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.

In Memory of the Mariners and Wharfies who died in the Bombing of Darwin.

There are new memorials on Stokes Hill Wharf today preparatory to tomorrow’s celebrations. I’d like to share them with you today in memory of the Bombing and the death of non-combatants.

The new memorial at Stokes Hill Wharf.

 

The list of dead.

I like the symbolism of the new bombing mural contrasted with the modern skyline of Darwin…undefeated and resilient. Another new memorial in Darwin.

The mariners' mural erected by the Darwin Port Authority: Art Director Barry Shackleton and illustrator Alex Lehours.

Super cool and stylish cars

While at the Wharf yesterday we saw these beautiful cars. I “know” the old rounded one is an FJ Holden (c1950s) and it certainly looks smart. No idea what the second one was with the open-engine look but at first view it brought to mind Phryne Fisher from Kerry Greenwood’s books and the soon-to-TV mysteries. I can just see her in a car as stylish as this one.

A car worthy of Phryne Fisher (sorry about the horizon line).