D is for Darwin
“A mouthful of Carlton Draught cleansed his palate and helped him decide against continuing with the steak. He had lied to the waitress, but it was high time he stopped kidding himself. Darwin beckoned. He was due back at Coonawarra where he would be officially deemed fit for a return to duty. He imagined the harbor surrounded by scenic mangroves and pristine tidal waters. It was larger than Sydney harbor and littered with sunken ships from World War II, Cyclone Tracy and confiscated Indonesian fishing vessels: a number of which he had been responsible for in the execution of his duty. Duty. Even the word had a bitter taste so he swallowed more beer to wash it away. At that moment, the thought with which he had been toying, became a definite injunction. It was time to leave the Navy.” - Excerpt from chapter 12 of Ashmore Grief
Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory in Australia, and is actually closer to Jakarta, Indonesia than Australia’s largest city, Sydney. Founded in 1869, it was named after the famous naturalist, Charles Darwin who visited the then unnamed harbour aboard HMS Beagle in 1839. Although the gold rush caused a temporary boom in Darwin it was events during World War II which put this remote northern town on the map. It was attacked 64 times by the Japanese, with the loss of 231 lives, and was a major base of operations for Allied Forces against the invaders from the north.
Famous for crocodiles, beer drinking, no speed limit highways and cyclones, (the worst of which completed destroyed the city in 1974) Darwin offers a relaxed, cosmopolitan, tropical atmosphere, and a wonder land of natural beauty. It has been described as a bustling and beautiful melting pot, and the cultural centre of the alternative Top End lifestyle. It is Australia’s multicultural gateway to Asia.
Although, much of the action in Ashmore Grief takes place in Darwin, I have never been there, but it’s on my list. Writers, what real places have you written about without actually having visited? Readers, what places in Australia are on your "to visit' list?