Darwin has always been a haven for desperados, chancers, carpet baggers and those trying to run away from the dark shadows of a previous life. I'll admit to being one of the latter when I turned up in mid-1984. From the long-lens-view of the populated south-east of the country, Darwin was an attractive bolt-hole, not least because it was about as far away as you could get from your southern ghosts. Not that there was any lack of opportunity for new troubles in the Top End.
Graeme Lewis was part éminence grise, part bagman and part trouble-maker—as often within as without—for the NT's Country Liberal Party for more than forty years. Lewis passed away in early April while speaking from the floor of the 2018 annual conference of his beloved CLP. For all his apparent successes and failings—I'll leave the hagiography and excoriation for others—Graeme Lewis never held publicly elected office but nonetheless deserves respect as the Northern Territory's long-term political player par excellence. Lewis was also a prominent player in the Darwin Shuffle, the avoidance scheme that operated in the NT from at least the early 1970s through to the 1980s.
There was once a beautiful brown-skinned Asian woman who long ago was raped by a group of Japanese fishermen out on East Point. She became deranged after this event and when she discovered that she was pregnant she hanged herself from a branch of a Poinciana tree near where she’d been assaulted. She has since become a wraith who stalks and kills men at night. She entices them by initially appearing as a beautiful, white-robed, long-haired young woman but then transforms into a hideous wild-haired eagle-clawed hag just before she eviscerates her victims and feeds on their still-steaming guts.
The Darwin Festival has failed local visual artists. Spending money on a roving class of interstate creatives and acts is capital that gets drained out of the local culture making economy. There is no substantial quota for local engagement, there is no compulsion that local creatives get engaged and employed. The current festival model fails to connect with and engage the local culture makers. Even the influx of DF production crew in August are like carnies - here for the month then off again to fleece another community with their generic arts festival business model.
The Kenbi land claim survived. But it would face more challenges from CLP governments until a newly-elected Labor government decided in 2001 to call a halt to legal shenanigans and accept the December 2000 recommendations of Aboriginal Land Commissioner Peter Gray.
In the Northern Territory in 1973 there was an organisation called The Environment Council of the Northern Territory. It was a forum for discussion among organisations with an interest in ecology and nature conservation matters. Member bodies included the Chamber of Commerce and the National Trust as well as the Darwin Conservation Society. Membership was not open to individuals. Secretariat services were provided to the Council by the Keep Australia Beautiful Council, which had a paid Executive Officer and an office in the Town Hall.
Aww, fucking blowouts. Blowouts are fucking hairy, getting pushed off the road almost into a bloody table drain by a bloody road-train. They were some hairy experiences you know. Fortunately I had a good bull-bar and good brakes and wasn’t travelling all that fast and those really, really terrible diversions whilst they were building the new road [the Buntine Highway.]