Monday, 28 December 2009

Gurrumul Wows Them in Paris - with Sting

I am a parochial fan of the aboriginal musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunipingu, commonly spoken of as Gurrumul. Fantastic melodious voice and he mostly sings in the local aboriginal language, including parts of this duet.

He is a very talented muso, and incidently, blind from birth.

Recently while performing as a single gig on the very highly rated French TV music show Taratata just prior to Christmas, he also featured in a great duet with Sting singing the Police classic song -" Every Move you Make". While Sting definitely seems to hog the limelight, there has been a fantastic response from the French audience, as well as locally in Darwin.

He wowed audiences AGAIN during this European tour.........

See it here - . Audio quality is not great hi fi, but adequate!

or watch it yourself:

There are many written reviews about the duet as well, and they will turn up in a Google search.

Friday, 25 December 2009

The End of the Drought?

As ex tropical cyclone Laurence moves east across temperate Australia, it is delivering flood rains to much of western and south western NSW, after already dumping heavy rains across the inland areas. Rainfalls of over 100mm, and up to 200mm, are being predicted for many areas of NSW and South west Queensland over today, Christmas Day and through to tomorrow. This is the best one day and two day falls in over ten years!

Many rivers and low areas are expected to flood. Some have already. BUT, hey......this might be drought breaking rain.

The national met bureau says it rain clouds across eastern Australia.

Monday, 21 December 2009

What a Blow - Cyclone Laurence!

Cyclone Laurence is crossing the NW WA coast as I write this, with winds around 290km/hr, a Cat 5 cyclone.

Although the area is relatively uninhabited, poor old Sandfire Roadhouse is getting a big blast .......AGAIN. Not a nice Christmas present.

This is real "Cyclone Alley" in Australia.

For more read:

There is a link to the cyclone track here -

It is likely to bring refreshing rain and winds predicted above 100km/hr to Central Australia over the next few days, and might extend the rain into the dry western areas of NSW as well after that.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Can't Get Christmassy

I just can’t get Christmassy. It seems to happen regularly in this environment, around this time of year.

The tropics, especially in the Southern hemisphere are just not conducive to thinking Christmas.

It is stinking damn hot – humid, hot, very hot, hot and very hot, mostly without too much rain, just enough for the ground to be wet from a shower or storm so when the sun comes out after rain it is around 95 – 195% humidity. You sweat [ note SWEAT – even ladies do more than ”glow”] while standing still in this weather. It is very hot and tricky to get Christmas cooking done, let alone to ensure the products can be kept in good condition for Christmas.

Then there is the issue that school and the academic year finish in early December in Australia, and the long annual vacation starts. This is geared around the temperate cycle of southern Australia, where these sorts of decisions get made or were made in eons past, to be imposed on those hardy souls in the tropics. In the northern hemisphere education is not in vacation mode at this time.

Because of this, everyone wants things completed before they go away.

Around this point, and the fact that the weather is about to get very wet, and even more humid, every contractor and workman is urging forwards to finish work, so they can either go on holidays too, or to get it all done before very wet weather sets in during monsoonal periods, making outside work difficult, while still complaining about the hot weather.

It is also the time for cultivating and planting crops, pastures and hay fields. If that is not done in a timely manner, then they do not grow well, and poor outcomes result. Once again, it makes for a time constrained, stressful, critical period........and not too easy to feel Christmassy, or find the time to feel that way.

I think of the northern hemisphere and the tabloid depictions of Christmas – snow, inside warm houses, short days, cooking and general Christmas preparations and lovely glowing Christmassy lights. Work is slacking off a little, after the more frantic activities of the days of summer and fall when a lot of outside construction and agricultural work is done. Education and academia are well into a new academic year, and while there is a break around Christmas, it is not the 6 - 12 weeks seen in Australia. Sure, it is cold, but then that is part of the Christmas ethos, and also related to warm plum pudding and similar goodies.

It is hard to get Christmassy – too time poor and it is too hot, and people are too busy.

It is not about being like the Christmas grinch or the rest of the anti- Christmas forces. It is not about anti religious zeal or anything related to Christianity. One would like to be Christmassy, a bit more upbeat about the celebrations and all they mean. Please find me a bit of spare time.

So what is to be done?

Some wags have a Christmas in July celebration here in Darwin. But that is a bit hard, when NO ONE else does that.

Is the option to go north for Christmas an answer, succumb to the cold of the northern hemisphere? Will that recreate part of the Christmas spirit?

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Update - on a Cyclone for Christmas

It by passed us, but as I write this on Wednesday evening Darwin time, it has developed significantly, moving west and south west in the Timor Sea close to the NW of WA, but generally staying offshore.

This morning it quickly ramped up from a category 2 [ late last night] to a category 3 and then by mid morning had moved to a Category 5 - the highest, and was skirting the coast. It crossed the NW Western Australia coast near Cockatoo island, an isolated area, an hour or two ago as a category 5 cyclone - with winds to 285km/hr, although now weakening slightly to a Category 4 system, and winds have fallen by 30 - 50km/hr, and continuing to fall as the cyclone moves across land. However, now the small township of Derby is in it's path. Tropical Cyclone Laurence is not done YET!

All we had was a rather damp weekend - with a mere 385mm of rain over the weekend. There were some local areas around Darwin with over 450mm over the weekend, and it was wet wet wet, with some wild winds to around 100km/hr. Today here was overcast with very high UV levels and ocassional sunshine [ I know about the UV - got a bit sunburnt while outside working - building a new oval], with monsoonal showers and a late storm.

The rain is vital to our area, even if it all falls over a short period. At least our local water dams are close to full from this wet event, so that is great.

Friday, 11 December 2009

A Cyclone as a Christmas Present?

Been there done that, as they say!

We have a cyclone brewing up NE of Darwin, and moving slowly west into the Timor Sea. The metereological models show the system continuing to move west, out into the Timor Sea, maybe even going a bit SW. It is still a tropical low, but development to a cyclone is expected over the next 24 hours

But the models are not perfect, and as all the major cyclones to effect Darwin including the devestating 1974 Christmas present of Cyclone Tracy have brewed in the Timor Sea, one is always a little cautious when one is developing in that area. Cyclones are notoriously fickle in their direction, although the tools for survelliance are much better in 2009 than in 1974.

It is predicted to be a damp weekend. Dampness = cloud cover = a bit lower temperatures, so that will be a possible relief.

A quite vigorous strom hit the Darwin area last evening, around 2100hrs, with some brilliant lightning shows. Winds to over 80km/hr, plenty of broken tree branches today, but that is modest compared to cyclonic winds.

It will be a weekend of careful watching.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

England to Darwin - by AIR

Today is the 90th anniversary of the arrival in Darwin of the first plane to travel from England to Australia BY AIR.

The Vickers Vimy plane piloted by the Smith brothers [Ross and Keith] arrived here about 1530hrs on December 1o 1919, effectively creating the air route between Europe and Australia.

The outcome of this feat was the creation of the Queensland and Northern Territory Air Services, or more commonly known as QANTAS.

There will be a modest remembrance this afternoon, near the cairn at Fannie Bay, where they crossed the coast to then land on the airstrip, which is now Ross Smith Avenue, in Fannie Bay.

A previous post also discusses the road travels by the pioneers who had to build airstrips further south in the NT and Queensland for the participants in the air race. Yes, it was a race, with a prize equal in value to about A$2.5 million today, offered by the Australian government.

It was a very major achievement, and rarely thought about today, especially outside Darwin. Darwin has been, and still is a major entry point for the welcome and unwelcome visitors to Australia - right to the present with many refugee boats arriving here, or heading to here [ often intercepted before getting this far], vigorous and frequent Japanese bombings in WW2, Vietnamese refugee boats, the original England - Australia telegraph cable and others.

More detail - click on the link:

Some photos to come later.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Is it a taxi or not?

Seen recently.......and I am unsure of the real intent.