It’s been 30 years since we were last here. Yet there’s one thing I like about Darwin. It hasn’t changed!
Sure the population has near doubled to over hundred and thirty thousand. There’s new roads. More houses. More industry. More businesses. More shops. More trees. I had to use Google maps on my mobile to find the place we lived for three years. Thirty years ago here, I brought home the very first mobile phone. Remember those? It was the size of half a suit case back then. I did think I was pretty cool. I’d drive up to the front gate, then ring the home phone to get the kids to open the gate!
That was not the only cool thing I did up here. I bought a ride on mower. Not that I really needed one. The lawns weren’t really that big. But the really fun thing was driving the mower around the house towing the kids behind in the dinghy. Some would argue it was a mild case of going troppo. But the fun didn’t stop there. We’d enter this little beast in the nearby annual Humpty Doo ride on mower races. We weren’t the fastest but we did pretty good in the ride on mower egg and spoon races!
I’m not sure if they still have these races here. But its that sense you still feel about the place. The character of the place hasn’t changed. Even Mindil Beach Markets, the iconic soul of Darwin I reckon hasn’t changed a bit.
And why should it change. Sure the infrastructure of the city has developed. But why should the character, the soul of a city change. Cities are like people. We typically want it to be something it’s not. Take Adelaide. It’s always looked to it’s big sisters Sydney and Melbourne and wanted to be like them. Why? It has its only unique soul. Why change it. We were talking to Gayle and Pat at the markets who were on a trip up from Melbourne. I said how I love the vibe of the Melbourne city. Their immediate response was yes, but they don’t have the bridge! Ah yes, the good ol’ Sydney/ Melbourne rivalry.
There’s another unique feature of Darwin that hasn’t changed. The question people always ask each other when they first meet. How long you been here and where you from. So it’s still very much a transient town. Even to the born and bred locals they say you still don’t get used to the build up to the wet. They’re convinced it’s getting hotter each year.
There’s a real cruel irony living here though. You have just what you need in a tropical climate. Lots of water and beaches. There’s one problem. You can’t use it. Unless you risk being taken out by a crocodile. Or if you manage to escape them, there’s still the risk of being stung by box jelly fish.
It may get uncomfortably hot and humid and all you can do is just look at the beaches, but it doesn’t stop this part of world attracting a growing number of people who seek a casual easy going place to live. Perhaps there’s good reason the locals describe the meaning of NT: Not Today. Not Tomorrow. Not Tuesday. Not Thursday. Maybe Friday. I think that says it all!