Bits and Pieces
Twenty-five years of university education in the NT Print E-mail
Monday, 03 March 2014 15:04

2014 marks 25 years of university education in the Territory, and it is also 40 years since the creation of Darwin Community College and 35 years since the first students were admitted to the Community College of Central Australia.

The idea of setting up a university here was first floated in the 1950s and driven by a desire to reduce the interstate brain drain and to provide a base for research specifically related to the Territory's unique desert, tropical and social environments. However, it was not until 1989 that the Northern Territory University, created by a merger of the University of Queensland's University College of the Northern Territory with the Darwin Institute of Technology, opened its doors.

In 2003, the University underwent a further transformation to become Charles Darwin University, the result of a merger of NTU, Centralian College in Alice Springs and the NT Rural College in Katherine, and a partnership with the Menzies School of Health Research.

Today, CDU is ranked in the top 100 of universities around the world which are less than 50 years old, and has over 23,000 students enrolled, providing training and education not only to Territorians but also, thanks to distance learning, to interstate and international students.

Celebrations include a Gala Dinner on 22 March at the Convention Centre. For further information about the dinner and other events taking place throughout the year, contact Maryanne McKaige on 8946 6585 ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or go to

Lifeline Fund Raiser Print E-mail
Monday, 03 March 2014 15:03

At difficult times in their lives many Australians turn to Lifeline for help and counselling. To help maintain its services, the Top End branch of Lifeline is organising a fund-raising quiz night on 1 March at Casuarina All Sports Club.

For further details and to book a table, call 8920 6900.

What do you know about Uzbekistan? Print E-mail
Monday, 03 March 2014 15:03

Is anyone interested in forming a small group of members, maybe 4 or 5, to meet once a month to study countries? The idea is for each person to find out factual information about a country of their choice and to share the results of their research with the other members. It is not about holiday travel although this could be included. Members can use the internet (Wikipedia and Google Earth) and the library. People would need to contribute actively to the group. If anyone is interested participating call Lorna on 8948 0411.

City of Darwin Master Plan Print E-mail
Monday, 03 March 2014 15:02

The Draft Darwin City Master Plan was unveiled last month by Lord Mayor Katrina Fong Lim, Chief Minister Adam Giles and the Member for Solomon Natasha Griggs. The plan was funded by the Australian Government's Liveable Cities Program ($250,000) and $125,000 each from the City of Darwin and Northern Territory Government, and draws on previous planning documents, extensive stakeholder engagement and technical studies over the past year to provide a blueprint for the city's growth over the next 20 years and more. The draft master plan is up for public comment or submissions until 17 April; it can be found, together with the engagement report and a number of supporting documents, on the City of Darwin website at

At Burnett House Print E-mail
Monday, 03 March 2014 15:01

As part of its 25th anniversary celebrations, CDU will be publishing A History Written in Metal: Commemorative Plaques at CDU’s Campus 1972-2013. The book’s author, Dr Steven Farram will be presenting his work on 28 February at the first of this year’s National Trust and Historical Society lectures. The second talk takes place on 28 March when Wendy James will be speaking about Life in a Burnett House Post-War. The lectures are held in Burnett House, Myilly Point Heritage Precinct, Larrakeyah and start at 6pm. Entry is $5 for non-members or $2 for National Trust or Historical Society members.

Sunday afternoon teas at Burnett House have now resumed (from 3 to 5pm) - a sure sign that the dry season can’t be very far away.

English as she is spoken Print E-mail
Monday, 03 March 2014 15:01
We don’t often think about the way we put sentences together – they just come naturally - so it was interesting to read in The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth an analysis of the order in which adjectives are used. In English, he observes, adjectives go in this order: ‘Opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose-noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac’.
The Year Ahead Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 00:41

Here we are in 2014 and I hope it will be good to us all in our own personal endeavours as well as in U3A activities.

We need to have an open meeting in February to consider reducing Tuesday's meetings to twice a month. We also have to consider the difficulty of getting speakers. We had no speakers from CDU in the last two months of last year, and that relationship takes a lot of work.

I've said it so many times: everyone in U3A should make an effort to be getting speakers. If CDU is not forthcoming this year, it will be very difficult for us to continue.

I don't want to be too pessimistic, but it is important that every member comes to the meeting on 20 February ready to contribute to the discussion on how best we can keep U3A going, but don't think it is only for the Board members to be completely responsible, it's everyone's responsibility.

I'm sure we are going to have a very productive meeting with contributions from everyone.

Looking forward to a good year

Judith Cooper

Christmas Lunch Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 00:40

Many thanks to everyone involved in the organisation of our Christmas lunch at Kantilla's last November – it was a great success, as usual. And, once again, Gayle Carroll's quiz tested our knowledge and showed up our poor lateral thinking. Congratulations to the lucky winners in the raffle: Meg Angus, John & Jenny Bloomfield, Pat Fitzgerald, Judy Miller and Betty Woods. The Door Prize went to Ian Hancock.

Meet Author Susan Lattwein Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 00:39

Australian author Susan Lattwein will be discussing her first novel, Arafura, at 6pm on 6 February at Nightcliff Library. The novel is set in Darwin and follows schoolteacher Kat whose predictable life begins to unravel with the arrival of the magnetic but unpredictable Adam. This is a free event, but call 8930 0300 to reserve a place.

Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 00:38

When Paul Fölsche died on 31 January 1914, the Darwin correspondent of the Adelaide Advertiser wrote 'Mr Paul Foelsche, SM, LSO, for many years Inspector of Police here, and a resident of 44 years, died to-day, aged 83 years. Mr Foelsche shared with Mrs Tuckwell the distinction of being the oldest resident of the Territory.

He retained to the end a remarkable memory, and owing to his long and active service, he was a perfect encyclopædia on Northern Territory affairs and people. He had a remarkable knowledge of law and was said by many to be the best lawyer outside the bar in South Australia.' Fölsche is also remembered as a leading photographer of Territory life, and for his prominent role in the establishment of Freemasonry here.

To mark the centenary of his death, there will be a ceremony at his graveside in the Pioneer Cemetery, Goyder Road at 9am on 31 January followed by a reception in the nearby Masonic Hall, and - until 23 March 2014 - there is an exhibition in the Northern Territory Library showcasing his extraordinary photographic legacy chronicling the colonial development of the Territory.

Bombing of Darwin Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 00:38

In 2011, the Governor-General declared 19 February as a national day of observance, to be known as Bombing of Darwin Day. The day's events start at 9.30 at the Darwin Cenotaph with speeches, wreath-laying, a re-enactment and a gun salute. Throughout February, Casuarina Library will be hosting a Bombing of Darwin commemorative display.

In Print 20/20... Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 00:37

is the title of the current exhibition at CDU Art Gallery (Building Orange 12.1.02 on the Casuarina Campus) which celebrates twenty years of prints and printmaking in collaboration with renowned artists, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. The show features more than 100 works ranging from lithographs, drypoints, etchings, to woodcuts and screenprints from the University Art Collection displayed together in one exhibition for the first time.

It encompasses work by artists from remote area Indigenous communities and centres including the Tiwi Islands, Arnhem Land, Wadeye, Tennant Creek, Hermmansburg, Yuendumu, Alice Springs; Balgo, Kununurra, Broome and the Kimberley coast, as well as work by non-Indigenous artists from the Northern Territory and interstate. The exhibition runs until 21 February, and is open on weekdays from 10am to 4pm.

Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 00:36

Part Twenty-three: Weather and all that STUFF

Well, here I am, writing this in the nice new year of 2014, mid-January, and once again I pose the question: WHAT WET SEASON? But I guess that I must back-track and elaborate on notes I made in November and December last year in hopeful anticipation of the coming WET.
"This build-up time, before the wet season fully descends on us, seems different from last year, the previous year, and even the last dozen or so years. It seems more like the pre-monsoonal times we experienced 30 or 40 years ago. The air is inert and heavy with moisture. After midday the humidity rises alarmingly and the indoor temperature gauge reads 34.9?, and you feel you could slice it with a knife.

"This rising, heated wetness hovers sluggishly in the absolute stillness and is like a solid entity, filling all available space. Rather like a guest who has outstayed his welcome, pervading every nook and cranny in every room and pushing ponderously against eviction. The effort to find a cooler spot sends my small dog into paroxysms of loud panting as she tries hard to draw enough oxygen from the static atmosphere to sustain her life until the next climatic phase – hopefully beneficial and not too far away.

"Even our youthful resilience has evaporated over the last 40 odd years so all we can do now is reminisce about earlier times when movement and activity was so much easier for us. Even so, this quasi-return to real wet season conditions is welcome. Sudden thunderstorms and embryonic monsoon-type rains interspersed with hot, dry, sunny periods, with steam visibly rising from the heated bitumen, recall to many the frequent wet, windy, spontaneous rain squalls of yesteryear.

"Who knows – maybe the 'government rain' (4.15pm without fail, every working day, designed to drench all government workers at knock-off time of 4.21pm) will make a return as this wet season progresses."

As I continued reading the notes I had jotted down for the latter part of December, I decided that this was, perhaps, extreme wishful thinking. It was not quite the FULL ON wet season I had hoped for. Even so, periodic drizzly rains, overcast skies and distant thunder rolls, with the odd dry lightning storms appearing just tempting us to believe that the monsoons had arrived, were a notable feature at this time. My wee dog doing double duty as a thunderstorm barometer – hearing far-off thunder long before I could – would give me early warning to clear the clothes line if I wanted to avoid a wet re-wash.

Continuing last year's notes......"Nearing Christmas, the intermittent showers had rinsed the dry season's dust from roofs and leaves; the accumulated oil and rubber had been sluiced from the road surfaces, and a tinge of anticipation drifted almost imperceptibly in the air. The brilliant orange-flowered poincianas and African tulips, the yellow peltophorums, the purple and pink pride of India trees and the many coloured and white temple frangipanis have slowly shed their blossoms, often creating colourful carpets at their bases. Rapidly replacing the fallen petals was a new intensity of glossy green leaves; but this evidence of annual regrowth has been somewhat tempered by the forecast of an approaching low and the expectation of a wet and windy Christmas Day.

"And then came the media's constant use of those should-be-forbidden words (to us 'oldies' anyhow): Cyclone Tracy! It is almost forty years since Tracy wrecked Darwin, yet every year at this time, they manage to dredge up someone else to tell how they happily survived the 'night of terror' crouching under a bed with a bottle of rum or some such. When will the media (collectively) realise that most of Tracy's victims would prefer NOT to be reminded of that traumatic night, and just have a 'bad-memory-free' time at Christmas? I vote for NO MORE TRACY STORIES! Maybe we should register a new political party named NMTS."

Anyhow, that is my rant for 2013, and now a few words about January. After Christmas, the rain petered out and we were once again left with a faux wet season. The temperature climbed even higher; the humidity reached dizzying heights, and we all cursed a parallel rise in PowerWater costs as we perforce had to turn on our air conditioning during the daytime solely for survival. It was horribly hot and even the birds reacted to this rise, rise, rise with no rain relief in sight.

The bar-shouldered doves slouched around the yard almost too hot and lethargic to move. The crimson finches, prolific visitors to my patio bird feeder prior to Christmas, ceased to come, fewer peewees were to be seen and the ibis disappeared totally, searching elsewhere for food and water. And in the second week along comes 'will-he-or-won't-he' Dylan, the pretend cyclone. Poor Dylan – prematurely named and categorised, the over-excited meteorologists soon reclassified and downgraded his description to a 'low', a 'depression', a 'trough' and other belittling words. Dylan still managed to masquerade as a 'what could happen' warning for the cyclone season, but couldn't quite get up enough steam to do any real damage. But at the very least, he dumped some much-needed rain and brought cooler conditions.

Enough of my cynicism for now, though. I hope you all had great Christmas and New Year festivities. Next month will be an update on bird news, and I'll try to forget the weather aspect.

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