outer regions playing in their different languages. Interestingly, this was the first time we had seen a large number of Aborigines at a cultural event - all very enthusiastic and supportive of their favourite bands.
The Annual Aboriginal Art Awards were held in the gardens of the Museum once again over looking the water - another beautiful setting on a perfect evening. We managed to sit in a lovely spot and watched a spectacular sunset. The award also featured some very dramatic Aboriginal dancing and music.
Peter was up early for the local garage sales on Saturday. Although he was gone for an age there wasn’t much around.
The annual Garden Show in the Botanic Gardens drew our interest and included a lovely garden concert of guitar players from Charles Darwin Uni. Then onto the closing party of the Fringe Festival at Brown Mart Theatre next to the park. It was an outdoor concert featuring Polynesian dancers, belly dancers, a touring Irish poetry group, drummers etc.
Visited Old Darwin Goal, which was quite depressing. The most disheartening aspect was that it was still in use until quite recently - it was medieval at best.
On Monday we had a wander around Darwin and popped into the Supreme Court and sat in on a case, which was interesting as it showed us how the legal system handles controversial cases. The judge was trying make a sentence but the dilemmas about which way to treat a ‘ young’ 19 year old meant that the judge had to go off to think it through a bit. We also sat in on the Magistrates’ Court the week before and saw about 7 cases come and go. Unfortunately they involved about 5 Aboriginals relating to violence, alcohol abuse and driving without licence whilst drunk etc.
Small world # 11 - we were visiting an art gallery when we caught up with some guys from Kiama. They were here on a tour of Aboriginal art communities to get ideas for their cooperative in Gerringong. They were very friendly and articulate and full of energy and enthusiasm for their project. They really are very different to the Top End Mob who are very close to their old culture which then influences their response to European ways. The Darwin communities do seem more settled than the Alice Springs communities and alcohol abuse not so evident. One thing that is special is that we never see children crying at all. They are all so cheerful and full of beans.
On Wednesday afternoon we relaxed at the Darwin Trailer Club adjacent to the lovely Yacht Club. We sat on a table right next to the sand and watched the sun go down over the water. It is still hard to get used to the sun setting on the water and the lovely balmy evenings – about 24deg with a warm breeze. We had a lovely meal outside and felt like we had a secret that most of Australia ignores -the wonderful dry season in Darwin! We keep checking the weather to see if the south has picked up yet but marvel at our new summer in winter. Every day has been much the same here and we heard someone say it was another Groundhog Day. That is so true. We only feel the heat a bit about 12-3pm. The afternoon breeze is perfect.