Darwin and the Outback

We did not really visit the Outback yesterday. Bushie, our guide pictured here, says the Outback is anyplace outside of town. Our tours were all within the town of Darwin, but the second photo, taken in Charles Darwin National Park, does show what the savannah is like, more sparse trees with a very distinctive grass, certainly different from the rain forest and other coastal areas we have seen in Australia.

Darwin is filled with remembrances of WW II, statues, memorial plaques, ammunition dumps, bunkers, parks, museums, and planters in the park shaped like anti-aircraft guns and pointed at the direction of the first air attack on the city. On February 19, 1942, the same Japanese squad that attacked Pearl Harbor attacked Darwin. The waterfront was destroyed as was much of the town. Hundreds of lives were lost. One memorial honors the Americans who perished on the USS Perry, which was sunk in the harbor but used its anti-aircraft guns until it was under water. I found myself thinking of Dad and his war time in Australia. I wrote a comment in the park saying how much my Dad spoke of Australia after he returned home.

Our last stop in Darwin visited the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This service, started by John Flynn as a mission to provide medical care to the stations and aboriginal people of the Outback, now serves someone every two minutes, over 300,000 visits a year. They have a staff of over 500 and are not government funded. They provide clinics and transportation for people who have to be in hospital. The museum there highlights the RFDS and also remembers the bombing of Darwin. Darwin sunset ends our time in Australia.

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