Austin Healey Owners Club of Qld. Inc.

In and around Darwin

April 27th in Darwin

We went out to the Veteran Car Club which is located in a hangar from 1934 in the middle of Darwin. Lots of different cars and engines, tools and much more that have to do with motor transport of goods and people. The hangar was the original Qantas hangar at Darwin airport. The Veteran club were given the hangar. It is located in what is now a residential area. The club has also acquired a variety of machines and tools that have been used and or can be used for the renovation of cars and the like. Volunteers and club members renovate their own and shared vehicles.

Then we took a walk around Darwin's old port area which is an apartment house area with restaurants. During WWII Darwin was bombed by Japanese aircraft. There is a tunnel in the harbour area that was used as a shelter. Cecilia went into it and had a look with Neil and David R.

The 1934 Qantas Hangar in Darwin.
The 1934 Qantas Hangar in Darwin.

Old harbour - now apartments and parks. The Parliament building in NT.
Old harbour - now apartments and parks.
The Parliament building in NT.

After lunch, Raoul, Neil and David went south to a military aviation museum. Where there is, among other things, a B52 and an F111 fighter plane. A club with volunteers also runs this collection. Impressive! There are lots of artefacts in museums that are maintained and renovated by volunteers.

In the evening we went on an evening trip with a Lugger (Pearl fishing boat) for two hours. It was a BYO, so we brought our own wine and snacks. A very nice way to have a Sundowner indeed. We were eight from the group on the boat. Then we had dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant.

April 28th in Darwin

Today visited the Museum of Northern Territories. There is, among other things, an exhibition about the cyclone that hit Darwin at Christmas time in December 1974. It wiped out the entire city which at that time had a population of 48,000 inhabitants. At worst, the wind force was 200 km / h. Almost all children and women, as well as the elderly, were evacuated immediately because almost all homes had been broken. Darwin is a fairly new town since most buildings have been rebuilt from the mid and late 1970s.

There are also exhibitions about the animals in the area. A stuffed crocodile that met a tragic fate when it was to be caught to be moved to another area in order not to be close to people. The age was estimated to be between 50-80 years old.

An art exhibition called Moon and stars. Really nice paintings and some photographs and videos. A very enjoyable museum. Add no admission makes it cheap too. Then we went down to the shipyard area to visit the next museum, the Royal Flying Doctor's service. First we had lunch at the pier. Fish and chips of course!

The RFDS museum had two very interesting hologram movie screenings, partly about Pastor Flynn, who was the first to work actively to get the opportunity to fly a doctor in need in the outback, and also to fly a sick patient to hospital. The other was about a commander on a United States military ship who was in charge of the Catalina plane in the port of Darwin. He told his story how he survived the Japanese air attack in February 1942.

The 'Sweetheart'. Mindil Beach Market.
The 'Sweetheart'.
Mindil Beach Market.

They also had 3D glasses where you could follow the attack and experience being in the middle of everything. It felt a little scary actually. Cecilia got a little seasick by some scenes. Furthermore, you could read about the punishments it is to get sick in the outback. A real shiver!

Common to all the museums in Darwin is that they show what happened during the war. Above all, the first attack by Japanese aircraft on February 19, 1942. Another 60 times, Darwin was attacked by aircraft during the war, but the Japanese military never landed on Australia's mainland.

The cyclone Tracy 1974 is also described in the museums. There were 48,000 people living in Darwin before the cyclone hit Darwin. Almost all children and women, as well as the elderly, were evacuated immediately because most homes had broken. New buildings have much stronger frames. But there are a lot of villas that look like they will not be able to handle the next cyclone.

Ended the day by going to Mindil Beach Market. A market with everything from food to clothes and other things that you can carry. The market begins at 4 pm and is open until 9 pm. Sundowner with Neil and David R at the hotel.

Austin Healey Owners Club of Qld. Inc.
1376 Old Cleveland Road Carindale QLD 4152
Phone 0405 150 859
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