East Point Beach
I had more luck with my quest to contact Stephen. When doing some casual shopping at a nearby deli, I was served by an attractive and friendly lady from Arnhem Land called Heleana. One night I arrived at the shop as it was about to close, and Heleana was bringing the signs in. In the near distance some fireworks lit up the sky. We watched and chatted, and it was then I found out that Heleana was from Arnhem Land, and I mentioned my wish to contact Stephen. Stephen turned out to be her cousin, and although she did not have a contact for him, she was sure she could track him down for me.
We met again a couple of nights later, at the Indigenous Music Awards at the ampitheatre in the Botanic Gardens, a great night of music awards and music which culminated in a performance by Geoffrey Gurrumul. Heleana received a text message from a nephew, indicating that Stephen was in the crowd, and would meet us at the gate after the concert, but because of the darkness and the crowd, this meeting did not take place. The next day, however, I got a phone call from Heleana, who had met Stephen in a supermarket, and she passed on a mobile contact for him.
Later that day Stephen, his two daughters, and Lorraine, their mother called in. Lorraine Williams is an ethnobiologist, with parents from Darwin and Croker Island, and has combined her knowledge of growing up with native plants and animals and her academic studies to form a considerable knowledge pool. Lorraine works with an Aboriginal Women’s Heritage group, which conducts surveys of various sites and produces pamphlets, brochures and reports on their invaluable explorations.
Lorraine & Stephen
I gave Lorraine a copy of “Commandant of Solitude – The Journals of Collet Barker” which covers the period when Barker was the Commandant at the Fort Wellington settlement in Raffles Bay, not too far from Croker Island, and which was visited by Barker during his tenure. We also arranged to meet later in the week, as I was keen to view a DVD called “Wiril Canoe” which shows the making of a dug-out canoe on Croker Island in 1971, perhaps the last to be made this way.
A day or two later I was able to track down another copy of the Barker Journals for Heleana, who apart from being the friendly face in the deli, is also a student at Bachelor College south of Darwin on her days off. I am hoping one day to go back to Fort Wellington, and to explore it together with the friends I have met on this trip.
Molly, Bob, Heleana
Other activities to fill in the time in Darwin included attending the Nirvana nightclub and restaurant nearby, in particular the Tuesday night ‘Jam sessions’ and a weekly game of golf at the gardens course, with a small but friendly group organised usually by my brother Max, but who, along with Sharyn, was visiting their daughter Penny and family in Botswana. The Nirvana is a good place for amateur muso’s to have a play, but also features some of the best in Darwin at times. A great place on a Tuesday night. My golf sessions were good practice for the eventual play-off for the Donald Wilkie Innes Memorial Trophy, more affectionately known as the “Scrotum Cup”.
Eventually, Max returned from Botswana, my other brother Dean returned from a trip to Holland with his wife Willie, and we played off for the “Scrotum” my practice on the course proving invaluable as my brothers roamed the planet.
A trip to Lichfield Park, with Max, and a balmy evening meal or two later, and it was back to the green, beautiful and varied Adelaide Hills.