War time and waterfalls. The two images, and experiences couldn’t be more far apart. And yet here in the Northern Territory we are spending time at both.
We swing by Adelaide River to round off our Australian war time history appreciation.
From 1939, with the build-up of WWII military activity, the town of Adelaide River took on a major role as the location of a huge military base, with the 119 Australian General Hospital, army camps and thousands of service personnel stationed in the town. Following the bombing of Darwin in 1952, it also housed the relocated Aussie and American military HQ.
We’ve stopped in Adelaide River to pay our respects at the third-largest war cemetery in Australia. The only war cemetery in the Top End, this is the resting place for 434 service men and women, and 63 civilians, all of whom died during the 64 Japanese air raids across Darwin and surrounds. There’s also a central stone in the cememetery which is a memorial to 287 service personnel lost in the Timor and Northern regions, who have no known grave.
The Adelaide River War Cemetery is situated on the banks of the Adelaide River in a tranquil and surprisingly lush little garden. Many of its occupants lives taken before they reached 40. The futility if war is always best pondered at the gravestones of dead soldiers.
The Squids lay grevillea flowers at the base of tomb stones and incredulous conversation about allied forces, war heroics and even God follow.
Some lines of conversation are too hard to follow for their growing minds. But it’s all feeding into their data-banks.
The town of Adelaide River also rose to prominence for less harrowing historical reasons – the completion of the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line. It became a popular stop over spot for travellers and gold prospectors enroute to Pine Creek.
We are en-route to Edith Falls for our own gold – in the form of a sunset.
An Edith Falls sunset
Part of Nitimiluk National Park, which we visited on our way through to Kakadu, we’re back in Jaowyn country again.
We arrive to a deafening chorus of cicada. Fitting, when we discover that ‘Nitimiluk’ means ‘cicada place’ – leading to the area being being renamed Nitimiluk in 1989 after its traditional owners gained title to the land.
We’ve arrived at sunset, and fall instantly in love with the pandanus fringed plunge pool. Plunge? It’d be rude not to! However we are out only minutes later when, contrary to park information, a local chaps tells us they trapped a salty croc just 10 days ago.
This is one waterfall and plunge pool we’ll enjoy from the sidelines!
Local aboriginal people, the Jaowyn believe that the falls resemble a frilled –neck lizard. It’s frills the golden escarpment, and the falls it’s tongue.
We’re disappointed not to see any real frilled neck lizards here. But we do spy Azure Kingfishers, and blue winged Kookaburras.
Dinner at twilight, another good old ranger delivered slide show and an early tumble into bed. Tomorrow we are heading slowly towards the NT / WA border and we need to get our beauty sleep!