Darryl Somers said in the adds for the Northern Territory: 'You will never never know if you never never go.' I hadn't put the connection between that ad and the book 'We of the never never.' But this area of the Northern Territory is called 'Never Never.' After the book and the film (1981) featuring Annandale's Angela Punch McGregor. Someone said they call it the 'Never Never' because if you come to love it then 'you will never never want to leave' and if you don't like it 'you will never never want to go back.'
And it really is that sort of extreme place.
We arrived in Mataranka late on Tuesday night and stayed at the Territory Manor. It was lovely waking up on Wednesday morning to grass around our Caravan (something we won't take for granted for a while) and then while we were having breakfast a peacock walked past. The Manor has lots of pet Peacocks.
The kids and I went to the 9:30am session of Barramundi feeding at the Manor dam. It was amazing - seeing the Barramundi swallow a man's hand - to get a piece of bait.
The big termite
Well you have heard of the Big Pineapple, the Big Oyster, and Big Banana. Mataranka has the 'Big Termite Mound.' Amazing but true. A talking termite mound in the center of the town, just like John Laws is the talking dog at the Queen Victoria Building. But they told me that sadly the talking termite mound had broken.
We of the never never
I had heard of 'We of the never never' but hadn't paid much attention before. But Jeannie Gunn wrote a book about her 1902 experiences in the region around what is now known as Mataranka. And in 1981 there was a movie of the book produced by Philip Adams and Kerry Packer. Apparently it was Australia's first huge budget outdoors epic. It is shown every day at a bar in Mataranka at midday. We went and watched it. It was an alarming insight into the way aborigines were treated at that time and also how tough life on the early territory stations was.
One of the shocking things was to see the flood level marker on Australia Day 1988. I asked the barman if he was there at the time. He said yes and that it wasn't much fun. (check the marker at the top of the photo).