Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Darwin - In and around Darwin

(Looks like the wet season has started although slow at this stage, lightening and thunder one strike above)
(Nancy between a couple of ant hills)

Military Museum

The Darwin Military Museum out at East Point is well worth a visit in the last few years about $10m has been spent on this museum that now has touch screens that give great detail from the different people that had part to play in the air raids in Darwin. One area closes off every 20 minutes and inside this area you can experience what it was like to be in the centre of the bombing raid in Darwin at the time. It also has many outside exhibits which includes one of the two 9.2 inch gun placements.
(Display cabinets inside the 9.2 inch gun placement)
(A dummy gun, these were made and put in place to make the enemy think we had more arms than we had when they flew over surveying the area)

Aircraft Museum

Darwin's Air Museum is located on the Stuart Highway just past the RAAF Base, this is another must see having a lot of history along with aircraft which includes a B52 Bomber that spans the whole building and makes the other aircraft look quite small in comparison. The aircraft range from the large for mentioned to a Tiger Moth, Spitfire, Mirage and many others also a Wessex and Huey helicopter. They are soon to take charge of an F111.
(The B52 Bomber engines and displays inside the Air Museum)
(Sabre Jet)
(Remains of a Mirage aircarft, this crashed after pilot ejected due to faulty landing gear)

Some facts:

Darwin was bombed by 188 aircraft at 0958 hours on 19 February 1942

Darwin and around the Top End was bombed 64 times during WWII.

251 people were killed in the two attacks on the first day.

Darwin was attacked by submarines in the month before the first air attack.

Darwin Museum

The main Darwin Museum is located at Fannie Bay and is a must see, it consists of many different exhibits which range from animal life, art works, Aboriginal works and a section on the Darwin's major cyclone, Cyclone Tracey. If you wonder what it sounds like to be in the dark during a cyclone they have a room there that you can experience the noises made by the horrific winds with buildings being ripped apart.

Fannie Bay Gaol

The Fannie Bay Gaol naturally located at Fannie Bay, Palmerston Gaol came first in 1872 to 1883 when it was realised that it was too close to the community so Fannie Bay Gaol was constructed and  was in use in its first years of 1884, operations were interrupted by the bombing of Darwin where prisoners were released during the bombing and told to fend for themselves. The Gaol was then taken over by the Air Force until they vacated the place in 1946. The Fannie Bay Gaol continued to operate until 1974 when Cyclone Tracey ended it and prisoners were transferred to Berrimah Gaol.

In 1952 the first and the last white men were executed by hanging in the Fannie Bay Gaol they were Jerry Koci , 20 and  John Novotny 19, for the murder of taxi driver  George Grantham. The hanging was carried out at 0800 hours on 7 August 1952.
(Photo shows one section of the gaol and the gallows, hanging beam and drop door)

Parap Markets

The best markets in Darwin would be Mindil Beach Markets but they only operate in the dry season, I believe these markets are so big now that they operate on two nights. However, the Parap Markets are all year round although it is only a small market it has plenty to offer including lots of eateries.

Kakadu - Cooinda - Yellow Water Billabong.

 (They say for every croc you see there is twelve you don't. There are genearally more females to males and this is due to the temperature, the temperature affects the sexes of the hatchings, cannot remember what the temperatures are, however, the temperature is critical to whether the eggs hatch or not. There is a very narrow range for males to result. After all that around 1% of the hatchlings will survive to become adults as they are on the food chain whilst small)
(When you see the head of a croc above water you are seeing one eighth of its length, the photo below shows this if you look closely you can see the outline of the croc underwater.)
(Spot the croc below)
(This croc, near the bank centre, has made a nest just up the bank which is rather early and could get flooded out when the wet settles in.)

We were fortunate enough to get a trip out with friend Raighne on his Greyhound Bus run to Cooinda travelling via The Old Bark Hut and Jabiru having short stops at each. There would be many places to visit in Kakadu and all are probably glorious, Cooinda and Yellow Water Billabong are well worth the visit. Although being the end of the dry season and some of the waterways are drying up or have less water than normal I think it favoured us at Yellow Water as there were lots of bird life around the water and a good number of crocodiles to view. We had a perfect guide on the water cruise that took us around the waterways and talked on the crocs, bird life and snakes and other creatures. The cruise is around 90 minutes or a little longer and cost is $68 per person.
(Something more delecate, a Comb Crested Jacana also known as the Jesus Bird because it looks like it walks on water)
(A Brolga, this bird is used as NT's emblem)
(Ducks in flight)
(Magpie Geese, one male with two female)
(Plumed whistling ducks)

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