Friday Flowers: Tropical Colours

One thing about the tropics, the colours of the flowers usually burst out at you….they do have to compete with some pretty bright light.

Sadly i have no idea what this plant is called but it is in Darwin's Botanical Gardens.

Sadly i have no idea what this plant is called but it is in Darwin’s Botanical Gardens.

A common or garden purple bougainvillea is enlived by its unusual presentation.

A common or garden purple bougainvillea is enlived by its unusual presentation.

A passionfruit flower (not sure which variety)

A passionfruit flower (not sure which variety)

Heliconias/gingers are readily available here, especially as cut flowers at the markets.

Heliconias/gingers are readily available here, especially as cut flowers at the markets.

I hope these gorgeous flowers have brought sunshine to you this Friday.


Friday Flowers: Orchids

I’ve been inspired by the images of beautiful flowers my friends have been posting lately on Facebook as an antidote to all the miseries of the world. Looking at my Pinterest Flower pins set me thinking – why not have a Friday Flowers theme on this blog? Sometimes it will be tropical flowers but other times it will be images from our travels. Some may even have appeared on earlier Open Garden posts.

And so today I bring you some brilliantly coloured orchid images I’ve taken over the years.DSC_1072

DSC_1074DSC_1083DSC_0647DSC_0413I hope these gorgeous flowers have brought sunshine to you this Friday.

Rodeo action

There were thrills and spills galore once the competitors hit the grounds. We were astonished by the size of some of the kids who were competing….seems to be in their blood. All the animals look a bit crazed with the red-eye effect from all the spotlights. Loved the addition of the new big screen replays.

There’s a lot of blurred and fuzzy photos here but I’m going to call them action shots rather than duds.

Darwin is one of the few places where you’ll see teenage ringers with their swags, tight jeans and RM Williams boots, with the occasional silver buckle thrown in.

Bringing it down.

A new form of Aussie motor?

Coming unstuck

Ears pinned back and “hair on fire”.

I loved how the girls wore their girly shirts and their horses had sparkly reins.

Around the Rodeo

Last weekend we had an outing to the Darwin Championship Rodeo. It was some years since we’d been but we had fun. Some of the riders are sooo young, but pictures of the events tomorrow.

What’s the rodeo without rum? Strangely there were no drop bears in evidence…

And for the kids there’s the colourful, albeit unhealthy, option of lollies and fairy floss by the bucket.

A taste of old-time shows:

Action coming up until the power went out in the whole neighbourhood:

From taxiway to suburban street

Back in February I put up a number of posts about Darwin’s role during World War II. Having had a break from war and mayhem I’ll be posting some more photos over the coming weeks.

Parap and Fannie Bay were part of the aviation defence of the city. Former taxiways and airstrips have become absorbed into suburban streets leaving the casual observer no clue of their former history.

Observant pedestrians will notice plaques like this one along the footpaths, and occasional markers with propeller markings.

From taxiway to suburban streeet

Parliament House – Northern Territory

The Northern Territory’s Parliament House is quite spectacular as you might imagine, given one its local nicknames is The Wedding Cake. You get a sense why when you look at its architecture….it’s a large building and very difficult to get a front-on picture of it. Parliament House also houses the Northern Territory Library which may have some of the most spectacular views from a library anywhere in the country.

It also has an impressive main hall (and equally impressive views). I like the geometric style of this image I took.

Geometric patterns disguise the ocean view.

Post Office staff – Bombing of Darwin

Today’s focus is on the civilian deaths in the Post Master General’s (PMG) Department on 19 February 1942.  The Darwin Post Office was essentially destroyed in the bombing with the loss of nine lives (another victim died on board the hospital ship Manunda). Those who lost their lives were the Postmaster, Mr Hurtle Bald; his wife, Mrs Alice Bald; their daughter, Miss Iris Bald; Mr Archibald Halls; Mr Arthur Wellington; Miss Jennie Stasinowsky; Misses Jean and Eileen Mullen; and Mrs Emily Young, all of whom were employees of the Postmaster General.

The site of the old Post Office became the site of the Legislative Assembly and subsequently the modern Parliament House building. The heritage of the site is recognised with the above plaque and also a remnant of the original building’s wall in the foyer of the entrance to the Northern Territory Library, unnoticed by many who visit the library.

The plaque to the left of the wall reads as follows: This portion of the wall left in its original state is all that remains of the Darwin Telegraph Station built in 1872 when the Overland Telegraph Station was opened. The building was destroyed in an enemy air raid on the 19th February 1942 when ten officers of the Australian Post Office lost their lives very close to this spot. The piece of shrapnel featured was found in the ruins of the Darwin Post Office by Mr Joe Fisher after the bombing.

The graves of those PMG employees who died in the bombing are at the Adelaide River War Cemetery and these are images I took about this time last year. There is also an historic photo of their first graves near the sea here (but where was it?)

The following image shows the graves and memorial to the nine Post Office employees who died that day, within the broader context of the Adelaide River War Cemetery.

Nearby are graves of Indigenous people who were killed during the war, many identified only by a first name or a “surname” associated with a particular place.

Over the coming weeks I plan to post some images of Darwin’s Military History which will probably each be called some variation on “Military Darwin”.  Darwin remains unusual in the context of Australia’s other cities, with perhaps the exception of Townsville in north Queensland. It is common to see Australian Defence Force uniforms around the town on a daily basis, especially at Palmerston. It’s also not uncommon to see military convoys travelling up and down the Stuart Highway. We also don’t immediately think the country’s been invaded when the APCs/tanks are occasionally seen driving down our city’s streets. The Dry Season almost always involves military manoeuvres with other nations’ naval, army or air forces and the sky resounds with the boom of fighter planes and helicopters. In short, the legacy of World War II remains: we are part of Australia’s northern defence.

Her Majesty reigned in Darwin

The event of the day was the presence of royalty in town. One of the largest ships on the oceans wide, the Queen Mary 2, berthed in the Port of Darwin today. its arrival was discreet around 5.30am, before the sun was up, but apparently was bedecked in lights (didn’t see of that or I could have popped up to see her). But what a mad day it was in the city…there were tour buses  everywhere you turned, and anyone who wasn’t a tourist seemed to be carrying a camera to photograph royalty. The tourists were having a fine time spending up in the city and the economic injection from the day is estimated at $2 million! No wonder they had the access roads closed to mundane vehicles.

Storm clouds brewing around Queen Mary 2.


It’s not often you’d call a lady humungous and mean it in a good way but boy, oh, boy, was she impressive. Her stern hung over one end of the Fort Hill Wharf and her bow was over the front of the wharf. With the roads closed it was difficult to get an effective picture of her though she looked magnificent framed by a bout of Wet Season storm clouds.

You get some sense of her size in comparison with the other boats.

Anyone who has visited Darwin will have some sense of the height of Queen Mary 2: that's Government House in the front, at a much higher elevation and yet dwarfed by the ship. What a great view the Administrator would have had.

Half the school kids in Darwin were down on Stokes Hill Wharf with their parents as soon as school finished so they could check her out. Awestruck captures it I think. My grandson and I stayed to see her cast off her ropes and set the engines to push away from the wharf. In an amazing but subdued display of skill the captain took her off from the wharf then rotated her to set forth out of the harbour. The only disappointment was not being able to see her pass through the ceremonial sprays that had been turned on.

Ropes cast off and about to spin on sixpence, as the saying goes.

Even though we made haste to the Esplanade at Fannie Bay (along with umpteen other cars) she’d already drawn level with our viewing point. When she sets her mind to it, she must have a turn of speed.

All the love belonged to Queen Mary 2 today.

Meanwhile relegated to the outer lanes of the harbour was the Discovery, the original Love Boat which also brought a good number of tourists to Darwin. On any other day she’d have looked large and impressive but today sadly her presence was dwarfed in more ways than one by royalty.

Discovery looking a little lost and forlorn anchored offshore.

To honour USS Peary sunk in Darwin harbour 1942

I visited the USS Peary memorial today to take some photographs for my American readers and to pay my respects.

The rescued gun from the USS Peary points out to the now peaceful harbour where the destroyer sank with the loss of 89 lives.

The plaque is under the gun and not all that easy to photograph “on the square”/

This memorial is adjacent to the Peary memorial.

The destroyer USS Chafee is in town for the commemoration ceremonies.

Bombing of Darwin: Frontline Australia

Over the next few days I’ll be posting some pictures relevant to the 70th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin on 19 February 2012. The town is buzzing as many inter-staters are here to help commemorate an event which is only now being recognised nationally. My post about it is here. Considering how isolated Darwin is, and was, I think the comparison with Pearl Harbour is interesting.

Frontline Australia

This plaque is at the Bennett Street end of the Darwin mall and was erected for the 60th commemorations.

This plaque gives an overview of events and casualties.