Darwin – the capital of the Northern Territory

The first thing I saw after landing in Darwin was a huge Christmas tree. That caused a shock, honestly. It actually made me realise that another year is just around the corner. I don’t approve when Christmas trees are installed too early as it makes time go faster. Unfortunately, nobody asked me prior, so I had to deal with my shock.

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The second surprise waited for me just outside the airport. Hot humid air filled my lungs and I could not breathe for a second. When I left Melbourne, it was a chilly miserable morning. Four hours later I was the middle of the tropics near the Equator dying from heat and humidity.

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Certain types of plants absolutely love this weather. The bougainvillea grows like crazy here, while mine has been struggling for a few years in the garden back home.

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My hotel was right on Esplanade. Great area for walks, picnics and for kids to play. Small wells with Asian themes were strategically placed along the footpaths. How can I resist putting in a few coins in for luck?

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Darwin was attacked by Japanese forces in 1942. Almost three hundred people lost their lives. Since then citizens and the army built War Oil Tunnels and places to hide from air raids. Luckily, they never needed them. For a small fee tourists can visit those tunnels now.  The government installed this monument to remind us about the horrors of war.

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This is a real cannon, which faces the harbour. It has been sitting here since the 40’s.

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One more memorial to the army personnel who were involved in protecting Darwin.

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I found a few spots at the park where names of 200 influential people were written on tiles. And they were not politicians, celebrities, or businessmen. I am still to find out who they were and why they are considered important.

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Beautiful view of the harbour from the park. Many different vessels come to Darwin port. They could be cruise boats, Australian Navy, small private yachts or cargo ships as in the photo below.

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The beach in this area is tidal. Which means that only certain trees and bush can survive in these harsh conditions. At the moment of the photo it was a high tide and the trees are covered by water up to 1 metre. I could not see from the viewing platform, but I believe they are mangroves – the roots of these trees are curled up at 90 degrees instead of going all the way into the ground. Those strange roots deliver oxygen to the trees from the air. The area looks very strange at low tide – it’s like very-many fingers sticking up from the ground.

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Someone started a new trend with locks. Certainly it was influenced by the famous bridge in Paris, where lovebirds and newlyweds keep putting locks on the bridge and throwing the keys into the water. Recently there were many concerns about excessive weight and some panels were even removed, which caused a huge controversy. Whoever decided to attach this lock in Darwin probably could not afford a trip to France, so this place was second best. And look how the colours match. Lots of thought was behind this move.

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Darwin keeps growing all the time and a new estate Waterfront was recently established near the Harbour. Very trendy area with lots of coffee places, restaurants and cute little shops. Right in the middle of the plaza I found a few trees with strange artwork attached to the tree trunks.

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I have no idea what it is or what it represents. Curious, I asked two guys smoking nearby. They had a very strong opinion about how ugly those sculptures were, but no explanation of the origin or meaning.

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Since I am not very good with modern art, I prefer not to express my ignorant opinion.

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But on the main street I found metal artwork, which looked beautiful especially with street lights behind.

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And, of course, I found a church. It would be a wasted trip if I missed the opportunity to visit one.

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This is St Mary’s Cathedral, which I found on the small side street. Beautiful lead light windows.

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And more windows.

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One of these statues is the Wounded Angel. For many years it was standing near the Altar in the original wooden cathedral in Darwin. During World War 2, Darwin was attacked by Japanese air forces and many buildings were damaged, including the cathedral. This statue was hit by the shrapnel from the bomb. People decided to keep it as a reminder of the tragedy, which this city encountered during the war.

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Crucifixion of Christ. Very lonely on the huge empty wall.

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And here is Our Lady with a baby Christ. Looks a bit unusual, right? I believe this image was changed a bit. There are many aboriginal people living in the Northern Territory. When missionaries arrived here long time ago they brought Christianity. Surprisingly, Indigenous people can believe in Christ and Dreamtime stories, which teach about the creation process and spirituality.

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And this is a street art creation. I think its a great representation of the Australian and indigenous cultures going together.

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