Were You in Darwin When?

by John
(Darwin River)

Were you a student at Darwin Primary School at Frog's Hollow in 1956 or 57 when the steam engine was placed in the playground to play on? Do you remember Quong's Bakery and the DX Bakery? How about the remains of the Vesty's Meat Works? Did you ever watch a western at the Star Theatre on a Wednesday night? Ever try the fish and chips bought through a small window in the Vic Hotel courtyard? Do you remember seeing the wreck of the Neptuna on low tide on it's side near Stokes Hill wharf? Who saw the chimp from the Tarzan films do back flips on the deck of the yacht Sea Fox?


Dairy Queen arrived and changed the eating habits of a generation. Two shops, a small one in Smith Street and a milk bar at Parap. What a treat, chocolate coated soft serve ice cream. Also at Parap were Terry's Buther Shop and a great fish and chip shop. Some of the other shops in Darwin were W.G. Chin & Sons, Tang's, Sue Wah Chin, Chans, Lilian Dean Photos, Ah Toy's, Martin's Newsagency, Jolly's, Charlie Onn's, Gees Supermarket, Cashman's, Izod Motors, Johnson Motors and Fannie Bay Car Sales.

They were the days when the NT News was delivered by paper boy. 8 pence for a paper; 6 pence for the NT News and tuppence and any tips for the paper boy. Each year the NT News sent all their regular paper boys a Christmas bonus. A crisp new 10 shilling note.

Cyclone Tracy blew the old Darwin away. The new one is bigger, brighter and modern. But is it better? Change is inevitable and a lot of the change is for the better. After 60 years in Darwin it is nice to sit back and remember earlier days when life was lived at a slower pace.

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Mandorah
by: Anonymous

Looking for any information of Mandorah. And if anyone has info of Angelo Maddalozzo.

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Jim & Phyl Watts
by: Anonymous

Thank you for that information much appreciated. I'm extremely sad to hear about Phil & Kay i had many happy times in their company.
Take care
Mac

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Jim and Phyl Watts
by: Anonymous

I knew Jim and Phyl Watts very well. They were very good friends of my parents, I knew them as Auntie Phyl and Uncle Jim - we visited them regularly when they lived at Berrimah and later in the Masonic retirement home in Parap. Kay, their daughter, married a RAAF chap and became Kay Noble. She was killed in a horrific motor accident on the Stuart Highway when she was quite young. Jim & Phyl were caretakers of the Gardens Golf Course for many years. After Cyclone Tracy Phyl was diagnosed with a brain tumour and never recovered from surgery. Jim returned to England to be with his son (Alan I think) and lived out his old age there.

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Save Frog Hollow
by: Sharon

What a pity that the NT Government plans to destroy a piece of Darwin history by building a four-lane road Barneson Boulevard straight through the middle of Frog Hollow arts precinct, completely separating the Frog Hollow green parkland from the old primary school buildings.
Not many people know about this, so we've set up a facebook group called Stop Barneson Boulevard at Frog Hollow. Take a look and join the fight to save the amenity of this piece of Darwin history.

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Darwin 1956-1958¥
by: Sandra

Lived in Darwin when i was a kid for a couple of years, in i think Lindsay st opposite frog hollow. Yes to salty plums, and mangoes

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Were You in Darwin When?
by: Stewart (Gold Coast)

Hi John, I was there and your report describes exactly what Darwin was like. We probably knew each other at the time. I remember lining up along Smith St for the first ice creams (which were free). I still like powdered milk and salty plums.

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Where exactly was this 'Railway Hill' area.
by: Daniel Pattiselanno

Were You In Darwin When? Nope... I wasn't, didn't get here until December 1982.
Where exactly was this 'Railway Hill' area. :)

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Missing friends
by: Ian (Mac) Mcilroy

Can any one recall Jim & Phylis Watts and their daughter Kay they lived in Berrimah i met them in 1956 while serving with the RAF stationed at RAAF Darwin.

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Facebook pages
by: Michelle Toft

Loved reading these comments, just for anyone's information there are a couple of pages on Facebook along with some great photos. Old Darwin and Darwin History. If anyone wold be interested.

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1953-1971
by: Margaret

I remember Cashmans - Darwins equivalent of a department store; the leprosarium at East Arm where my father worked down past Berrimah. The road there was very narrow- there was a caretakers house along the way who monitored people coming and going. We used to occasionally watch movies there that my father arranged for the patients. It was a real little community with a hospital and a convent. I'm assuming the Nuns were both teachers and nurses.
I remember the Darwin show held at Winnelli - hot and dusty! I remember the airport when you entered it off the Stuart Highway. It was just a tin shed in those days. I remember Howard and Berry Springs when there was no development at all on the way there. The road to Berry Springs was just a dirt road and there was nothing there but the swimming holes. It was very popular on the weekends.
I went to St Mary's school in town and did my last year of schooling at Darwin High.
My parents first lived at Berrimah on a banana farm that didn't work out, then lived briefly in Parap, then we lived in Wells street most of my young life before moving to Ludmilla when it was a brand new suburb. My brother worked at the service station on the corner of Wells street and Bagot road for a while. I worked at Woolies in town for a while also.
Have been back to Darwin a few times since we left over a period of 40 + years. I can still find my way around the Darwin I knew all those years ago.
I went to school with Chrissie Anthony whose parents owned Anthony's store which was near the dentist where I had my braces put on.
I still eat salty plums, sweet plums and love red ginger. Much easier to buy these days if you no longer live in Darwin with the Asian food shops about.
My family left Darwin at the end of 1970 and moved to the central coast of NSW.
I can remember eating tamarind off the trees at Fannie Bay also!
I'm loving reading all these memories - I might even come across someone I know eventually 😊

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Me growing up in Darwin
by: Ray

I was born in Darwin at the Old Darwin Hospital, I remember my first house in Police Paddock and later moved to Parap Camp in Laurie St. I learnt to play football at Parap Camp and played for Buffaloes at the then Town Oval, where the Cenotaph is now located. In 1953 I started my schooling at Darwin Infant School Frog Hollow, Ms Cameron was the Principal and used to look forward the annual school Fetes a real family affair in those days.
I then went to old Darwin Primary, Parap Primary and Darwin High Schools between Woods and Cavanagh Streets. We would go to Sue Wah Chin at lunch time to buy Football, Sweet & Salty Plums also Red Ginger and Sun Cheong Loong. I was a paper boy back then and used to make good tips a couple of us worked the area in front of the Vic Hotel. Ranch Nights on Wednesday was packed as we got 2 movies in those days. Interval was a well worn track to the Vic Hotel for the best beef sartees, also GI (Green Drink) from WG-Chin or milk shakes from Fotiadis Milk Bar next to the Star. Then came Mrs. Ross and her famous Fish & Chip & B-B-Q Chicken Shop in the middle of Smith Street, (Centenary B-B-Q) best in Darwin at the time and still the best and Dairy Queen, great days. great pies from DX-Bakery top of Cavanagh St, and Quongs Bakery corner of Smith St West and Beagle St. I started work at the PMG and bought my first car from Johnston Motors, EH-179 Holden.

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Ronald Neville Smith and Ettie Smith
by: Michelle

I am after anyone who knew Ronald (known as Neville) and Ettie. Neville worked as a Airman at the RAAF Darwin 1958. If you know them could you please email me chellec80@gmail.com thank you 😊

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1953-1970
by: Margaret

I went to school with Christie Anthony and frequented Phitzners music shop regularly as I was learning the piano. Wish there were more comments from people who went to St Mary's school in Cavanagh Street! Amazed that so many of you mention salty plums and red ginger! I still eat them. The best were always from the Chinese shop in town... I feel sadness that the old Darwin s no longer there😞

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As a pomme
by: Ian (Mac) Mcilroy

Ex RAF air electrician based at RAAF Darwin 1956 - 58 some of the shop's i remember were the fish & chip shop did the most delious Barramundi and chips. The Coolabar a toasted egg & stek sandwich to die for. And Ernie Wonson's radio shop one our guy's Cyril Wall worked for him and settled in Oz when the rest of us returned home to blighty.

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Good times
by: peter daniel

REMEMBER Mr Smith from nightcliff school.He had a baby kangaroo called Joey in grade 3.Used to swimm at nightcliff beach ,cement gun pillars have gone.Play in cave ,all gone now just a bridge over river.
Left Darwin went Pine Ck met Billy Feeney,Gail Atkinson and Yalonda.Riding horses no saddle or bridle picking tamerons of Billy,s tree.Swimming in dam near town catching wild horses.Having toast at school and milk.What ever became of Queeny a tall aborigine girl. Are Toys shut.I lived at service station my dad built it for Norm Fisher.They are all l can remember my good friends,we had a good time.I wonder what happened to the baby foal Tommy Atkitson got for Gail and Yalondaand the old grey horse that got around town .044729990

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1970-1973 ish
by: Ken

We were from S.A. my Dad used to truck fruit and Veg.to Darwin and sell it off the truck on Bagot road, I think in those days it was the only citrus fruit you could buy there. We lived in Nightcliff for a while before moving to Wagaman on Tasman Ct.
I went to Nightcliff primary school, My brother worked for a Ford dealership and dad eventually worked out the back of Howard springs dredging sand. Have very fond memories of Darwin as a kid,we seemed like we were never home always at someones house, I guess the parties never ended then, And if only I still had the recipe mum was given years ago for the sartee's, everyone used to make them and you could get them in most cafe/fish and chip shops. We left around 73 ish i think, and I haven't been back, but plan to when I get the time.
I can only imagine what it would have been like as a adult.
Ken

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Railway Hill and Parap
by: Jackie Miller

My husband Peter and self arrived Darwin in 1969 he worked in railways offices and I Was a depositions clerk in magistrates court. We lived on railway hill on the cliff near the Iles and then moved to new house in Drysdale st in Parap in 197I. I remember the Withnall's (Solicitors) from court sessions, John Flynn and Sylvester Michael Murphy clerk of court, and the friday trips across the road to the Vic hotel which we would all watch from our upstairs office window hehe.
Peter played basketball, baseball and football for Waratah's club, until Cyclone Tracy after which we were evacuated to S.A. I do remember the Victorian football teams training in Darwin during the wet season and the mad parties after.
Had two girls in old Darwin hospital.
Good memories

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1956-58
by: Barrie R

I fortunately stumbled across this website which includes so much information on Darwin, particularly the link "Were you in Darwin When? " What memory-blasting joy it was to read all the comments by people who had once lived or still live in Darwin.
I feel I have to now add my bit to help me bring to mind the memorable and emotive two years I spent there – from mid-1956 to mid-1958.
I was transferred to Darwin from country S.A. in 1956, a very green 17-year-old, to work for a set two-year period for one of the newer banks there. The bank was on Smith Street in premises beside a lane shared by the business E.G. Haritos and on the other side of the bank was a fruiterer. We had our own staff bank house on stilts in Smith Street two doors away from Quong’s Bakery between Daly Street and Lambell Terrace (where the hospital was situated) and I ‘batched’ with 4 other fellow bank officers for the two years.
The first few months were a shock to the system – it really was a frontier town in those days; we didn’t have air conditioning either at work or in our quarters and all of us had to work and live together which entailed preparing meals, washing, ironing, cleaning etc. Whilst there, at the age of 18 years I learned, unfortunately, to drink and smoke to keep up with the ‘mob’
Thankfully I joined a 4-piece dance band (I was on piano) and we used to play at many Darwin venues e.g. the Darwin Club on Mitchell Street, Parap Hotel (lovely palm-fringed outdoor dance floor), Buff’s Club, Darwin Hospital nurses’ quarters, the Darwin Golf Club, the Seabreeze hotel at Nightcliffe (oh, those balmy, romantic nights under the stars) and many of our engagements were at the Sergeants’ Mess at the RAAF base. The latter were particularly laid-back affairs with many drinks being consumed by us and the revelers! I also played the piano a few nights a week at the Darwin Hotel (Mr & Mrs Mick Paspalis being the owners); one memorable night being when actors Robert Cummings and Irene Dunne stayed overnight at the hotel.
I also became involved in the local amateur drama group and performed in two plays, An Inspector Calls in one of the tin huts known as ‘Belsen’ in Cavenagh Street, the other being Full House in the then recently completed Community Hall/Theatre in Mitchell Street.
Other names and places come flooding to mind e.g. the Rendezvous Café (I can’t remember in which street), the very basic Chinese restaurant in Cavenagh Street, the mainly open-air Star Theatre (saw the Australian film Jeddah there plus some of the first movies to come out in Cinemascope e.g. Three Coins in the Fountain), the Nepuna wreck next to the Stokes Hill wharf, the three banks on the corner of Smith & Bennett Streets: Commonwealth, Commercial & the Bank of N.S.W., the Lameroo baths off the Esplanade, the Darwin oval nearby, the very popular Vic Hotel (we bank boys would only drink VB, never W.A. Swan beer), the Don Hotel which we never visited, Coleman’s shop in Mitchell Street near our quarters and Johnson Motors where I ordered my first car, a 1958 Holden Sedan.
Other memories include lying on Mindil beach (no swimming in the wet season), putting up with ‘prickly heat’, watching the Waratahs etc. playing football on the Gardens Oval, occasional trips down ‘the track’ to Adelaide River (to see a friend’s war grave), Katherine and Berri Springs, suffering terrible sunburn from being on the back of a ute. We made a number of visits to the airport in 1956 as our bank conducted a foreign currency conversion agency there for overseas athletes etc. transiting on their way to the Olympic Games in Melbourne in that year.
Overall, the good times outweighed the bad and I have made a few visits there since, but it certainly doesn’t hold the same magic for me anymore.


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1956 - 1958
by: Ian Mcilroy

Further to my earlier comment if any one has any information on the Watts family ie. Jim, Phylis and their daughter Kay it would be much appreciated.

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School days
by: David Tiley

Thanks John, I remember the fishing too. Good to put a name to a teacher who I just remember as a cloud of exotic excitement. I bet you are right about the explorer, dragged in to amuse the kids. In the same area of the school I remember us chanting and making fart noises with our sweaty armpits in unison.

I can still sing the song, but I won't. Walking through the jungle with a belly ache, looking for a toilet, whoops too late..

Weird what you remember nearly sixty years later. The Christian missionaries stick in my mind too. They came to Parap Primary and gave us tiny bibles..

And playing softball. Me supposed to be fielding and just looking up at the sky, entranced with those lines of high solid clouds rolling in procession across the town.

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1956 - 1958
by: Ian Mcilroy

I was a member of 542 squadron RAF based at Darwin.
Became a member of the Darwin Musical Comedy Society taking part in 3 show's "Me and my gal, Rebel maid & HMS Pinafore.
I enjoyed my 2 year's in Darwin in fact probably the best 2 year's of my life. I met a family called Watts who took me under their wing's they lived in Berimah unfortunately lost track of them.

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David Tiley
by: John

Remember you well. Fishing down the wharf with you and one of your friends, who I think was visiting from the UK. It was raining and I don't think we caught anything. That was normal.
The teacher who talked about 'The Apple Isle' was in grade 4. Miss Newman. My memory is usually better than pretty good, but I don't remember an Antarctic explorer visiting the school. I wonder if it was Mr Fuller who lived in Darwin and did 2 seasons in the Antarctic

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Seabreeze Hotel
by: Errol Robertson

Between 1960 and 1968 , not sure now of exact dates, I had a part time job as a waiter in the Seabreeze hotel at Nightcliff They were the days when waiter service was provided in the beer garden, White shirt ,black bow tie and black trousers.Every weekend evening the place was packed and the beer garden was the place to go.
I remember the receptionist was a very attractive girl by the name of Shirley Messer. She did a wonderful job of organizing things. Later, she worked at a Hotel on the Esplanade. Cant remember which one.Does anybody know whether she is still in Darwin? Most probably with a married name now. I love reading all the posts. They were the best days of my life in Darwin.

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Oh boy, memories
by: David Tiley

We arrived not long out from the UK via Perth off the Macrobertson Miller DC3 in 1957, and set up house with our ceiling fans and shiny wooden floors in Goldsmith Street in Parap.

I was in Grade 2 in Darwin Primary, and remember the train as well. I wonder if anyone else can picture the day the Antarctic Explorer came to give a lecture? His prize exhibit was his trusty assistant dressed in huge amounts of fur who sweated dreadfully in the blazing sun.

I used to amuse myself watching the kite hawks rummaging through the dustbin outside, which was much more fun than lessons.

Then I went to Parap Primary for Grade 3, with a young woman teacher whose name I can't remember but who used to charm us with exotic stories of cool climates and the Apple Isle.

I do have one dreadful memory of that time, which might jog other people. We were all lined up in a really solemn special assembly when the headmaster cried and told us that the Grade Four teacher Mr Cox shot himself with his revolver in the Commonwealth Men's Quarters the night before.

A bit later for some unknown reason my parents shifted to Gardens Hill Road above the Botanic Gardens and opposite the ice works. That was a true Darwin house with no glass but shutters and mosquito netting, which my mother once got tangled in when she went to pieces over the giant moths flitting round the room. Over the back fence we had a ruined steam train full of holes probably created by the Japanese.

I stayed at Parap Primary and used to catch the school bus, until I took to riding my bicycle crazily up the road as fast as possible instead. In the Wet the dirt roads behind the ice works turned into a mudslide with this greenish dust which came from flattened kero tins, which got on my shirt and set solid like a wooden board. Up there somewhere was a sump full of water where we used to swim despite the abandoned bicycles and stuff under the water.

I remember the wharf and the fishing and the groper we believed lived in the Neptunia. And the Japanese taking it away when they finally cleared the wrecks out of the harbour, to our disappointment. That wharf was a fine place at night in the warm air like cat fur, with lanterns and fishing families and the low murmur of voices. My dad belted a man who hit our dog Bisto with his car, though the animal was saved because he was rolled in front of the tyre.

My mother had my sister Elizabeth in the old hospital, and I remember her in a bed out on the verandah. For a very English woman that was a trial, full of prickly heat, draining weather and homesickness.

Me, I lived for the argonauts on the ABC.

I remember the magician which I think relates to the story of the chimpanzee. Their crew got lost in the Gulf of Carpentaria and were found by the RAAF lounging on a yacht enjoying themselves. They were not popular.

Anyone who came was a highlight. The circus was a hoot, and each year a mob of rally cars would come through and park and take off down the track as Gelignite Jack faced off against the plucky Volkswagens while we cheered the Holdens. By then RedeX had given up sponsoring it so I think it collapsed later in the decade.

The memories are flowing now. I had better stop. Hammond Springs, the inkwells which would fill with sand, a stone fight on the way home from school, the big green frogs in the drain of the laundry under the house, the way the families would swap bikes and repaint them, being sick on the way home from school and picked up by a PMG ute with two men who knew me immediately as Pat Tiley's son David.

Geckos. Watching geckos kept me sane in the wet when the house was stifling and I was supposed to be asleep and my parents were fighting...

I was a cub in that strange ruined prison thing with the pack leader who would send us off round town following arrows chalked on the pavement while they probably got on the grog.

And the wreckage of the Post Office, still a mess fifteen years after it was blown up... and eating those geese, spitting out the buckshot... and wondering excitedly if my father would be trampled by a buffalo in his particular mix of manly strutting and sometimes limited capacities.

The Darwin Show, now that was something..



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court reporting
by: pam pollock (now leevers)

I remember my time in Darwin with great fondness. Arrived there from PNG and started work in the Court Reporting section of the Courts.

Went through Cyclone Tracy as did many others but came out relatively unscathed as we were only renting at the time and lost only a bit of tin of the roof. We were living in Graham Street Stuart Park and were quite sheltered there.

Would love to get in contact with any other girls I worked with in Court Reporting. We had a lot of fun.

Also worked at T and W and also the Housing Commission.

Have retired to Mandurah in WA and have been here since 1992..lovely spot

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1965-1969
by: Wendy

I also lived on Railway Hill and went to Darwin Primary. I remember the old steam engine. I think a lot of little squabbles were sorted behind it so the teachers couldn't see.
Who remembers the dreaded hot milk we had to drink half way through the morning and the Chinese lady who had sugar cane growing in her front yard near the school that we used to try and pinch on our way past. She used to get a bit cranky. And you never forget the taste of those salty plums and sweet plums.
I remember going to the speedway with the Keel an. I was in the same grade as Pam and Edwin Ilse. Left Darwin to go and live in Batchelor.
Don't think anyone could forget growing up in Darwin lots of great memories.
Thanks for all the comments

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My 1979 Darwin experience
by: Steve Pelling

I arrived in Darwin and started work in the Workers Club as a barman. What an experience, never a dull moment. I was lucky enough to meet Stemmy and Jackie Edwards and played rugby league for Nightcliff.What a team.Stemmy ,Boof Arabena three Motlop brothers Rayo Adams,Ah matt's, Ah kitt's, Chooky Fowler.The most fun I have ever had.I would like to say hello to all the 1979 Dragons and all of the supporters and wish them all well.

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Can you help
by: Jo

Were you in Darwin in 1963 and in your 20's.
I was born in Darwin , May 1963, my mothers name is Patricia and came from Sydney.
I am hoping someone may remember a David Ward and his brother Stephen Ward that came to Darwin with her. I would like to make contact with the Ward brothers if possible.

Hoping someone may know something, if so, could you comment in response to this message please.
Thank you

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Follow up to my earlier memory
by: Trish

My early morning coffee enhanced today by living through many memories, courtesy of the people who like me have memories that non Darwinites would never understand.
Keep the memories alive!☺

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Love of Darwin
by: Val Hoffman

We arrived in Darwin late 1966. Green poms. Had only been in the country six or more months. Stayed at Mindil a beach caravan park. Moved around a few times into people gardens. Had a quick trip back to Sydney to have second daughter. Hospital in Darwin recommend. Didnt stay there long. Back to Darwin. Moved to Alawa. Moved a couple times after Tracy. Don was at Action Sheetmetsl with his partners Harry Maschke and Atza Zlotowitz. Left Darwin 1987. Headed south. Ended up here in Maleny Sunshine Coast hinterland. Been here ever since. A lot different to Darwin. Green hills. But love it. Have amazing memories of our 21 years up there.

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My time in the Territory
by: Trish

Went to Darwin in 1972. Had a couple of short absences but finally left 2001.
Worked at the Housing Commission after Cyclone Tracy. Then in Everinghams legal office. Then at his request followed him into the political arena. Did a short stint at Jabiluka and then for the National Trust in Lyons Cottage. A break from Darwin then worked as PA to Ray McHenry at NTDC. After went with him to Mines and Energy. We then went to TDZ at Berrimah. Another break and upon return rejoined workforce as Regisrar/Business Manager at police training college until 2001.
What Fanta opportunities I had and now so many memories.😊

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The 'Old' Darwin
by: Jilly

Born Railway Hill 1956 so I can say YES I either did or remember most of what you mention. I have great affection for 'my' steam train at Darwin Primary. WONDERFUL memories! !!!

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darwin primary
by: 3 years

The engine later turned up on the Darwin Wharf and is still there?
We saw the selfish giant in Preps? film
Chris Brown and Richard Howarth 1956

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Life as akid
by: Tony Nicholas

Stewart Your story is so close to mine it sounds like me even the times are about the same. I am sure I would know you. I have put my story on here a long time ago. We started off in Rum Jungle Then Adelaide River and moved to Darwin in 1954 down on Mindle Beach in a shed dad built. I left Darwin when I joined the fulltime Army in December 1962. Prior to that I worked for the Dept of Works as a radio Operator for the Bush Radio Service. I had lots of good times growing up in Darwin. My brother and a number of family members still live in Darwin.

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1964-65
by: Owen

I worked at Fannie Bay Car Sales {Ford Dealer} Ross Smith Ave, now a BP Servo lived at Arafura Hostel. Played bowls next door. All distance memories but had a great time....

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Reply to Stewart
by: John

Thanks for sharing your memories Stewart. I'm answering because my dad, along with Fred Snr and several others, was a regular volunteer building the Church of England Hall. All the kids of the workers spent many weekends playing together. Fred is still a good mate and I saw him at Northlakes Shopping Centre earlier this year.
I don't remember a Stewart but no doubt our paths crossed during those times.

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Lived atMindle Beach, Knuckey Street, Bagot Rd and Mitchell St.
by: Stewart

A few notes on my early life in Darwin.

First went to Darwin (about 1956) and lived on Mindle Beach in a caravan (snakes and all) which was heaven for a young free-living, barefooted adventurous kid.The caravan park was always booked out. On the beach headland directly under the old Darwin Hospital was an Arafura aboriginal family who used dugout canoes and lived on fish. Their turtle soup was great.

My best mates at the time were Fred B... and Lestoris ...... We had a good life.

As there was little luxury in the way of sweets, our specialty was salty plums purchased for threepence each from the Chinese shops (with opium dens) in Cavenagh Street.

My father's drinking hole was the Buffalo Club, kids were welcome in the bar area (nice shandies). My dad worked as a Wharfie and part-time barman in the Bamboo Bar of the Don Hotel. (the bar had a shotgun behind the counter). Even had a German Shepard dog stabbed in the bar.

As Fred's dad carried out work on the old Church of England, Fred and myself used to bring him lunch and used the bombed-out bunker next to the church as our play area.

At least once a week the family would spend the night fishing off the old Darwin wharf. During the day, the Japanese were removing the sunken ships that they bombed during the war.

At the time, some people still thought the Japanese would again attack, so we had air raid practice (lasted only a few weeks as people lost interest) once a fortnight.

Primary school was fun (didn't learn much). The two Baboa Trees now in the Woolworth's carpark were in the school's central playground. The smaller tree was the 'boxing' area where we had a few punch-ups. I am the one leaning against the tree in one of the photos at the base of the large Baboa. The high school was a tin shed on log stilts.

Still remember lining up along the street for the first icecreams with choc tops which were free for the opening day. Fresh vegetables were scarce, so our diet was mainly steak, chops and potatoes fried on the frying pan.

Friday night was family theatre night in the old Star Theatre. If you wanted more than basic lollies from the front canteen, the old Vic Hotel served satays at half-time. Upstairs in the theatre there was a 'box' for boys and a 'box' for girls. We were often thrown out because women didn't appreciate the chewing gum we were throwing and getting caught in their hair.

My first job (12 year old - school holidays from Boarding School) was the 'odd job man' for the old Darwin Hotel. I believe the front bar area is still called the 'Blood Bath'.

Humpty Doo rice fields was the family's wild geese hunting ground. My parents friends, who were TIs working on the pearling luggers would cook the birds as a Malaysian Curry. It was so good, after 60 years I can still taste it.

An important member of society at the time was the author/artist Victor Charles Hall. Fred and myself were in the Red Cross and helped to raise money to buy Vic a Braille watch which was presented by the NT Administrator. On the day, half of Darwin's residents were there.

Hippies and other long-haired people were not welcome. It was exciting watching the hippies being pulled from the tree houses in front of the Espanade, and taken to the outskirts of town by the police and thrown-out.

In summary, Darwin was a very remote town, with a very small population. Darwinites were a special breed (you became a Darwinite after 17 years living in Darwin). Alcohol was a major problem which caused a lot of violence around town. The town had many nationalities, in particular Italians and Greeks (who were very hard workers with knotted red head scarfs for protection from the sun).

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Memory Lane
by: Jill

Memory Lane is a fine place to meander along, isn't it?

I hitched a ride on a truck from Alice Springs, where I was teaching and soon found a job at Darwin Primary in mid 1959.

How I loved my first experience of the tropics. Every weekend was an adventure with new-found friends, some teachers from school and others fellow residents from the Commonwealth Hostel in Mitchell Street, where I lived.

Grade 6 Girls in 1960 were a delight and I so missed them when I married at the end of the year and moved to open the first school at Wave Hill (now Kalkaringi).

Walks along Lameroo Beach in the evenings, Saturday mornings shopping and meeting friends in Smith Street, Friday evenings at The Vic and the Hot and Cold at the Esplanade (such a shame that beautiful historical building was destroyed), dressing up for a ball at the Golf Club...the memories are wonderful - but tinged with sadness as they're all gone, along with the vibrant young people that we once were.

I go to Darwin occasionally and sit on the Esplanade pretending that all the monotonous, ugly 'high rises' are not there and wishing that my friends from those faraway times could sit down on the bench for a chat and a laugh.

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Good times
by: John

Went to Darwin from Adelaide 1954 to 1955 at the request of married sister living there, she went down south on six months leave with husband shortly after I arrived,so at fourteen was on my own.
Worked for Allen Brothers mechanical on Stuart Highway near airport, slept in a small shed on the property. Got lost in bush for two days with three other guys from work, four of us in total, about thirty miles south down the Stuart Highway on a shooting trip. The Capitol Chev buckboard broke down several miles off the highway so three of us went into the bush pig hunting, became totally lost, spent first day going around in circles in bare feet, wearing only a pair of shorts and carrying a rifle each. Unfortunately in that area all the paperbark trees and swamps look the same. That night was quite cold, I made a bed of leaves from a fallen gum tree only to jump out with green ants all over me, boy can they bite. By chance we found our way back to camp and the fourth guy was not there, shortly after he appeared, he had spent the night in the bush looking for us.

Back to Allen Brothers, argument with spray painter, left; got job with Frasers Plumbing in town, used to board in men's hostel at Winninie, owned by Frasers; was previously a brewery, marketing 7 O'Clock beer.
Replaced plumbing and roof on war damaged Bank of New South Wales, in Smith Street, and new houses at Fannie Bay, and RAAF aviation fuel lines at airport while working for Frasers.
Used to swim in waterhole at Berry Springs, also swam in water tanks at Vesteys Meat Works,(now high school gymnasium)by climbing spiral staircase adjacent to chiller building, across a drainpipe onto the tank wall then walking along the top of the wall to the second tank, (the first tank was too polluted), enormous fun.
Had first hamburger at park kiosk between Cavenagh and Smith Street. Attended premier of film "Jedda", at theatre in Smith Street. and open air movies on RAAF base at Parap on Sunday nights. Viewed oil tanks on Stokes Hill, total destruction by Japanese, also ship wrecks still in the harbour.
My son just came back from a week in Darwin and loved it, totally different now.
I now live in Broken Hill and my son lives in Adelaide, can't wait to see his photos and how Darwin has changed








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Born there1949, schooled there. Still call it home.
by: Tomcat

I remember the day the crane lowered the Engine into position. I used to catch the school bus in from Georges Crescent , Fannie Bay. Hot school lunches in a tin spark plug box. Leather satchel, sandals and a daggy grey uniform of sorts. After lunch music over the school PA, Mrs Curteis played classical music, hence my still un-abiding love of classical music and opera.
Later, when we had moved to Parap, Walking home along the rail line until the Parap corner, down past Charlie On's to Gregory St. and to McDonald St.
Then the excitement of a new high school! But same old, same old staff!
Late night skinny dipping in the tanks behind the high school.
Saturday nights at the Drive in.....seeing how many could be crammed into the boot etc.

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remembering
by: peter daniel

my name is Peter Daniel. used to go to Darwin primary school, I remember one of my teachers her name was Miss Edge I think.
I remember Billy Pitcheneater, she lived near by me at Meranger. it is no longer there. I used to taste her buns when they came out of the oven.

I often think of the red train at my old school, Miss Cane the head teacher. if you had no food to eat at lunch time the teachers got food for you from other kids. running across the road to pick tamerins I used to get into trouble quite a bit at school for that I am very sorry. we all learn by mistakes and regret most.
I think of my old friend David Fenton which I tried to find in 1975 but I spoke to your dad and brother Steven . if you want phone me 0447729990 be good to hear from you.
I was in Darwin in 2014 and boy has it changed,but I still found my way around. there is a lot I can not remember but will keep looking at this page. Hi to people I forgot

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Danarda Parade
by: Les (Tony) Nicholas

In the 50s to at least 1963 the parade was called the Darnada Parade. As a young teenager I used to go into the pye eating contest and the spagetee eating contest. These were great times usually finishing about midnight.

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best days in Darwin
by: errol robertson

Remember the Darwin annual fair{I think that's what it was called}The sartee sticks were the best ever.I worked at the old post office on the corner of Smith & knuckey sts.Telegram boys I remember were Carl Pederson and a young guy named Iles. I was in Darwin from 1963 to 1975. Lived in Alawa crescent.Played a few games for Wanderers. I still miss Darwin a lot.

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Darwin Primary School Frogs Hollow
by: Greg

Yes I went to Darwin Primary School/Frogs Hollow from the early to mid 1960s and one of my teachers was a Miss Edge or Hedge. She would have been in her mid 20's when she taught me around 1964.
The classroom she taught in was partially sunk in the ground on a slope I remember she got married in a church to a member of the defence force around then & soon after left Darwin with her husband. She would have been about 5' 6" slightly plump which was not unusual in those days, pale complexion, darkish hair medium length. My mother Helen was a good friend of hers. Does anyone know how I can get in touch with her.
Thanks.
I can be contacted on email gregcj@bigpond.com

Greg

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Grade 3 Frog Hollow
by: Billy Iles

Great to dwell on the Old Darwin, Better to remember Railway Hill where us Iles mob grew up next door to Brownie mob, Keelan's around the corner,Jimmy Grant across the road, remember Hornybrooks jetty down Francis Bay, that's when Darwin had great fishing.

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Great memories 1962 - 1966
by: Effie

So many memories after reading everyone's comments. I was born in Darwin , then the family moved to Melbourne returning to Darwin when I was 8 , my brother , sister and I went to Parap Primary, I remember one of my teachers , Mr Bishop , he used to hit me on the knuckles with the ruler for not holding the pen correctly haha and also spending time at the Waling Wall opposite the staff room for talking in class , fun times . The best memories are movies 3 times a wk , Parap Theatre Wednesday , Star Theatre Saturday and Drive -In Sundays , it was so much fun , we had no TV then , just stories on the radio and our comic books haha , simple times were so much better. Dad would take us to town on Friday nights for shopping , Sunday it was a drive to Howard Springs or Berry Springs for a picnic with family friends , all the kids had so much fun . Yes , I also loved the salty plums and red ginger and the best mangoes ever and sweet custard apples, all these memories when we still had mum and dad with us are bringing tears to my eyes , but what great memories . We lived in Fannie Bay near the race track , we could see the horses running round from our house , the end of 1966 we moved to Sydney and here we stayed.

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Beautiful memories
by: Effie

Reading everyone's stories has bought back so many memories. I was born in Darwin , then my family moved to Melbourne returning to Darwin the end of 1961.

My brother, sister and I went to Parap Primary School, I was 8 in grade 3, I remember one of my teachers, Mr Bishop, he used to hit me on the knuckles with the ruler for not holding the pen correctly ha ha. I also remember Mr Phillis and Mr Stiller and also spending time at the Waling Wall opposite the staff room for talking in class, fun times.

The best memories were going to the pictures (movies) 3 times a week, dad would take us to Parsp theatre Wednesday, Saturday State theatre and Sundays Drive In, we loved it . Dad would drive us all to Howard Springs or Berry Springs for a picnic on Sundays with our family friends, we were all so happy and life was so simple then, no T.V, we would listen to stories on the radio and read our comics.

We lived in Fannie Bay near the race track, we could see the horses running round from our house, the end of 1966 we moved to Sydney and here we stayed. Our memories of Darwin were wonderful, we were young and had both mum and dad with us.

Darwin has changed since then but our memories are still with us .

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Old darwin
by: Anonymous

Mrs Willes is my nanna!! 94 years young and going strong still in Darwin. I am Mickeys youngest daughter born in the late 80's and have grown up listening to all these fab stories about Berrimah and old Darwin and it sounded like a wonderful time to be in Darwin !!!!

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School
by: Lynette

I must have been in your class as well as robin Blake and Karen maff were two of my best friends.Dont remember a lot of the teachers,went to infants primary and high school.the ones I do remember are miss worral,mrs needle,mr Blake,mrs Hussey,mrs moody,mr Kissel .

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Lynette and George
by: John Darwin River

Terrific contributions from all. George, You mentioned Wally Nichols. He and Manuel Kotis were among my best mates at Frogshollow. Others in my 1957 grade 2 class were John Roberts, Doug Latham, Joseph Jameison, Neville Haskins, Greg SeeKee, Janice Chin, Maryanne Shergold, Karen Maff, Chippy Dowling, Robyn Blake, Bethany Dennis. The teacher was Mrs Bennett. She would take boys into the storeroom at the back of the class, pull their pants down, if they had undies on, and whack with a ruler across the bum. See you around some time George.
Interesting Lynette. I too enjoyed the Tamarinds at the C of E in the same era. Are you on Facebook? There are some terrific groups there dealing with Darwin and the NT's history. Any contributors that would like to discuss more of this great era can share thoughts with me at bushpig@live.com.au

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Berrimah
by: Lynette

My family moved to Darwin in 1954 and we left in1964. My parents started the first caravan park in Darwin called the over lander. Life was great up there, old Alec in the shop at Berrimah was still there in 1991, but has sadly passed away now.
Remember show days at Winnellie camp, use to save all year for spending money. My grandparents owned the general store at Adelaide river,and my uncle worked at the Cairo rice farm at Humpy Doo.
Still buy salty plums and red ginger whenever I see them. Also remember how sweet the tamarinds were in the big tree outside the Church of England.

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"I also went to Frog Hollow and played on the Old Steam Engine"
by: George Burri Butler

Born at the old Darwin Maternity Hospital with many others who went to all these places like you did and myself. You may have been in my class right near the head masters office my teacher was Mrs Wills mother to Micky and Chris they lived at Bullocky Point where i lived across the road at Salonika. I did all my schooling right up to grade 5 from Frog Hollow to across the road. In grade 4 had Mr Ward who use to cane us with a very thin bamboo and always dressed in white with long socks shining black shoes. When i got in trouble with others he would get us boys to line up put our hands out and he would bend the cane back then let it go caning about 4 or 5 off us. There be Freddy 'Spider' May, Phillipie Quall, William Rotumah, Kevin Carne, Peter Appleby and John Saganto, Spiro Macrolos, Pedro Magripols. If we pulled our hands away he would bring the cane up hitting our knuckles. Greg Chan , Georgie Voukulos and Richard Geese were his pets who never got in trouble also a John Blocky he was very quite and was in my class with a few girls like Dianne Chin and lots of Retta Dixon home kids and many greek girls, and other nationalites.

Every morning at assembly we use to march and sing 'God Save the Queen'and who ever was playing the cattle drum with the Australia flag flying. Mr Ward always made sure we were in step...left right left right. If we weren't we get in trouble and have to do about 100 lines saying "we should march in time left right left right". We use to cheat when righting these lines with about 2 or 3 lead pencils in our writing hand this would make it quicker to write those lines. Mind you he didn't catch us we got away with it but it was also the time that 'ink and blotter' were being introduced with 'ink wells' and writing pens with nibs. We dare not spill the blue ink on us or our books.

When i was in grade 5 which was across the road with the High School where the Adult Educator had his class Mr Garner. There was a zebra crossing where everyone had to use when crossing the road as our bikes were parked in the bike shed. Anyway my class room was upstairs near the Principals Office across the veranda i could see the 'big bell'that was under the big Milk Wood Tree where me and many others carved our initials on. Then we climb the 'bottle tree' and try to get water out of it by making holes in the trunk that is still standing in that area. Tried to play tennis in the tennis court and got in trouble it was for High School students only. Near the school there were old up stairs houses where one of my relations lived old Felix Spain. There was a tamarind tree that i would climb to get the ripe ones to eat or throw sticks to knock them down. Played basket ball for the school that Wally Nichols had made up which played against the Catholic School and we use to flog them. White singlets bagi white shorts and socks with white Dunlop sand shoes.

Anyway another story we use to get crust from our sandwiches tied it to some string, got a brown paper bag blew it up with air from our mouth, tied the string that had the crust attached to with abit of a distance apart, laid the crust and bag out on the bitumen playing area mind you the string was very long. Anyway we use to trap the 'kite hawks' that always flew above and they would swoop down and pick the crust up and take off and fly upwards and behind would be the brown paper bag, what a laugh and it was another way we created entertainment. There were other games we played like hop scotch, British bull dog, hop step and jump, broad jump, running brandy, table tennis , marbles, throw a sixpence closes to the wall and who ever is the closes wins taking all the other six pences and another that i couldn't remember a
big square game.....

Getting back to 'frog hollow' i was there when the train arrived and me and my mates i have named played on it running and jumping with no fear of hurting ourselves. The creek or drain that ran through the school yard when it flowed from rain i would swim in it. The old High School Wood Work Building which i think is a slab of cement left use to have cold water bubbles where we would get a drink. Then wash our hands from and used the soap tree seeds that cleaned our hands. The bell up near the old fountain i used to ring when i was in grade 3. The tuck shop of Aunty Billy always had great pies and pasties ,sauage rolls,Vegemite rolls, chocolate eclairs, cream horn, match sticks, cream buns, butter fly creami cakes. coochi bars. Her staff were fantastic Mrs Lamshed and Mrs Shergoal. Aunty Billy a very big woman but a heart of gold she was the best always looking after us kids. Plus most of the teachers always collected food from other kids who had too much to eat to help alot of us who had no food or even money for 'tuck shop'. we only had at times, bread that had fat on it, mangoes, cheeky plums,rosella, billy goat plum, green plum even bowedge or tamarind and wild apple. Oh we use to get these right near the Wood Work Work Shop as there was a big tree right long side it. Our Bush tuka was always there for us and we shared it with others no matter they screwed their noses up.

The other good food was what our Chinese friends had 'salty plums', sweet plums, lemon skin, red ginger, football plums and long soup they would bring to school in a billy can.

On a good note my mother was the cleaner there named Louise with Aunty Vi Ross and another two women. Most of my brothers and sister went to these schools, Herbie, Lionel, David, Arthur, Merley, Rosemary and Diane. My younger sister Chrissy went to the 'old parap infant'. It's good to see the Frog Hollow School still there alot of good memories and i still drive past there now and again. There is more but maybe I will write a book who knows maybe.....

Reading all these stories and what i have written makes us all 'historians' and we are walking legends and to finish I was present when the 'time capsule' was buried near the old girls toilet up on the bank. I can't remember early 80's not sure but does anyone know whats happening to it?

Enjoy and I hope i have made you laugh abit and brought back any memories and was i in them.

Kutchings, Goomagi Wax,Bubu, Mumuk, Mardja, Djut Djut, Embungi, " Old Buffaloes never Die Shuffle up the Buffaloes" Ma


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The Good Old Days
by: Bill

Yep began my schooling days in the Darwin Primary School in the early 50's Mrs Stahl, Ken Waters, Mr Row were some of the teachers there then. They were the good old days. Later on in the High School Days Billy Pritchentear (spelling) would call in her van selling buns and pies for lunch. Miss Barr when the Russians first launched a satellite, Sputnik I think panic and began studying Russian. They were the days very & fond memories

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1963-1967
by: Peter

1963-1967 great times lots going on. High School moved to new site brand new rooms lots of memories, I think Tom Kissel was headmaster. TAK we called him.

Played footy with St Marys with all those fantastic boys from Bathurst Island. Sailed one of the first Arafura Cadets at the sailing club with lots of assistance from Neil Fowler. The club house [cabana on the beach] holds lots of great memories.

We lived up near the old hospital and there was a shop in Smith Steet I think where you could buy anything. Had to leave sadly in 1967 but Darwin at that time was a wonderful place to live and I have many great memories.

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1970 - 1978
by: Marilyn

Yes Margaret, we remember the Phitzner Music Shop, think we still have a couple of old records with their name on the cover...We run into them about 10 years ago. They owned and run a Fudge shop, Granny Macs on Mt Tamborine in the gold coast hinterland.

Little bit of our story in Darwin, my husband Terry was transferred from Pauls (Ice Cream/Milk)Brisbane on a two year contract, but like a lot of people we stayed longer, 8 years..We lived in Alawa Trower Rd in company flats to start, then they gave us a house in Casuarina Drive, Nightcliff when our son was born in 1971. IN 1973 Pauls moved us to Aralia St, for a couple of months, and by then we had another baby, a girl, so we applied for a housing commission house.

We were given the option of an established place in Ludmilla, behind Bagot Reserve, or a brand new house in Jingili, which we decided to take. We were there in CT and right up till we left in 1978. I worked at the Drive-In in the canteen on & off from 1971 till about 1976 I think, then the last couple of years in the snack bar at the Bowling Alley in Nightcliff.
We had some of our best years of our lives in Darwin, fishing on the wharf at night, the kids in a big playpen so they didn't fall in, camping 'down the track' almost every weekend in the dry,Sat arvo bbq's that would end up a big party with everyone arriving with the carton on the shoulder and mind you no-one leaving till the carton was gone, and the list goes on.. Some of the things we did in those days we often wonder now how we ever survived..haha..

I remember when Terry accepted the job transfer, I had to have a meeting with the Brisbane bosses at Pauls, and them telling me Darwin was nothing like Brisbane and was still regarded in some ways as a frontier town, and with the heat and isolation, 2 years was a long time and did I think I could handle it.. After 8 years I must have, and since we have left, we still go back year after year for our "Darwin fix"
Marilyn & Terry

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here are a few more
by: Terry O'Brien

Yep remember all of them days and places, here are a few more (Terry O'Brien)

Eva's Grill bar in the back street of West Lane.

Rocky's place with the Chess boards Mitchell st.

Sartees at the back door of the Continental cafe at interval time from the star theatre.

Railway dam for swimming with the tin canoe

Lameroo baths on the esplanade.

On the darker side - Berrimah Berryl and Terry (not me) the Pro heh he .

The police HQ at Daly st & Smith st corner

Keetleys Taxis

Peter Toveys Marine

Speedway on Bagot road - now Bagot park.

17 mile quarry - the safe dump

O'Briens Handifoods in Peel st 1954

John Candy the dump man with his 3 wheeler motorcycle before he got his mini Minor

it goes on












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Re the Neptuna and other things
by: Dorothy

John from Darwin River - yes I remember the Neptuna on its side near Stokes Hill wharf - and you could see the water through the wooden planks on the wharf! Yes -and Quong's bakery in Smith Street - I think it was Thursday nights that they baked finger buns. We nurses used to go down at night and buy fresh finger buns! Speaking of nursing - we used to take the kids(patients) down to Mindil beach for walks and the ladies from Communities waiting in ward 5 to have babies used to go down to Cullen Bay and catch mud crabs then bring them back to the hospital and cook them on a fire outside.
We were reminiscing the other day about the annual "Walkabout" from Howard Springs turn off to Darwin - and Granny Nellie Flynn who for years kept walking it and Helmut Schimmel who kept winning it!
Other great memories were camping on the cliff tops at Casuarina where Brinkin is now or at Lee Point, walking down Bagot road (single lane)to go rubber tubing down Rapid Creek and collecting "Cheeky Plums" from trees growing around the coastline. Great place for kids to grow up!

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Nostalgia
by: Michael Ellis

Originally born in Darwin, my mother was a Quall. We returned to Darwin in 46 after the War, and resided at Parap Camp, which was militarily known as Camp 118. I recall a lot of identities, Lew Fatt, Angeles, Cubillo, Roes, Hazelbane, Cigobias.
Some noteable people were, Fr Frank Flynn, Sister Blandena?, Tiger Lyons, Charlie On and
Charlie See Kee, Tom Harris, Lorna Lim, Paspalis And Haritos.
And who could forget the ice cream man Kosmos. I am sure this will jog the memories(feelings) of ex & current Darwinites - hope it does.

By the way my name is Michael Ellis

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The Good Old Days growing up in Darwin
by: Gayle

My family moved from a small place in Queensland to Darwin in December 1969. I was 10 years old, my older brother was 11 and my younger brother was 5 when we went to Darwin. My mother worked at Woolworths in Smith Street and our father was a Spray Painter. We would go food shopping at Woolworths on a Friday night and see all people you knew. My brother and I went to Darwin High School in 1970. Then when you went to town on a Saturday morning you would see everyone and would catch up with all your friends. Then on a Saturday night, Bagot Park Speedway, wow that was great entertainment and as it was at Bagot Road it wasn't too far to travel.
I grew up in Darwin and had fantastic jobs in the NT Government and had a happy childhood, then got married, had my 2 children. 40 years later I have moved to Hervey Bay because Darwin has got too big and is not the same anymore. I miss the memories of the Good Old Days but don't miss the heat or the hustle and bustle of the city. My son still lives there and often visit from time to time.

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Memories light the corners of my mind.
by: Pam Wayne

I was born in Darwin and went to Frog Hollow,Darwin and Parap primary School,my Dad Claude Wayne known to all the kids around as ( Poppa Wayne ) had the 1st Mobile Ice cream Van in Darwin,he sold every thing from from ice cream,bottle and cans of drink,fruit and veg ,frozen meats and not forgetting the salty plums and ginger,if you wanted something,he had it.
My brothers and sisters and myself had to take turns working in the back of the van on weekends fetching the goods the people and kids asked for,the best time was at Easter holidays etc as we would spend time at friends houses during the run and more drinking was done by the adults than selling from the van.
Use to do a lot of walking to the beaches and meeting up with friends down there who would go out and catch a turtle,drag it back to the beach were it was killed then dig a big hole in the sand put hot stones in the shell and put the turtle in the hole and cook it,the meat was yum.
My childhood and teen age years were the best,the best milk bar around for us Parap kids to hang out was the Parap Milk Bar,run by Wilma Kruger,she would always stick up for us kids if we had a scrape with the Law hahaha.
Good old Darwin,best time of my life,if I could turn back the clock I would.

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memorys
by: gloria mous

My husband and I lived in Darwin between 1960 1962 he worked at Terry and Alice, s butchers shop at parap I worked at the star milk bar/sandwich shop which was under the theatre we lived in a caravan at the back of Terry's house in Mitchell st. We fished of Stokes wharf most evenings we were working our way around Australia we loved our time in Darwin and recently returned and still loved it

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What a place to grow up in!
by: Gary

1959-1968 Arrived at Parap Primary wearing Pith Helmets purchased at Port Augusta Station (WW1 stock). Dad dressed in Khaki like a lion tamer -what an impression - kids thought we were from Africa.
Moved into Drysdale Street Parap.

Had to dig through the old tarmac in our backyard so Mum could grow her beloved tropical plants.

Cubs, Scouts (briefly,) Sea Cadets - what a life. Darwin Sailing Club; just a grass cabana at Fannie Bay Beach. Sailed the Neil Fowler prototype catamarans Arafura cadets and later the Arrow - great designs. Sold papers (yes at 8 pence each) and saved enough to buy a boat kit. Built an Arafura Cadet.

Our gang loved East Point war relics, when the guns could still be trained on merchant ships. After that someone welded them over with arc mesh wire, as the visitors who were refloating the wrecked ships were getting nervous.

Possibly explains why I joined the Navy and why they donated a font made from ship's old brass to the Uniting Church.

Came back to help after Cyclone Tracy with half of our Fleet - the new club was still standing but with Bill Jelly's yacht wedged into the bar.

What survivors. What memories!

What a place to grow up in!

I'll be back.

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Film Society
by: Ted

John Withnal, (since passed away)was a Darwin Lawyer and one of the early movers of the Film Society. His brother, Gordon, still lives in Darwin and could have more information on those times. Barry Ledwidge, a long term Darwin resident, photographer and general larrikin of olden days, may
have also been associated; and Bill Parish, retired Darwin lawyer still living in Fannie Bay.

I would imagine these names could be found in the phone book.

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Darwin Film society?
by: Di

Great site! Does anyone remember or know someone who was part of the Darwin Film society which started in 1964 and is still going strong? It began the Deckchair cinema in 1994 and next year, 2014, we want to celebrate 50 and 20 years. We would love to hear from anyone who knows about the first 10 years.... from 1964 to 1974.

Please add something if you do!

Di

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Berrimah Mob
by: Bill

Anyone remember the Berrimah area? I grew up there in the fifties and sixties. Alec Hakala's Berrimah store and the Wayside Inn. Used to deliver papers to the QANTAS complex where Kormilda College is now. Also sold custard apples, mangos and coconuts on the side of the road.

What about the old Berrimah Buff Hall? Rode my pushbike through the old asbestos sheeting walls going to Cubs one night. What about Berrimah Road Billy Cart Races just past the old Japanese War Cemetery, or mucking round in Hidden Valley when it was all bush, getting Billy Goat Plums, Sweet Plums and Bowitch yams and raiding all the market garden vegetable patches in the area.

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Love this site
by: Bill M

Started my schooling in with Mrs Stahl as my teacher.
Moved up the ranks with Ken Waters my teacher.
Was there when Hoppalong Cassidy visited. Did my woodwork classes in Frog Hollow.
Was there when the tennis players played on our courts eg Hoad, Ken R, Frazer etc gave a demo.
Had Mr Cassaleier (spelling as usual) as my science teacher later.
Served my apprenticeship with the CDW workshops and the two and a half workshops. Stemmy Edwards was there too.
Lived in Smith St opposite Cluad Cashman house.

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I Was
by: John. Darwin River

Thanks to all for adding to my memories. It was mentioned that we never locked our houses or cars. That reminded me of the time the family at the other end of our street, Green St Fannie Bay, parked their car on The Esplanade and when they returned it was missing. I think the library was open one night through the week and many parked opposite on open parkland. Shock, horror, a car was stolen. In Darwin. Impossible.

About 3 days passed before the car was found at the bottom of the cliffs at Lamaroo Beach. They had left it in neutral without applying the hand brake. The relief that it hadn't actually been stolen was amazing. Darwin was safe after-all.

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Darwin 1964-69
by: Ian short

Wow, was great reading all those past memories. I remember the open air picture theatre in Parap, the old army duck at Mindal beach,the old high school in Woods st.fireworks at Fannie bay beach on Guy Fawkes night,swimming at spots on the track south of Darwin when the road flooded.skipping Sunday school and spending the money at the Chinese shop on salty plums.
I was a Sea Cadet at TS Warramunga and remember the old shed down near the wharf then moving out to Melville.
Also watching the air force doing dogfights and breaking the sound barrier overt the Raaf base. Carl Atkinsons house at Doctors Gully and collecting fruit and veg from the Darwin railway station delivered from Adelaide. They were truly great times

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memories
by: Sereena

does anyone remember when Hoppilong Cassidy visited????and Prince Philip visited the school as well.???
salty plums and red ginger...still crave them.
yes , I remember chocolate life savers..and lollie smokes. would love to buy "cure em quick" lollies...or"check em quicks" ..little black squares in a thin tube....loved those things

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'53-'56 great years
by: Ron Summerton

3,000 characters! Not enough! Goodness me. Once I start here I know I won't be able to stop.

We came from Adelaide in 1952. I was six. My sisters were/are Anne (five) and Val (eight). We lived in Woods Street,(for six years) just near Hutty's Bus Service. Next door to Poulters.

I remember so much. Fishing. Doctors Gully fishing. The wharves fishing. The landing under the wharves fishing. Mindel Beach fishing. All the shops previously mentioned. Salty Plums. The five-cornered fruits (sour), The SCHOOL! - (Thinking of nothing but fishing!) Miss Mitchell!

I don't remember the train. Steven and Michael Poulter. The warship coming in. Pushing bicycle up to Nightcliff to sell papers, (I don't remember the bonus either). The smell of the printing presses. Cracker night. Christmases. The Naval Experimental cow yards in the bush near our house. The storm-water outlet near there!

The kids I knew but can't remember their names! Dad coming to the school and picking me up and that last time I saw the school. (I was twelve) - (we all ended up in Perth).

Like someone else said, a different life! How about Darwin 1952-1958 for a six-twelve year old boy! Just millions of things!

rastron@bigpond.com
Monday the eleventh of March,2013 Marananga

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Darwin and the good old days
by: Tony Nicholas

All the previous stories bring back great memories. Our familly Mum,Dad and 4 kids myself the oldest moved to Rum Jungle just as it was starting and there was no township of Batchelor then.

We then moved to Adelaide Rivver where we stayed for a couple of years living in old deralict army sheds. On moving to Darwin we lived down on Mindle beach in a shed that dad built. There were flaming furry toilets and cold showeres and of course the great beach. Our shed was where the Darwin Casino is now.

On one occasion a group of us young teenagers went to the Star theatre and after the movies we staged a shoot out with a starting pistol and a container of tommato sauce in the other guys pocket to look like blood this all happened running down Smith st and we got away with it.

I was also a paper boy and my run was along Mindle beach as there were a big crowed living down there then. Anyhow I could go on forever as we had such a great but hard time living in the North. My younger brother never left and stills lives there today

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DX Bakery
by: Brian Hyke

My grandfather (Joe Richards) owned and operated DX Bakery in 1954. It was a very different place back then. His children, grandchildren and great grandchildren still live and work in Darwin today - myself included!

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Cherished memories
by: Janice

Was great growing up in Darwin, when we could leave our houses and cars unlocked!
We used to live next to Darwin Primary and our house survived Cyclone Tracey, just. It was repaired but mum sold it :( after we were still in Sydney after 10 years because she felt bad my uncle had to take care of it. I remember playing on the red fire engine, green slimy worms squashed on the walkway from the classrooms down to the assembly hall or tuck shop, choo choo bars and marshmallow eggs.
Oh, the stack of eggs at Tangs! Eggs make a great sound when dropped on the concrete floor at the times I managed to get away from mum when she was visiting the rellies.
I used to buy chinese plums, red ginger etc at Sue Wah Chin's on they way back to school after lunch.
My uncle's family owns Charlie On's corner shop which is still there.

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Terry's butcher shop
by: Anonymous

Some great memories John. I was born in Parap and Terry Roonie who owned the butcher shop you mention was my god father.

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Star theatre and crushed pineapple drinks
by: Deborah

Hi John,
I remember the star picture theatre. My mum used to work in the milk bar in the star village, and my sister and I would call in to see her after school to get a wonderfully icy cold pineapple crush.
We lived in what was then Navy houses on top of the cliff down near the wharf, the road that is there now used to be a part of our front yard! Poor mum would get bogged driving across the new road works. My sister and I spent our childhood playing down near the wharf before it got upgraded. Does anyone remember the iron ore down there? I can still smell it now!
We were also in the junior flyers club and would meet at the old radio station in the road behind where Nirvana restaurant is. My grandad would walk down and catch a fish from the wharf area where the new development is and we would eat it fair breakfast. Does anyone remember the tram where you could go and buy fish n chips? I also used to love going to the woolies cafeteria before it closed down.

Thanks for reminding me of the old Darwin.

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Parap & Fannie Bay
by: Debbie

At Parap Primary 1962-1967...'those were the days'great childhood memories. My parents owned fish & chip shop u mentioned, near milk bar(we kids climbed on our shop roof to watch the pictures 'Sound of Music' several times) - had reserved family seats Sat night at theatre.

Rode our bikes along East Pt Rd cliffs(where we lived) after listening to 'the air adventures of biggles' + 'tarzan' on the radio after school...no tv then thank goodness (was a better child life then compared to now). Or stopping off at council pool for an hour if we had to walk home from school.
Swapped our comics at a Parap book shop. Bought red ginger & salty plums from chinese shop between Parap Hotel & main highway.

My brother was in the 'scouts' & my sister in 'girl guides' u mentioned...
Debbie 2011

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I remember the Star Theatre John.
by: Terry

Did you ever go to the Parap Airforce Base Pictures and sit in the Canvas Sling Deck-chairs Open Air?
When it rained a few drops nobody cared, it was cool, we dried off in minutes and the air became muggy again in no time. I remember the Train at Darwin Primary and I remember screaming a response in unison to the Catholic kids across the road when the Lunch Bell rang for us to return to our class rooms.. lol

Do you remember? *Catholics, Catholics ring the bell while the State Schools Go to Hell! No insult intended..I had good friends across the road..

We had an old Air Force shack on our property which sat near the Fanny Bay Golf Links and what was set aside for the Waratah Football Ground.

Our Tenants were Mrs Butler and her 2 children. Mrs Butler was an Authoress who wrote under the non de plume of Mrs Gunn. Not the Real one! She encouraged her children to be creative and I tagged along whenever I could.

Aboriginals from Fanny Bay Beach area let us go into the Mangroves with them on a Crabbing Expedition one day. They didn't speak a word of English but laughed a lot. We watched them weld nails to their crabbing sticks with native bee wax over and little camp fire.

Great now I can slide over Mangrove spears without falling in the mud or getting bruised feet. A talent I haven't had opportunity to use since.

Thanks for reminding me of lost memories John.

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Parap Glory Days.
by: Lea

OMG John someone does remember all the same stuff I do. I was born a little later, 1956, but all those memories are still with me today.

I recall the taste of the cashews I used to eat off someones tree on my way home from school. My mother in law still wont accept they don't grow underground! Laugh. Oh, and the taste of tamarinds off the trees along Fanny Bay beach. Civil Defence headquarters was on the corner of Parap Rd and Stuart Highway and the railway shunting yards were also on the highway. Gees sold the best butter scotch I have ever had and I used to buy salty plums from Charlie Onns.

Of course there was also the brownies, guides and scout hall across the road a little from Parap Primary. From the top of the cliffs at Darwin High I would look down to the beach and see all the leftover debris from the war.

Thank you for the memories John! What an awesome time it was. Btw does anyone remember the coconut ice creams Charlie onns sold or that you could buy chocolate lifesavers? No I am not a foodie but John has pretty well covered the shops in the area.
Ah! Glory days!

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Nostalgia
by: Ted

I was a paper boy in the late early 60's when the price was 8 pence. The cut to the paper boys of 2 pence was 25%, pretty generous by today's standards. Unfortunately, 8 pence was best made up of a sixpence and two pennies, and often householders would unload their excess pennies and half-pennies to pay for the paper, so at the end of a paper-round the weight of the coins was considerable.... but I don't recall ever getting any bonus from the NT News, and I was at it for a couple of years.

When I started in 1960 the papers came out twice a week, and there were times when the press in the old tin building next to Brown's Mart would break down - often for days at a time. I can remember at times hanging around from 3.30 or so after school until after 7pm waiting for the papers to be issued by Mrs Wright, whose husband Arthur was one of the type compositors. We paperboys would fill in the time with youthful larrikinism, often forming two sides for a 'war' using the fruits of the Morinda Citrifolia ('Rotten Cheese Fruit'- there was a huge tree next to the NT News building) as ammunition on each other as we ranged around and down the foreshores through the scrub towards the port area.

Best days financially were Anzac Day, when everybody in town was cheerfully tanked and generous with tips, and of course Christmas time. I delivered to houses between McMinn and Smith Streets, from Bennett Street to Daly Street, and made a heap of money considering the times.

It's a different world nowadays.

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Great Memories
by: Margaret

Your story reminded me of some of the shops that I had forgotten the names of. Anthony's and Phitzners Music shop are another couple I remember...

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Late 60s
by: Blues Spinner

Worked as a wharf id in the mid 60s to the 1970s during the industrial unrest. Remember going to Eva's grill just behind the Don Hotel, remember people like Brian Manning, Bill Donelly, Curly Nixon, Bill Macskimmin, etc. Lived in Fannie Bay flats for sometime many great memories of Darwin , Daughter was born in the old hospital in 1970 any old wharfies still out there? Best regards to Darwin, ex wharfies, Bluey Spinner,

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memories
by: Robin Evans

I was in Darwin between 1964 to 1974. I lived on Railway Hill. We had no TV. I was a news paper boy for a period when £/S/P changed to $.

It was a fantastic place to grow up. I attended Darwin Primary School. Of those who were in my class i remember Greg Chan, Richard Geese and Dorothy Bonson. I remember having a crush on Dorothy Bonson and making a complete idiot of myself. How can one forget that. She ended up going out with my mate Willy Brown.

I got up to all sorts of trouble. I was in the scouts and sea cadets. We went from Darwin to Broome on the HMAS Moresby. I remember the name John Hockey and a Ms Bethany as a teacher at Darwin Primary. Have very fond memories of Darwin. People i grew up with were Rodney Keelan, Billy Ilse and Willy Brown. They all had family's.
I can be contacted on robinsown52@gmail.com or 0455206528

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