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Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Darwin

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?

Further reading:

6 comments:

  1. What a beautiful looking place. I'm not sure I have split Australia down into places on my bucket list. It is just listed as Australia at the moment. Though I know if I am ever in a position to go, I will need to do that :)

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    1. Australia is like America in the sense that it is big, and there is so much to see and so many places to visit. We just have much more empty space. If you ever make it down under, make sure you let me know. I'll show you around my part of Australia.

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  2. What an incredible location. Heaven for a water lover like me. Although I'm not that thrilled about the crocs, no speed limits, and cyclones. The beer drinking is okay as long as it's not combined with the the no speed limits.

    I wrote a prize winning story about a tiny island twelve miles off the coast of Maine called Monhegan. Not only have I visited the island, I've never been to Maine. I spent weeks researching the location, reading everything I could find and watching YouTube videos—amazingly helpful.

    At the top of my Australia to-visit list? Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, and Port Arthur. That's a lot of territory to cover!

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Haha. Funny V.R. The crocs really are a serious problem in the Northern territory. Your story and mine prove that you need to go to a place to write about it as though you have been there.I know Sydney well, although I know live outside of it, on the south coast. My wife and I visited Port Arthur a couple of years ago. Beautiful and haunting. Definitely worth a visit.

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  3. I write about fictional places, so I can't really go there. But as for Australia, I would love to go everywhere.

    Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

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    1. You can't go there except in your mind which is where everything is possible for writers. Do you write science fiction or fantasy, or do you base your fictional locations on actual locations? Just curious. I'm popping over to visit you soon, so I may answer my own question. Thanks for dropping in and for taking the time to comment.

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