Darwin Museum

Aboriginal art on car panels
(Click on the image above to see images of our wander through the Darwin Museum)

A visit to the Northern Territory museum is a certainly on the must do list when coming to Darwin. On entering the museum, the first thing I noticed was an array of vehicle panels that had been decorated with aboriginal art.  It was an extremently different art form to anything I had seen before and looked quite amazing.  The colours were spectacular.

Now I'm not a big museum or art gallery type person. I tend to wander through and pay close attention to anything that interests me but otherwise I will pass it by.

One thing that did catch my eye was a quote by Banjo Paterson which said "Some day it might be civilized and spoilt, but up to the present it has triumphantly overthrown all who have tried to improve. It is still the Territory." That quote was made by Banjo Paterson in 1898.  As a person who's been pretty interested in bush verse I was quite surprised to see Banjo Paterson talking about the territory.  I was unaware he had been here and will be following up on that story.

The next section I found of interest was about the impact of the First World War on the Territory. Apparently the governmetn was fearful of a mass exodus of essential labour from the Top End and didn't set up an enlistment post in Darwin.  There was a very interesting story there about John Fayhey who rode his bicycle from Darwin to Adelaide to enlist. Leslie Spicer walked almost 500 km to the railhead Oodnadatta to travel to Adelaide.  

Albert Borella travelled by foot, horse and wagon trying to reach Darwin before sailing to Townsville to enlist. Borella was born in Borung near Wedderburn in Victoria. So, this is an aspect to his life I certainly was not aware of and I imagine a lot of people in Wedderburn aren't aware of it either. Borella was a Victoria Cross recipient in the First World War and his statue is in the Soldiers Memorial Park at Wedderburn.  I will be interested to find out more about this man now.

Downstairs in a large area of the museum there are a number of boats stored there. Some are original boats from Indonesia that would of fished in the area, some illegally in latter years. There is also a boat that was captured with early refugees trying to enter Australia.  Another interesting old boat in the photographs in this post is one that almost looks like the depictions of Noah's Ark.

The next item of interest that I came across was about Sweetheart who was a large saltwater crocodile. He was 5.1 m in length and caught at Sweets Lookout Billabong which is about 55 km south of Darwin. Apparently he was very aggressive and it took them quite a number of years to catch him. He wasn't caught until 1979. It just shows you the size these crocodiles can get up to up in this neck of the woods.

Next display we visited was art from the Tiwi Islands area.  There was this amazing little truck there made up from woven rope.

The museum changes its displays regularly so there is always something new to see.  I should also mention that admission is free.

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