Category Archives: Darwin

A Bishops Castle

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Croc had learnt quite a bit about history and religion in his short visit to Wells. He was surprised how the two often went hand in hand. Darwin had a completely different kind of history to this country, and the Northern Territory certainly wasn’t the place for grand Cathedrals and huge, ancient buildings, more rock paintings and lots of red dirt! The cyclones in Darwin would flatten the stone structures he had seen so far and the heat and red dirt would stain the walls, like it did with everything in the desert regions. White was never really white in the Northern Territory!

As they rounded a corner, Bertie and Croc peeped out from the zip in the camera bag eager to see where they were going to next. They heard the birds before they saw them! Now if you have been reading Bertie and Croc’s adventures for some time you may recall Croc had a nasty introduction to swans (click here to read the post)……he wasn’t quite over this. There, in front of him, as they rounded the corner were……SWANS!

Croc tried to drive deeply into the bottom of the camera bag but he got wedged between the lens of the camera and the wall of the bag. Bertie, seeing his friend was in trouble, gave Croc’s tail a tug and pulled him loose. Bertie held Croc’s trembling claw and pointed to what was beyond the swans.

Croc’s eyes widened……it was a castle!!! He suddenly forgot the swans. Bertie explained that while Croc was wedged in the camera bag, they had stopped by a sign which told the story of a swan learning to ring a bell for his tea. The castle wasn’t a castle. It was called the Bishops Palace and the Bishop would often come out and feed the swans when he lived there a long time ago.

Croc was confused. Why would a Bishop need a palace? From what he had learnt from history so far, only Kings had palaces? Bertie explained that the Bishop was VERY powerful and that is why statues of the Bishops were next to those of the King of the Cathedral in Wells. The Bishop was worried that people would try to kill him so he built a palace with a proper portcullis and moat and EVERYTHING.

Croc was relieved when they moved away from where the swans were located. He relaxed and began to enjoy the view. It was a truly beautiful day. He began to wonder what it would be like to live in a palace……..?

Heading out

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As Bertie and Croc head out on a brand new adventure together they had no idea what to expect, but then thinking about it, they decided that they never knew what to expect anymore.

It had been a rollercoaster of adventure since they first met two years ago and they had no doubt that this time it would be no different. Bertie explained to Croc that he had decided that the feeling of fear and the feeling of excitement actually felt the same…..Croc thought about this for some time and observed the butterflies he felt in his stomach. Was he feeling fear or excitement?

Croc was about to leave the only home he had ever know and relocate himself with his best friend. Bertie had already been through this mixture of feelings, although the feelings never changed he had become so much more confident in himself from the bear he was two years ago when he had first moved to live in Australia.

Bertie and Croc had a rough plan and as they looked out of the windscreen of the 4 wheel drive camper van that was now to become their home for a few weeks. One thing was for certain, a whole new and exciting world was out there waiting for them, and it was time to move on!

Bertie’s pressed the pause button….

Bertie’s blogs haven’t been as consistent as usual this month. This is because Bertie and his ever keen travelling companion, Croc, are planning another adventure.

Bertie will try and continue publishing Croc and his UK adventures but it can be quite tricky and unpredictable with sporadic Internet connections, lots of red dust and bumpy roads….

Has he got you wondering where his next adventures will take him yet? 

Bertie and Croc thank you for your patience and continued support. 

All images and content copyright of Samantha Key 2016 

What are friends for?

Wow. Two years ago today Bertie and Croc first met. Croc had a different name then and over time he has developed the nickname of Croc.
It’s always good to start a story from the very beginning….

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Bertie and Colin May 2014

Bertie didn’t know much about friendships. He had always been a pretty solitary bear. He found that he had problems relating to other toys. They just didn’t seem to have had the same past as him and he found that his past did shape his views and who he has become.

Then one day, in a hostel Bertie found a friend…..under the bed, with a small layer of dust gathering on him, alone and abandoned, just like Bertie was Colin the Crocodile. Bertie was so shocked at first to see him there. As he started to speak to Colin Bertie began to realise that they had a lot in common. He had never met another abandoned teddy before and he felt a strange urge to help Colin. After all, it was not too long ago that Bertie was in the exact same situation as Colin.

Little did Bertie realise that…

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An adventure begins…..

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Bertie and Croc are on their way somewhere again. Even being seasoned travellers they still feel the excitement in their stuffing when they are travelling somewhere. Keep posted to find out where their next adventure will take them……

F* you Tracy!

The title of this blog is one of the comments written in dust on the back of the mangled wreckage of a car photographed in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy. Darwin’s Museum and Art Gallery has a great array of interesting photographs and personal accounts of what happened when the tropical cyclone hit Darwin on Christmas Eve in 1974.

When Cyclone Tracy hit in 1974 it killed 71 people and cost A$837 million in damage. It destroyed more than 70% of Darwin’s buildings, including 80% of houses. There were more than 41,000 out of the 47,000 inhabitants of the city homeless and it caused the evacuation of over 30,000 people.

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A plane at the local airport, picked up by the cyclone and wrapped around a building.

Whilst travelling through the Kimberley two years ago I met a Grey Nomad (travelling retired person usually with a caravan in tow) who had survived Cyclone Tracy. I want to recount the story he told me. I can not recall his name so for the purpose of this post we shall call him John.

It was Christmas Eve. John had been living in the local caravan site with his dog whilst he was working in Darwin. He had gone out to a Christmas party with work and was looking forward to a few Christmas Eve drinks to wind down after the intense working week he had had.

The weather had had been pretty windy and stormy and on Christmas Eve it had really begun to pick up. John wasn’t too worried as the forecast had warned about a cyclone passing near to Darwin but it wasn’t on course to hit Darwin itself. A bit of wind and rain and tropical storms were nothing for the wet season in the Top End. What John didn’t realised, along with many others was the cyclone had changed direction at the last minute and was going to hit Darwin head on.

As the weather got wilder John began to get more and more concerned and decided to travel back to his caravan to collect his dog, then return to a safe place to wait out the storm.

By the time he managed to get to the caravan the cyclone had started. Knowing that he would not have enough time to get back to the safe place he decided to wait the cyclone out. Placing a table on top of the sofas in the caravan he sheltered underneath holding his dog. He had tied the flapping skylight on the roof of the caravan to the heaviest thing he had….his fridge. He watched in horror and shock as the cyclones’ strong winds ripped the skylight out and took the fridge with it. It was then he began to realise he might be in trouble. Shortly afterwards a piece of twisted tin sliced through the caravan cutting it in half and devastating the other side to the one he was sheltered in.

As the winds began to die down John realised that he was in the eye of the storm and had limited time to seek proper shelter before it all started again. Climbing out of the rubble he pushed his dog through a hole first and climbed through after him. There were a few people were milling around looking confused and helping others. John’s thoughts immediately went to an elderly man called Tom who lived in a make shift tin hut on the same plot of land. John ran to Tom’s hut only to find it completely flattened, folded neatly in on itself. After calling the Tom’s name he heard a faint reply and they began to move the debris. Amazingly the elderly man was safely hidden underneath his flattened house. John pull him to his feet and they made their way to a concrete shelter where a few others were also sheltering.

The second round of Cyclone Tracy started. The winds picking up, sheets of tin from houses and buildings flying past. John stood in the doorway of the concrete building as there was limited space, feeling it swaying and rocking in the strong winds with his dog safely tucked beside him he held on tight and waited for it all to stop.

 

This amazing story is one of many reminding us of the power of mother nature, as well as the kindness of neighbours.

All photographs in this post are displayed in Darwin’s Museum and Art Gallery.

Cyclone Tracy
Tin roofs wrapped around a telegraph pole

Sweetheart

Sweetheart Blog post
Never smile at a crocodile! 

Bertie has met some interesting characters on his travels. Some would even say he has become a little nonchalant to unusual sights. A recent trip to Darwin’s Art Gallery soon changed that and reminded him that you need to be alert at all times, especially if you are near water and in the Northern Territory.

Yes, that beautiful green blue tropical water might look enticing and pleasant on a warm humid day but there are creatures living in there which might find a small bear a tasty snack.

Here is an appropriate moment for Bertie to introduce Sweetheart, a HUGE 5.1 metre saltwater crocodile. Yes, you heard him right, SALTWATER as in SEA!

Don’t be fooled by Sweethearts ironic name. If you listen carefully to the commentary at the Art Gallery you will learn that Sweetheart was responsible for a series of attacks on boats in Australia between 1974 and 1979. He attacked outboard motors, dinghies, and fishing boats. In July 1979, Sweetheart was caught alive by a team from the Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission, but unfortunately drowned while being transported when he became tangled with a log. The crocodile’s mounted body is now on permanent display at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

After all this excitement Bertie needed a nice cup of tea, he is a British bear after all, and went to the Museum and Art Gallery’s cafe, Cornucopia, which he can highly recommend as, although there was a view of the ocean there were no crocodiles in sight!