Bits and Pieces
Open Garden Print E-mail
Monday, 02 May 2016 00:00

Even though the Open Gardens Scheme sponsored by the ABC has come to an end, there are st ill, occasionally, gardens that are open to the public. This month, on 29 May , the Top End Native Plants Society has an open garden at 150 Woodcote Crescent, Girraween. For more information go to au.

Darwin Symphony Or chestra Opera Gala Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 May 2016 00:00

A spectacular evening of ope ra is in store at 6.30pm on 21 M ay when the Darwin Symp hony Orchestra is joined by four of Australia’s opera superstars – Cheryl Baker, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Henry Choo and Victoria Lambourn – for a concert of fa vourite arias. At the Darwin Waterfront – take your own chair or rug and a picnic (no glass or alcohol permitted); gold coin donation.

U3A Meetings Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 12:52

Because of maintenance work being undertaken on the air-conditioning installation at Casuarina Library, there will be no U3A meetings (talks or mah-jong) from 26 April to 12 May 2016 (inclusive).

Have Your Say Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 20:01

In presenting our organisation’s financial situation at the Annual General Meeting last month, Treasurer in Office, Audrey Grace noted that the accounts for the last year showed a deficit of $4,950. In the discussion that followed it was suggested that some savings could be made in future by discontinuing the practice of placing obituary notices in the NT News when a member dies as each insertion costs $180.50, and instead recording the passing in the Newsletter.

This suggestion met with overwhelming support at the AGM; however, it was decided to consult members on a larger scale. If you would like to make your position known please call Judith on 8932 7545, leave a message at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or indicate your preference on the form which will be available at our meetings on 7 and 12 April.

Countries Study Group Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:59

This month, Jack Oliver will be taking us back to ancient Sumer for what promises to be an interesting talk. The meeting will be held at Lorna’s house at 3pm on 8 April (please note: not the first Friday of the month). For further information call Lorna on 8948 0411.

Sumer, a region of Southern Mesopotamia, is generally considered to be the cradle of civilisation; you can find out more about the Sumerians here.

Calling Interstate? Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:58

With the end of summer time, the clocks go back an hour on 3 April in NSW, SA, TAS, VIC and the ACT.

If you’re calling further afield, you may like to know that summer time started on 13 March in the majority of Canadian Provinces and US States, while European countries put their clocks forward by an hour on 27 March.

Making the web page print larger Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:58

If you sometimes find the text on a web page too small to read easily, you can increase the size of the print very simply: just press and hold the CTRL key while moving the wheel between the two buttons on your mouse in an upward (away from you) direction. As you scroll with the wheel, the size of the print will instantly increase. To decrease the size, hold down the CTRL key and move the mouse wheel in a downward direction. This option will also work in many other programs such as Microsoft Word.

Shopping in Darwin in the 1970s Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:57

Recent mention of another shopping franchise coming to Darwin made me wonder whether any members remember the following.

During the 1970s, Woolworths had their store on the same corner in the city that has been given a new lease on life recently, but it had a large car park in front. I parked there one day and went in to find the store almost empty. I commented on this to one of the assistants and she told me that all the people were round in Cavenagh Street, shopping at a new store there. I trotted round and about where Warehouse 73 is now was the new attraction; I'm not sure but I think it was a branch of Tom the Cheap from WA. Apparently they had to close the doors twice on their first day of trading to restock the shelves. You marked the shelf price on whatever you put in your basket: definitely no frills.

Later, a branch of Jack the Slasher, a warehouse-type store, opened somewhere in Winnellie. Whenever we came to the big smoke from Katherine, we always packed the esky in the car to stock up on the way home with all these new brands you never saw anywhere else. Those were the days when shopping was fun!

Fran Wickes

Heritage Festival Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:56

The National Trust’s 2016 Heritage Festival takes place from 18 to 24 April. Among the events on offer are a Ghost Walk in Goyder Road Cemetery, The Barbara James Memorial Lecture to be delivered this year by Graeme Sawyer who will be speaking on the theme Rediscovering a National Heritage, a Mystery Heritage Bus Tour and a sail across the harbour to Talc Head for a picnic.

For further information and to book go to or call 8981 2848.

Towers of Tomorrow Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:56

There’s still time to take the grandchildren in the April school holidays to this exhibition which features iconic Australian buildings as well as other structures from around the world constructed entirely of LEGO. The great diversity of models on show – shape, construction and architectural skill – makes for a truly magical display. And if you feel inspired by the exhibits, there are 20,000 pieces of LEGO available so you can create your own Tower of Tomorrow.

The exhibition runs until 10 April at the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT.

China Tour Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:55

Following on from the item in last month’s Newsletter, the program of the October tour of the Henan and Shaanxi provinces being organised by U3A Brisbane is now available by email. If you would like a copy please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

BIRDS – and other things! Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2016 19:52

Part forty-three: Birds and Bits

You can't have too many stories about birds I always say. At least I have said it a lot since I started writing these small articles for our Newsletter.

Now, however, I believe that it is time for me to broaden the subject matter and include more of the 'other things' on a regular basis – depending on editor and executive approval, of course! I do not want my readers to feel that I am giving a lecture, but if I know or come across interesting facts, I would really like to share them with you, so I will start off with a recent re-visit to the MAGNT (the Darwin Museum).

Paying particular attention to the bird exhibits, I was amazed at how life-like many avian specimens were, and I pondered on the skill of the taxidermist. Every feather or talon correctly placed, the precise angle of the head, or an eye with exact pupil location, or delicately balanced on one leg with an outstretched wing: all of these things in harmony with real-life body movement and attention to detail.

The expertise of the taxidermist comes with many years' study, and I really appreciate their art. But did you know that although they preserve and tan the skins of animals, they utilise ready-made 'mannequins' on which to mount the skins? When/if complete skeletons are not available, the stability of standing or even seated animals is paramount. In the absence of bones to use for the purpose of rigidity or reality on otherwise unsupported extensions, these substitute 'internals' are essential. The 'insides' were once moulded from wire and papier-mâché on site, but now specialised factories produce polyurethane foam arms, legs, ears, tongues, bodies and so on in many different sizes, shapes, poses and moveable joints.

The taxidermist simply selects and orders the essential parts of the specific animal from a catalogue and, voilà, the manufacturer delivers. Of course it may still have to be shaved, shaped, padded or otherwise adapted and modified to fit the skin, but just think how much easier it is now to stuff an elephant!

I guess 'progress' had to catch up even in the taxidermy profession.

Hope you all enjoyed St Pat's and had a Happy Easter.

Gayle Carroll

Christmas Lunch Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 January 2016 00:00

Many thanks to everyone involved in the organisation of our Christmas lunch at Rydges Airport Resort last December – it was a great success, as usual. And, once again, Gayle Carroll's quiz tested our general knowledge and showed up our poor lateral thinking. Congratulations to the lucky winners in the raffle: Inger Anderson, Fiona Douglas, Elaine Hirst, Marc Surmont and Anne Taylor. The Door Prize went to Judith Cooper.

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