Saturday, August 13, 2016

Outback Humour on the Stuart Highway

The Northern Territory and outback regions of Australia have long been known for strange humour, usually in the form of objects or signage. On this trip north, we revisited a few locations finding some of these oddities.

First, there is Pine Creek Hotel which had quite a large number of brassieres - and conjured up images (in my mind at least) of all these cheeky women lifting their T-shirts and removing their bras so they could donate them to the cause. Whatever cause that might be I’m not really sure. I’m sorry I missed them stripping off for posterity.
Also at Pine Creek was a collection of school identity cards, a few learners permits and drivers licences that people had allowed to be stapled to the wall. Given the current phobias people have about security and identity theft, I found it astonishing that people would leave a drivers licence with full name, address, date of birth, and a photo. Maybe this all happened before the world went crazy.
Then there was the Desert Marbles Hotel with its weather stone; As the sign with the stone says, if you look at the stone and it is::

  • wet - it’s raining
  • dry - it’s not raining
  • swinging - it’s windy

And I can't forget the sex sign - well, not quite a sex sign, but you get the drift.

At the Daly Waters Hotel we found dozens of ball caps that people had “donated” for posterity - none in really mint condition. You could spend a week just reading all the verbage and looking at logos on these caps and wondering on what heads they once belonged. I'll let you imagine what these looked like.

When I first arrived in the Territory in 1957 I knew it was different, a Wild West without the guns but as many larrikins and wild people. While the number of wild people and larrikins may have declined, the silly sense of humour still pervades and makes our Territory just a little more interesting if politically incorrect.

That has to be a good thing doesn’t it?


Saturday, August 06, 2016

The Devil's Marbles

The Devil’s Marbles is located south of Tennant Creek and north of the Devil’s Marbles Hotel at Wauchope (for some reason pronounced “walk up” which I could never understand).

In the “old days”, my parents and I used to visit Wauchope for the annual races event, which had several horses and a few races, but was really another opportunity for adults to consume vast quantities of beer and other beverages, mostly alcoholic. Me and other kids spent our time jumping in and out of the swimming pool since Tennant Creek in those days didn’t have one.

Today, the original Wauchope Hotel building still stands, but it has been improved somewhat with nice accommodation added at the back of the main pub building. New owners have given it a paint job and it looks very nice.

Outside is a lovely grassed area with chairs and benches where you can sit and eat your cooked lunch or dinner, sip away at a cool beer, or perhaps have a cup of coffee or tea. All are available.

The Devil’s Marbles attraction is huge and visited by almost everyone who passes by. It’s off the highway a short distance and juxtaposed by a largish caravan and tent parking area for which the NT Parks and Wildlife Department charges a nominal fee. There is an honour box and a permit one has to display on one’s car. Rangers do check, so it pays to be honest rather than be embarrassed by not paying.

We only stayed long enough to have lunch and a half hour or so to walk around and then continued north. When we visited there were dozens of people and numbers of Army vehicles were in transit apparently having been on exercise in South Australia.

You can see from the photos here what the Devil’s Marbles looks like. Another example of nature at work creating beautiful vistas for us to photograph and look at - and blog about!

On, on to Kakadu National Park …