Weekly Photo Challenge: Lost in the Details

3 03 2013

Find a subject and work into it a bit more – get lost in the details.  This is a fantastic sculpture at a local primary school in Darwin.  It is a giant fish (Barramundi) and is completed with mosaics.  I stopped and took some pics of this Giant Barra’ and was captured by the detail.

The Barramundi is found in Northern Australian waters is highly prized.  Virtually each fish is born male and then becomes female some three to four years later!

Join in the Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post.

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Darwin community markets

21 02 2013

Since moving to Darwin in the Northern Territory, we’ve enjoyed sampling the various wares at the local weekend markets.  The food stalls offer a fantastic variety of fresh specialty dishes from from Vietnam, Thailand, France, Japan, China, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Malaysia and more.  We’re slowly working our way through the Laksa, curries, vege noodles, rice paper rolls, broth and soup combinations, tofu and dim sum.  It is quite a treat and as we’re in a new place it is even easier to try different and ‘new’ things that we would have usually passed by.

The markets also have a range of fresh vegetables and fruit with a particularly tropical and south-east asian influence.  Tropical fruits and iced tropical fruit smoothies are popular and prolific in the heat, as are the fresh greens for a quick home-made stir fry.

I love the laid back atmosphere at the markets.  It has a really friendly and vibrant feel with so many cultures represented.   People are out and about, starting their weekend with some homegrown music and a wander through the spicy stalls, all buzzing with patrons patiently waiting (sometimes in the rain).  Mindil Beach Markets (in the Dry) offer a fantastic spot to sit and watch the sunset.  The rain doesn’t keep anyone away though, with the Parap Markets on every weekend even during The Wet.  Saturday is not Saturday any more without a Laksa!!!





19 February 1942 – War in Australia

17 02 2013

The Bombing of Darwin, 1942.

As a new resident in Darwin, I’m learning about this important day in Australia’s history and I’m disappointed to realised that is was not part of my school curriculum.  I grew up with a basic and brief understanding of World War II in the context of Europe and the Pacific war, but didn’t know that Australia had been bombed over and over and over again.  Here’s what I’ve found so far.  I must say, it makes really fascinating reading and coupled with visiting the remaining sites around town, is quite humbling.

Commemorating the Bombing of Darwin.  Cenotaph on the Esplanade.

Commemorating the Bombing of Darwin. Cenotaph on the Esplanade.

Under the command of Captain Misuo Fuchida, Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour USA on 7 December 1942.  The task force was led by Vice-Admiral Nagumo Chuichi.  Once the damage had been done, he ordered Captain Fuchida to turn his aircraft carriers towards Australia. A week later, there was an order to evacuate Darwin as the Japanese campaign advanced through South East Asia and cut off the sea lanes to Australia. Over the next month, Japan advanced on Malaya and the Dutch East Indies.The British stronghold at Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15th of February. With all eligible Australian men deployed to Europe to fight the World War, Australia was under grave threat and only military personnel and civilians who provided essential services (Police, Post Office, Telegraphy, Communications, Nurses) stayed to man their Darwin posts. An invasion was anticipated at any moment which would mean a bloody struggle fought on Australian soil, city by city, village by village.  It must have been horrendous.

Legacy

Four days after Singapore fell,  on the morning of 19th of February 1942, Misuo Fuchida stationed his four air-craft carriers in the Arafura Sea, fresh from the devasation at Pearl Harbour.  They each carried 27 fighter planes and 54 bombers and launched, one by one. A radio report came through from Bathurst Island, just north of Darwin. Father John McGrath, a missionary on Bathurst Island 70km north of Darwin, reported “An unusually large air formation bearing down on us from the NorthWest.Identity suspect, visibility not clear”.  Ten US KittyHawk aircraft had left Darwin to fly over Timor and were due to return that morning, so the warning was ignored.  Everyone assumed it was the US pilots in formation. It was just before 10am.  There was hardly any time to sound a warning. People in Darwin initially thought the Americans had sent help – more planes ready to defend Darwin!!  188 planes were in the sky and the bombs began to drop.

Japanese "Zero" fragment.  Australian Aviation Heritage Museum: Darwin. NT.

Japanese “Zero” fragment. Australian Aviation Heritage Museum: Darwin. NT.

The Darwin Port was crammed with 45 naval vessels, merchant navy ships, American destroyers and Australian vessels.The port was destroyed, 20 military planes were destroyed, 14 ships damaged, 8 ships sunk, hundreds killed and injured. Oil spilled into the harbour and set the water on fire.  There was no escape.  Gwenda Hansen worked as a secretary at the Qantas Airways Office when the first bomb fell.  “We dashed out of our glass fronted office to go to ground”, she said. Ground was the nearest gutter.“We saw a bomb hit the lovely old sandstone post office.  During a lull we set out to run there to see if we could help anyone, but the planes came over again and we dived flat in the nearest paddock”.

Kitty-Hawk - strafed.  Australian Aviation Heritage Museum. Darwin NT.

Kitty-Hawk – strafed. Australian Aviation Heritage Museum. Darwin NT.

Darwin’s Parliament House now stands on the site of the old Post Office where nine civilians lost their lives as their slit trench took a direct hit.Over the course of half an hour, 71 medium bombers, 81 dive bombers and 36 fighters decimated Darwin – the harbour, airfield, communications centre and major facilities.All but one of the returning KittyHawks was shot down.

The raid lasted just over half an hour.

An hour later, the Japanese returned again, another raid of destruction.

There was another 63 bombing raids on Australia over the next two years.

Unknown civilian loss - 19 Feb 1942 - Adelaide River War Cemetery. NT.

Unknown civilian loss – 19 Feb 1942 – Adelaide River War Cemetery. NT.

Lest we Forget.

References for this blog post:
Japan on the Doorstep
Federation Frontline: A secondary school resource
The National Archives of Australia – the Bombing of Darwin
The Battle for Australia
The Bombing of Darwin





Look with your eyes open

11 02 2013
At the end of the day - sunset at East Point Reserve: Darwin. Northern Territory.

At the end of the day – sunset at East Point Reserve: Darwin. Northern Territory.

Many of us have made our world so familiar that we do not see it anymore.  An interesting question to ask yourself at night is, “What did I really see this day?”

John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom





Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

9 02 2013

I’ve never really felt ‘at home’.  I’ve lived in lots of houses and spent most of my life living in one city but rarely felt ‘at home’ in a place. I wonder what it is like to feel at home somewhere?  Is it tied to a place?  A person? A feeling?  I’m not sure.

This challenge comes at a very interesting time for me.  I’ve just moved house, city and state, changed jobs and moved from the south west of Australia to the Central North coast, in the tropics.  It’s vastly different.  I’m homesick, but it’s not for a place.  I just have sense of yearning, longing for some connection, to feel whole, to feel full, to belong, to feel content but not bored.  As I don’t have a ‘place’ that feels like home, I went through my photos to find some images that made me feel whole.  These images remind me of a time that I felt the most alive, the most settled, clear, and connected with my core. Maybe that’s what it’s like to feel at home?   In the process I’ve realised that I feel most at home when I’m out in nature.  Whether it is hot or cold, I feel most ‘at home’ when I’m away from the bustle of a city and connected to the earth.  I love to feel its rhythm and voice, the raw elements of earth, air and water.  Rocks, trees, flowers and creatures complete the picture.  I am at home in the quiet, natural rhythm of the earth.

For more about the Weekly Photo Challenge, check out The Daily Post.





Same place, different day

29 01 2013

I’m in a new space, literally and figuratively.  I have a new job in a different city, a new workplace and office and I’m making a new routine.  I take time out each day to step away from my desk, go outside and breathe in some fresh air.  It’s an important part of my day.

As a newcomer to the Territory, I marvel at my new surroundings even though blank faces stare back at me – over time the familiar has become invisible.  I decided to take a photo at the same time each day as a reminder that every day is precious and different and offers us a new beginning.

Here is a slideshow from my first fortnight at work – ten photos from the same spot at the same time each day (2pm).

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