Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Barunga 2007

We had nothing planned for this long weekend but the weather was so fine and there was so much neither Sam nor I wanted to spend the time at home.
What should we do? The list of options at this time of year seems limitless! Two major events were the Greek Glenti and Barunga festival. The Glenti is held in Darwin on the esplanade and we've both been there several times, actually when I first arrived in Darwin back in 1997 it was Glenti weekend and the 'everything Greek' event was my first impression of Darwin's festive style!
So on Friday I started working on getting Sam interested in Barunga! Fortunately she was keen to go also and after a very late start we headed out there at about 12:30 pm on Saturday afternoon.
Although a fairly long drive for such a short stay it was great to be out on the road. We arrived at Barunga at about 5:00 pm payed our $10 entry fees and set up camp. I couldn't believe it!
Just $10 for (if we had more time) a whole weekend of entertainment, sports, cultural performances and a rock concert packed full of great outback bands that we never get to hear in Darwin!

The Road Safety Song competition was really cool and the bands' ability to communicate with their audience, combining socially responsible messages with good solid rock and a deadly stage presence was an absolute blast! Just when we thought the concert was over everyone was directed to the 'Main' stage where the concert began in earnest!

The main stage was awesome! There were illuminated sculptures of various traditional rock art images surrounding the fully lit stage. We stayed for a while but were so tired decided to head back to camp, about half a km away, where we could easily hear the bands playing on through the night.

On Sunday we wandered around the various stalls, watched some sport and then went over to see Yamba the honey ant (from Imparja TV) performing for the kids.

Yamba the Honey Ant

Before we left we stopped at a spot where a drumming group from Darwin had set up camp and were encouraging people to choose an instrument and join right in... so... we did! The drumming was really cool and heaps of people gathered around then in a break the guy who was playing on a proper drum kit hopped off for a rest and encouraged some local kids to give it a whirl. One kid, about 10 years old, jumped on and gave a couple of taps with the sticks, his mates were all laughing and egging him on. The boy looked like he was about to bolt or walk away embarrased but then instead of leaving, and with a crowd gathering he picked up both sticks gave a few more taps... Then... He launched into a full on riff building momentum and leaving most of the rest of us behind! He exploded into a full blown solo for about two minutes then came back to a point where the rest of us could join in, this went on for about 10 minutes and a great crowd had gathered standing and staring in wonder at this kid who was giving what at the time seemed like the greatest drum solo of all time!When he stopped playing he just got of the kit and went off with his mates to try the next fun thing at the fair!

Drumming for joy

This we thought was the perfect time to leave, nothing was going to top that performance. On the other hand chances were that little spot fires of awesomeness would break out unpredictably for the rest of the weekend; if we didn't make a move now we might find ourselves staying another night and returning home on Monday afternoon to a starving dog. So we left.

The whole event was alcohol free and I have to say I didn't notice a single drunk person the whole time I was there! There was a breatholizer on the way in and out of the community, which would have deterred drink drivers but I think what made it a real success was the respect people have for abiding by the alcohol ban. It made such a difference to be amongst a sober crowd and is so much more pleasurable for those of us who do not drink! Barunga rates No. ! in the 'No Humbug' stakes! I remember driving past Bass in the Grass, another so called 'alcohol free' event a few weeks ago. It seemed just about everyone we saw walking from the car park to the gate was madly knocking back as much booze as they could get into themselves before entering the concert! I have no regrets about missing that particular concert and am sure I saw the cream of Northern Territory talent at Barunga.

Cheeky Cocky

Thanks to the Barunga community for their hospitality and for hosting this festival. It was the first time I have been after 10 years of living in the N.T. I hope I can return next year.

hooded parrot
Male hooded parrot on crane

On the way home we stopped at the Pine Creek railway and were lucky to see a family of five Hooded Parrots!

Cycling against Cystic FIbrosis

I forwarded myself the link to this story about a week or so back, but haven't had the time or energy to do any blogging. So here's the story.
A bike around Australia
Another great adventurer cycling around Australia for a noble cause. A fella by the name of David Nelson has recently left Darwin on his journey around Australia riding a bike styled from a 19th century design. He is replicating an amazing journey apparently made between 1893 and 1905 when roads and services would have been scant and rather crude too. The purpose of his ride is to raise awareness and money for for the Cystic Fibrosis Australia.

More about Cystic Fibrosis.

David started out from Brooklyn, Sydney on the first of March and is currently on his way across the Kimberly, too bad I only found out about this trip a few days after he'd left Darwin. We will be headed to Broome in a couple of weeks so it may be possible that I'll see the guy on the road, but not likely.
Anyway I thought it would be good to give him a plug and to add a couple of links. I particularly like the fact that he is doing the trip using such old technology,right down to his panniers which look like they were hand sewn out of canvas and leather. You can follow his progress HERE

Donations can be made to Cystic Fibrosis Australia.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A full day at environment expo

I only have time for a brief post today and just wanted to say we had a ball at the Environment Day Expo on Sunday.
There were more stalls that last year and great music too! My daughter and I rode down on the cruiser bike, packed with all we needed for a day on the Museum lawns. The day was kicked off with a speech by the Environment Minister and continued on with a full program of key speakers on various environmental issues.

Ms Marion Scrymgour

Unfortunately I missed the key note speaker as my darling daughter refused to sit still in the Auditorium!
The Living Rivers talk was quite interesting though and highlighted the need for community action to help guard our rivers from destructive and un-sustainable developments.

There were heaps of evidence that the environmental awareness is growing in Darwin, the challenge now is to increase and improve the quality and quantity of activities that are stemming from that awareness! Meeting with a member from the Girraween Landcare group I was reminded that what is needed is real people spending real time working for and in their natural environment.

BicycleNT was another group I was hoping to catch up with at the Expo. The new bicycle advocacy group based in Darwin has only been formed in the past year and already has a great website and a fair number of members. I'd really like to have time to get involved with this mob, there's so much scope for activities in the Darwin area.
BicycleNT stall

So we arrived at 10:30 and stayed till stumps! Had a fantastic time and I met people I'd only ever communicated with by email. It was as close to a perfect day as I've experienced in quite a while. Thanks also to the Giant Panda who managed to turn up just in the nick of time when my daughter became restless and looking for something more to do. In the afternoon I had a lovely swim to cool off and we eventually headed home as Shellie Morris was wrapping up her final set!