Sunday, November 25, 2012

Darwin - Looking around

Friday - 16/11/2012

Alison loaned her car to us so we could get around and have a look at a few places whilst she is away over the weekend which was very nice of her. So today we had to go shopping so we headed to town and before the shopping we went to the WWII Underground Oil Storage. The oil storage tanks were commenced after the first bombing of Darwin in February 1942, the work commenced in May 1942 and was an incredible task. The work was carried out by a private company and most of the workers were in their 50's and 60's due to the younger persons being engaged in the war effort. These tunnels were excavated by pick and shovel and the total storage was over 4 million litres, after the tunnels were dug out they were lined with concrete and then steel plating. Although they were built for the war as safe tanks that could not be bombed the war finished before the tanks were finished ready for use. Later Golden Fleece fuel company used them for aviation fuel storage but this proved unsuccessful due to the amount of water seepage into the tanks.
(Entrance to the oil storage tunnels, the cost for self tour is $6 and it is here you sit for a talk about the tunnels before entering, well worth the tour)
(This is the entrance tunnel)
(This tunnel storage appears to have a lot of water seepage)
(The main oil storage tunnel)
(There are many photos of WWII and the Darwin bombing, Nancy looks on thinking about her father that was stationed here in the Air Force and was here in the bombing, interesting point is that because of the secrets act Australians were led to believe that Darwin was only bombed the once in February 1942 when it was bombed over an 18 month period as this was the case Darwin was not considered a war zone for the purpose of entitlements of the service personnel, therefore no war service pension).

After that visit we went around the waterfront  along the Esplanade and onto Fannie Bay and then to East Point where they had gun placements during the war (WWII), it was interesting to note the erosion of the cliffs one of the machine gun bunkers has partially eroded away from the sea, salt and wind, in one area they have closed a small roadway because the road has collapsed  from this erosion.
(East Point Gun Placements that were installed for WWII, over on the right in the background is the large gun placement and bunker, naturally the large gun was taken away many years ago.Other building are to roofed magazines, explosives were stored in these below ground level.)
(This photo shows the cliff erosion on the right you can see nearly half a concrete machine gun post eroded away there was a second one of these that has totally gone)

After our tour we went back to town to do some shopping and then returned back on board.

Saturday - 17/11/2012

Our anniversary today, 12 years Nancy and  I have been married to each other and together for 17 years, she tells me there is no parole period. So today we went to the Wildlife Park which is out by of town down the track (Stuart Highway), we spent the whole day out there as it is quite a long walk around the park and lots to see. They do have a motorised train that runs every 30 minutes where you can do the faster trek by hoping on and off the different displays but we chose to walk and then catch the train from the last display back to the main station.

When catching the train back the driver gave a running commentary on the park, he mentioned about the dangers of crocodiles and that they had removed 266 crocs from Darwin Harbour so far this year. When we got off the train I went and asked what happens to the crocs that they remove from places like the harbour. He said, "Unfortunately the male crocs are culled and the females are used for breeding for the purpose of getting the young that are used for their leather production which most products go overseas." I thought that this was very sensible for the fact that I have said before that the crocs being protected have no predator at least by doing this some of the numbers are being controlled, I personally believe there should be more culling as the crocs are fighting for space and this is making them go further south and further out to sea seeking other lands like some islands where they can cause other problems. Crocs are territorial a young male tries to find a place to call its own territory if he cannot beat another male croc to take their territory he has to keep moving . When in Seisia  a young croc tried twice to beat the old resident croc and the old croc won and sent the young croc on his way. The fact of the matter is that there are a few species in this world that the only predator that they have ever had is man and once we protect them they no longer have a predator and then they become a problem. There has to be a balance somewhere because food sources for these dangerous protected species run low man becomes a food source hence attacks are more prevalent.
(The Black Cockatoo, they used to be plentiful down around the southern part of NT but numbers have been reduced due to the land clearing for housing and other projects)
(Most Australians call this bird a Jabiru, it is actually a Blacked Necked Stork, the Jabiru family is located in the Americas around Mexico and Argentina. I always thought that Jabiru was an Aboriginal name for the bird but it is not).
(A young hawk, one of their favourite foods are Emu eggs that are very tough to break here the young hawk uses a rock to break the egg or at least crack it so that he can get into it. This method is a natural act that is born into the bird. This young bird had a little trouble hitting the egg at first but eventually got it.)
(A young Sea Eagle very proud and very alert and is very independant and in the wild stay alone other than mating, it was brought to the centre after being injured and will be released back to the wild)
(A Wedge Tailed Eagle, although a large powerful bird they are often seen in groups sharing a bit of road kill such as a dead kangaroo on the side of the road where they can come to grief as this one did being hit by a car when taking off. These birds will stay with their catch or food claim and will only fly away when it is totally necessary. This fine bird had a broken wing and cannot be let loose as it would not survive. Unlike the Sea Eagle this one is enjoying a scratch from the ranger and is falling asleep.)
(If you are out bush and there is road kill on the side of the road such as a dead roo by stopping and dragging it well off the side of the road you may save the life of a bird such as this)

After a great day at the park we headed back towards town and called in to see friends on the way arriving back on board around 1900 hours rather tired.

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