It is six days short of two months since I lobbed in Darwin, but finally, tomorrow, the eighteenth of June, I shall be flying to Croker Island. Here I will meet the residents, learn what I can of their culture, and share what I can of their history which my research has revealed, hopefully a productive and mutually satisfying experience all around.
The pace of things up here is fine by me. I have done research on the Macassan culture and their search for the trepang in the waters of Raffles Bay during Barker’s time as Commandant. I have come across the booklet of the Historical Society’s expedition to Fort Wellington in 1966, and I have found out all I can of the Iwaidja people, prior to actually meeting them. During the last few days I have found some photographs on line of the Iwaidja, taken in the 1880’s by the Police Inspector Paul Foelsche. I have copied some of these images into my lap-top, and if it is appropriate, I will show the people of Croker these images of their ancestors, as well as sharing with them the stories recorded by Collet Barker in his journals of 1827-28, and of his interaction with the Iwaidja of that period.
I have also squeezed in a trip to Katherine while John and Sue were up here on a visit, done some jamming at the Nirvana night spot, watched a movie under the stars, and dined on the wharf as the sun sinks and the moon rises. Darwin is a great spot to go slow, and the weather is magnificent, not exceeding 33 degrees maximum, or 20 odd degrees minimum.
Tomorrow, at nine thirty a.m., I fly out of Darwin for Croker Island via Goulburn Island, which means a good look around on the way, and when I return from Croker, in a week or thereabouts, my northern mission will be complete, and I can look forward to going back home to the Adelaide Hills, where the maximum temperatures seem to be somewhere between twelve and fifteen degrees. Did I just write that???!!!!