Darwin: the best-kept secret.

  The rains came down last night, a welcome relief from the humid Build-up. This season has its own beauties: Mangoes falling from trees, flowers bursting into colour, clouds swelling, tinged violet in the setting sun. Every season in the Top End has its distinct beauty: the clear blue skies and cool nights of the Dry, heralded in early May by […]

Read More →

Writerly Darwin

              Did you know that Darwin is a Mecca for writers, artists, and all souls creative? In my three months in the Top End, I have been published in the NT Writers Anthology, been shortlisted for a literary prize, participated in a left-of-centre Writers’ Group called ‘Write Now’, been invited to Government House for […]

Read More →

Darwin in the BuildUp

We stepped off the plane on Boxing Day into what felt like a sauna, turned up to the max. In an instant our clothes were soaking wet, our mouths dry. The short walk to our waiting car took our breath away. ‘The Wet’s late this year,’ said my lovely daughter, a Darwinite for the last twenty years, ‘so it’s still […]

Read More →

Darwin Mon Amour

We were greeted this Dry season by a lively green frog jumping out of the toilet bowl. Forget your city ways, it croaked, you’re living with Nature in the Top End. I was not inclined to agree until said frog had been safely deposited outside, where it glared at us from the arm of a chair while we ate our […]

Read More →

Until We Are All Free

My 13-yr-old granddaughter, Zoë, on Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers: My name is Zoë Davis. I live in a comfortable home with a room all to myself. I go to school, have three large meals a day, have a hot shower whenever I want, and have a family who love and support me. I live in a city where I […]

Read More →

Au Revoir Darwin

Au Revoir Darwin 2013 Three more days. I want to embrace this place, to squeeze the last moments of joy from this my second home. Today we’ll visit the markets, for the jostle of colours, the smells of sizzling spicy food and the taste of my favourite mango lime juice, its stringent iciness going straight to my brain. Then to […]

Read More →

Darwin in the Wet

DARWIN, NT, FEBRUARY 2014 Here in February the air is heavy with moisture, sweat, and an all-encompassing blanket of sticky heat. There’s that special Darwin smell, a mixture of wet earth, tropical air, and the ubiquitous spices of lemongrass, curry leaves, cumin and chile. We could be somewhere in south-east Asia. “Fecund” is the word to describe Darwin in the Wet. […]

Read More →

Darwin in the Dry

DARWIN, JULY, 2013. Clear blue skies, balmy days, cool nights. Temperature in Darwin today 29deg top, 16 low. Cool for Darwin. Locals are shivering. Out come the doonas,  bed socks,flannelette sheets. It’s not  uncommon to see hoodies and fleecies being worn, when the temperature is in the low thirties. In the dry, the breeze off the Arafura Sea is cool and refreshing. Gone is the stillness, stickiness, and heaviness of the humid build-up. The rains of the Wet have dried up, leaving almost empty water-holes and a sky so blue and clear it’s like a child’s painting.   Another name for the Dry is the ironically named Mother-In-Law Season. Granny flats are suddenly occupied by families who’ve driven or flown the 4000 kms to be with their loved ones. Grey nomads in their vans and motorhomes invade the caravan parks, and NSW, Victoria, and Queensland number plates fill the streets. The letters page of the NT News abounds with snide suggestions such as ‘Southerners Go Home’ while the front page inevitably bears an image of the latest crocodile scare. We from Down South are greeted in a friendly fashion with ‘Must be the Dry; you’re here again.’ I hasten to defend myself, assuring Darwinites that I’ve been here in  the Wet, the Build-up, and the Knock-Em Down seasons, as well as the Dry. Admittedly it’s supremely satisfying to be revelling in warm sunny days while those at home are freezing. […]

Read More →

Au Revoir Darwin

Au Revoir Darwin 2013 Three more days. I want to embrace this place, to squeeze the last moments of joy from this my second home. Today we’ll visit the markets, for the jostle of colours, the smells of sizzling spicy food and the taste of my favourite mango lime juice, its stringent iciness going straight to my brain. Then to an Open Garden, once again to witness the wonders worked in an oasis of tropical plants and swaying palms. Later we will go to hear the Gyoto Monks from Tibet perform their amazing chants, deep guttural sounds that vibrate in the soul. Tomorrow at 4 o’clock, come and witness the ritual of the mandala, an intricate sand sculpture which has taken the monks ten days to create, being swept away into the sea. Darwin, my Lotus land, has been my second home for close to fifteen years. I will take back the deep warmth that soothes my body, the memory of the clear bright light, and the startling brightness of the stars at night. I leave it this time only on the assurance that I will be back, perhaps sooner than anyone thinks. I leave behind my children and grandchildren to continue their full lives, knowing we are closer after each visit. As well, I leave behind some dear friends, both new and old, not least of who are the members of our Writing Life group. Yesterday four of us met […]

Read More →