The Travelling Teapot

The Travelling Teapot

Melbourne Time

The Travelling Teapot


I love travelling and hope to share with you some of the places I have visited. I called my blog "The Travelling Teapot" because I like travelling around, and every time I go away somewhere, the first thing I do when I arrive at my destination is have a nice hot cup of tea!

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Mindil Market

Playing the didgeridoo.

Above: Playing the didgeridoo.

The Mindil Beach Sunset Market is a Darwin institution. Held every Thursday and Sunday from May to October there are many stalls offerning food, arts, crafts and entertaiment. Try some of the international cuisine - Turkish, Greek, South American, Sri Lanka, North African and many others. Or perhaps pack a picnic and sit on the beach watching the sunset.

Above: Chinese Violin player.

Stroll among the tarot card readers, leatherworkers, jewellers and artists. Listen to the free live street theatre, magicians and buskers. The young man in the first photo was giving a didgeredoo demonstration, while in the second, is a Chinese violin player.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Darwin 2006 - Galleries & Gardens

Monday 19th June 2006

After a late start to the day, I did a sightseeing tour with AAT Kings at 2.00PM.

One of the places we visited was the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory which is located at 19 Conacher Street Bullocky Point Fannie Bay, and set in a tropical garden on Darwin Harbour.

Darwin Harbour

I felt privileged to see paintings by Albert Namatjira - one of Australia's great artists, and perhaps the best known Aboriginal painter.

Above: "Ghost Gums" by Albert Namatjira

Towards the end of the tour, we stopped at the Botanic Gardens which has, among other things, this beautiful fountain. It gets switched off at 5.00PM and we were lucky enough to arrive in time.

Fountain at George Brown Botanic Gardens

Location Details - Museum & Art Gallery

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Top End Map

Click on map to enlarge.

Tiwi Islands - Church and Culture

Friday 23rd June 2006
Our guides Teabag and John told us of Fr Francis Xavier Gsell who established an Aboriginal mission at Nguiu on Bathurst Island in 1910 and worked there until 1938. During Bishop Gsell’s time, Catholic schools were established in Darwin, on Bathurst Island (two schools: St Therese’s and Xavier Boys’ Schools), and at the Santa Teresa Mission in Central Australia.

The story of Creation of the Tiwi Islands is a fascinating one. When the earth was flat and in darkness, an old blind woman, Mudungkala rose out of the ground during Palaneri time (dreaming) carrying three infants. and started going north. In her tracks, the fresh water that bubbled forth became the Dundas Strait.

After travelling on, forming the Tiwi Islands and their waterways in her wake, she then said the islands were to be inhabited with animals and covered with vegetation so that her three children would have food. She moved south, leaving her children behind and disappeared.

The Dundas Strain separates Melville and Bathurst Island from Mainland Australia and Nguiu is around 80 kms north of Darwin.
The interior of St. Therese's Roman Catholic Church is beautifully decorated in the Tiwi design.

Teabag told us the Tiwis follow the old rules - strict rules by today's standards in Australia and elsewhere.

Brothers and sisters are not allowed to talk to each other after puberty. If he wanted to give his sister a book, he must leave it in a place - he indicated the hollow of a tree. A message would be sent along by several people, and then his sister would come and collect the book.

Not until they were both old and grey haired could they meet and speak with each other.

There are four skin groups - mullet, pandanus, sun and stone - and when a young man is looking for a wife, two of those groups are taboo. Talking to a member of the opposite sex from the wrong skin group meant a very harsh punishment - they were beaten with a long punishment stick which broke their knees and elbows. Today it is more modern - the family gets together and gives them a flogging with smaller sticks.

Tiwi Islands

Friday 23rd June 2006

100 kms north of Darwin the TIWI ISLANDS are Bathurst and Melville Islands. The Aboriginal population call themselves the Tiwi people. You can’t arrive on the islands unannounced and tour around – there are no facilities to do so. You must go with an organised tour or fishing group.

The Tiwi people are world famous for their art - traditional forms of paintings on bark and canvas, wood carvings, silk screened cloth, weaving and pottery. Paintings can be found hanging in major art galleries world wide. There are several art galleries on both islands. You can purchase directly from the artists. The Tiwis are also famous for their love of sports in particular Australian Rules Football with several men holding important positions in the AFL.

Nicknamed the Islands of Smiles, Tiwi people are coastal Aboriginals with a culture different to those on the mainland. Their strong traditions are still a very important part of everyday life today and they've successfully combined both traditional and modern lifestyles and have combined Christianity with their old culture/religion.

The Arafura Pearl
The shuttle bus picked me up around 7.30am from the hostel and dropped us off at Cullen Bay. The ferry the Arafura Pearl departed at 8.00am for a 2 hour trip to the Tiwi Islands. We had coffee at 8.15 and morning tea at 9am - chocolate muffin, cheese and biscuits, and a nice hot cuppa coffee. I had paid $20 extra to be on the upper deck which gave wonderful views of the ocean and it is so relaxing feeling the wind in your hair as you cruise on the water.

The Tiwi flag
The Tiwi flag is made up of part of the N.T. flag.

The stripes represent ochre that is used in their ceremonies and art.
The spear is a fighting spear and represents protection of the clan lands and the pukemani poles are male and female and the designs represent all the Tiwi clans.

The whole flag is pukemani.

As we neared Nguiu, we all carefully went from the ferry to another small boat which basically was a large piece of timber with drums underneath to keep it afloat. The Tiwi people were very friendly and greeted us with wide smiles.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Red Earthed Land

Out in the far far way we went
Along the dusty tracks
To where the sun beat down by day
And the sun slew back by night
Of an ancient land with clay red earth that white men never came
Until the time of sailing ships that change the face of this great land
A face that tweren't the same.

But out there in the dusty red earth desert of the wild
A dark man roamed with childer three and wife and family
The tribe for that is what they were
Lived freely off the land
And tended it with care and love
And doused it with their pains
Of lave and loving of this land

These people dark did dwell
And nurture it with passion true
And keep the land and tell
Their childer all of stories from the
Dreamtime land they came

A dingo calls across the plains
The winds howl across the skies and a tree rustles its leaves
Along the road by a dimly lit way
A waterhole gently laps
There comes a creature of the wild to drink in dissaray
Its tail droops and it takes its fill
Of life to slake its thirst

For in this land of red clay earth and soil and gums so tall
This precious water comes to fill the hollows of the land
With billabongs and coolibahs that stand in majesty
Unto a far horizon of wondrous sights to see.

Australia my country!
You are filled with many strange delights and
Those of great beauty
The cockatoo with snowy breats
And parakeets so bold
Their colours like a rainbow
That dance with blue and gold.

A tale to you now will I tell
Of raging thunderstorms
And lightning strikes and floodings
In this land of contrast fell
With heavy downpour
To a dry and arid land
A land so vast and huge and wide
A land with desert storms.

And as I looked up to the sky and saw the clouds did burst
With fervent prayer I asled for more to come to feed the earth
The lightning flashed across the skies
With bright and silver light
And landed on a tall ghost gum
That set the night alight
Then came the men with sacks of cloth
To fight this rolling blaze
A blaze so huge it rolled and span
Out of control of man
All through the nights these men of old
Did fight with all their strength
Their might and power of less accord
To quench the mighty length
Of bushfires burning, burning, burning
That did engulf the land

And after it did take its toll
Of foresty and flora
There are the blackened stumps,
And carcasses fills the nostrils
With burnt out aura

But then, then look! a new shoot comes forth
Comes forth to regenerate
And it will grow, grow tall and strong
Just like its parent grew
For fire is needed to replace
The old ones with the new.

And should you go one starry night
Out in to the far beyond
Remember those who came before
Helped make this future land so bright
A land so filled with contrast
Of power and beauty and might.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Darwin - June 2006. Shopping In The Top End

June 2006

Walking along the city streets sucking in all that hot air made for a thirsty stroll. The number of times my 600 ml water bottle was refilled was too numerous too mention. The streets were uncrowded, and unlike other capital cities there were very few pedestrians and motor vehicles. In fact, some of the locals were incensed that a set of trafic lights had been installed.

The Plaza, Anthony Plaza is a lovely mall with a shady rotunda and ample seating. A children's adventure play area nearby meant the mums and dads could take the weight off their feet and relax - a popular pastime in the middle of the day. Actually, a popular pastime whatever the time as the balmy warm air just begs for relaxation and doing nothing.

The Darwin Newsagency where I purchased my weekly copy of "That's Life" magazine. A kind lady took the photo for the pose.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Alice Springs - Camel Safari

Saturday 17 September:

After arriving in the Alice around noon, I did something that was on my "to do" list - went camel riding. Pyndan Camels had the best prices - so that decided me. I chose the Twilight Safari. Well not exactly chose - the other times were fully booked! As it turned out, the Twilight one was best because after the Safari was over, the camels had to be fed and we all took part.

Above: Shadows
On the safari, camels make long shadows.

Above: Camel train
The camel "train" had a maximum of 12 plus the driver. Riders are sorted according to height and weight. A young Chinese lass sat in front of me. (The heaviest sits at the back). I should perhaps point out, that since then I am no longer the heaviest having lost heaps of weight - but that's another story.:-)

Above: On Safari
Most of the camels had exotic sounding names. My camel, was called "B.J." Bit of a let down. Two little known facts about camels- 1. They have incredibly bad breath - yeewk! 2. The camel behind me kept on sniffing my camel' end. Seems this is what camels do - don't ask me why, I'm not a camel.

The first five minutes on the camel were incredibly scary. I was terrified I was going to fall off - silly thing for a grown adult, but there you have it. Had I been able to get off I would have done so. Fortunately I was not able to - get off that is.

After the first five minutes or so, I realised that if I moved my body in time with the camel's gait I was alright. Once you do this, it is a very relaxing and soothing experience. Camels have a very awkward movement and you sway this way and that. We saw some incredible scenery and joked that if the camel driver walked off and left us, we had no idea where we were.

Feeding the camels:
After the Safari was over, we all helped feed the camels and handle them. There were several babies amongst them.

We found them to be very gentle creatures and it was the most amazing thing being in the middle of the desert with the dying sun and the silence of the Outback. The man who owned Pyndan Camel Tracks was helped by his wife and their young son, who I think from memory was around three years old, was a delight

Above: Mother Zillion and 4 week old baby
The baby camels  were very cute and the mothers are very protective. Their hair is very soft.

Something hilarious
When you first alight from your camel if you think there's no "side effects" then think again. We found that none of us could straighten our legs, and all had to stand with our feet about this far apart (indicates with arms a distance of about 85 cm) and the only way to walk was to stomp one foot at a time as though our legs were in a permanent position. Everybody was in hysterics - we all looked so ridiculous, and almost split our sides laughing. It was just such a wonderful day and so rewarding an experience.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Alice Springs September 2005

Saturday 17th June 2005

Above: Welcome to Alice

Stepping off the train in the middle of Australia you feel a blast of hot air as the brilliant sun beats down and coats you in its rays. And coming from the southern state of Victoria it was a welcome feeling.

Above: Alice Springs Station
The station was a hive of activity and you feel like you have stepped back in time - a simpler time before the advent of computers and electronic gadgets. Finding the shuttle bus, people loaded up with backpacks, suitcases, cameras and other holiday paraphernalia, we all squashed in together happily like a pack of sardines and were on our way.

Above: Todd River
We marvelled at the sight of the Todd River - dry as usual. The sparse dry bed with gums and trees around its edges.