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    quokka
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Top End Doctor - 17. Dr Chapter 17

Once breakfast was over, we climbed into the Land Rover and drove into town, where everyone was busy with the cleanup process, and once Toby and I had settled into our classroom to do some school work, Tim and Uncle James headed off to help, with Dean and Lance already out working.

Everyone returned to the yacht for lunch, which was served on the main deck outside dining area, as most people are fairly grubby, the women who have remained on the yacht to help out on board, dined separately in the formal dining room, where Toby and I joined them.

“Where have you two boys been all morning?” Ms Parker asked us, “In our classroom upstairs, doing our school work,” Toby responded, “You have a school room here on this yacht?” Ms Wright asked sounding surprised, and Toby nodded his head yes.

“Uncle James has arranged us to be home schooled, and we have a list of things to do each day, which is done through the NT Education Department,” I explained. “I see, maybe after lunch you can show us your class room, and assist you with your lessons, since we are of little use anywhere else at the moment, since most of the families including children were flown out of here the other night,” Ms Parker asked.

“I will ask Uncle James after we have finished lunch,” I replied, and the ladies looked a little surprised that they would need our uncle’s permission to see the classroom. “I see no harm in letting them help you with your schooling, Angela did informed me that the ladies look a little uncertain about what to do since the cyclone hit. So yes, they can teach you your classes,” Uncle James said when we informed him of the request.

Uncle James had kept the medical laboratory in place when in Darwin, as the lower deck beauty salon is a lot larger than the small medical room located on the forward main deck, crew area.

While the jacuzzi remained empty and covered, the lounge area has now become his medical office, with the sauna and shower area becoming a medical store room, and the cover of the jacuzzi has supplies boxes placed on top.

Ms Parker and Ms Wright were waiting for us at the top of the stairs, in the main saloon, to await an answer and I smiled to them, “This way please, ladies,” I said as I led the way to the main stairs and up to the owner’s deck, which is just one deck up from their cabin.

At the top of the stairs we exited outside and 5 metres aft to the next door, into the classroom. “Well, this is a well set up class room, computers, maps, books, educational DVD’s, I am very impressed, and what is this tracking line on the map?” Ms Parker asked.

“That cyclone which has been chasing us, Angela hasn’t given us the last co-ordinates yet to finish it off,” Toby replied. “I see, well let’s get settled in and see whare you are up to in your studies shall we,” Ms Parker responded.

“By the way there is a small kitchen located opposite the stairs we came up, if you need a cup of anything, and day toilets are located one deck up or one deck down,” I said to the ladies. Thankyou for that, we are starting to get used to the yacht’s surroundings now,” Ms Wright replied.

“With the school totally destroyed, along with a lot of the houses, in the area, I doubt that the school will be rebuilt for some time, so we will have to find alternative work, once we are able to return to Darwin,” Ms Parker explained.

“Tim has said that the road is closed between the Fog Bay Road turnoff, with Cox Peninsular road, and at the Sandpalms Roadhouse, because the two main bridges have been washed out,” I said to the ladies, “Well it looks like we are stuck here for a while then,” Ms Wright responded.

“The roads may be closed and the airfield may be too soft for landing, but there is always the yacht, as it is only a 3 ½ hour sail from here to Cullen Bay,” I informed the ladies. “That is good to know, Thankyou,” Ms Wright responded.

About an hour later, Tim entered the room, “Hey boys and teachers, hove you got everything you need?” he asked, and Ms Parker frowned, “No need for that Ms Parker, I remind you that you are here as our guests. I came with some news.

The cleanup crew have collected as much of the school supplies as possible, the computers are a right off, but we have been able to collect a lot of the school books and laminated posters. Some of the books are a little soggy, so they are in the process of been dried as we speak.

Also I wanted to let you know that the community sat down for a brief meeting after lunch, and it has been decided that in four days time, when a good amount of the cleanup has been completed, the yacht will be taking most of you back to Darwin in the yacht, that will include the managers of Crab Claw Resort and the staff not required staff at the roadhouse.

Harry has already been in touch with Emergency services in Darwin, to let them know of the situation out here, and know knowing that we are organised and have the supplies required at the moment, they will leave it up to us to continue the cleanup process,” Tim announced.

“You said most? Who will be staying?” Ms Wright asked, “George and Gladys, Gill Anders, plus Harry and Annie, to keep an eye on things. Once we have dropped you all off at Cullen Bay, we will refuel, restock with supplies and come back to Dundee Beach, as this where our new home is located,” Tim replied.

“Is that the place at the end of Launceston Road, with the big fences and big warning sign?” Ms Parker asked, “Yes it is, we like to enjoy our privacy, so we have built an extra strong house, and boat jetty, and we have everything we need there, including backup power and water supplies, and we had no damage to out house at all,” Tim replied.

“I see, we will keep it to ourselves then, so you won’t be bombarded with questions or visitors,” Ms Parker replied. “We have internet access on the yacht, so if you want to send any emails, then you are welcome to do so from in here,” Tim added, before leaving.

Later Uncle James told us boys that the meeting held earlier in the afternoon, had also come up with some plans for the next few weeks, with the Sandpalms roadhouse having received no damage to their buildings, still having power and recently received truck supplies of food and fuel, it is capable of surviving for sometime.

Those remaining at Dundee will stay at the Sandpalms motel, while the cleanup and repairs are made, with power out in the township, due to some of the power lines being above ground, with all properties east of Mermaid Circuit junction, having power but not west of there, which is why we have power at home too.

Apart from the school, there is the community social club hall, the fire station, and 70% of homes have been demolished, a further 10% of homes, the holiday park, Crab Claw resort and the other smaller privately owned accommodation places have been severely damaged.

Uncle James said that we have been officially accepted into the community progress association, and in doing so, Tim and I have pledged a large amount of money to pay for replacing community buildings, and constructing new buildings for the community, which will be financed once we have sold our home in Darwin, as they had already invested in other property before the cyclone hit the area.

A few days later, the yacht headed to Darwin, to take the residents out of the Dundee Beach area, until the cleanup is completed. While the yacht was being refuelled and supplies were being purchased, Tim and Uncle James took us home, where we began the process of packing up all of our personal belongings.

This wasn’t much for us boys, but heaps for Tim and Uncle James, including a lot of paintings and sculptures, which were very carefully wrapped for the journey to their new home, and we ended up spending the remainder of the day plus the next day, before all of the packing was completed, which included selling most of the furniture that wont be coming with us.

Tim has organised a freight company to collect everything and transport it to Dundee Beach, in a few days time, by cargo barge, along with some machinery that he had leased, to assist with the cleanup, namely two front end loaders and a dump truck.

While Tim was organising all of this, Uncle James had been working on another project, which was to purchase some land in Dundee Beach, namely four vacant blocks of land totalling 43 acres, located west of Sreepassair Road, and on the north side of Namarada Road, which is the main road into town, and these blocks back onto the airfield, plus eight vacant blocks of land, between Namarada Road, Balanda Drive and Prau Street, consisting of 20 acres, which they plan to use to build new infrastructures to the community.

Uncle James has also in a very short time, managed to convince the Territory government to pay for the upgrade of Fog Bay Road, which is the main road into Dundee Beach, and upgrade the airfield so it is raised and sloping slightly for better drainage, and also to have a parking apron, that will be directly behind the western block of land, on the north side of Namarada Road.

He has also managed to book a building company to spend six weeks building new sheds, the first to be a small terminal for the airfield, and an aircraft hanger, later there will be an 18 bay car park at the front of the buildings, and in front of that will be a the remaining trees and shrubs that will not be removed, and instead more trees and shrubs will be planted between the trees, a lot like at home.

Uncle James said that with all of the blocks of land he has purchased, he will be making sure that 40 metres of trees from the front boundary will remain along the street fronts, to keep the area looking nice. Next door to the right of the airfield buildings, will be 4 commercial sheds, suitable to leased out for semi industrial businesses, and each shed will have 6 parking bays at the front.

Next door on the corner block, there will be three sheds, each one able to accommodate 3 large vehicles and two trailers each, and each one will have a large storage rooms at the back of the sheds, and is being designed to provide space for emergency services, like the volunteer fire service, ambulance service and water rescue if that becomes available. This block will also have a 6 parking bays at the front, and 6 reserved parking bays on one side of each shed.

Finally on the last block in this row, on the opposite corner of Sreepassair Road, where there will be two American Barn style sheds, put end to end, with a four metre spacing, once the sheds are built, solid concrete outer walls will be made on the inside of the sheds, with just half a metre high and two metre wide double glazed windows, to allow sunlight in, but keep them strong to withhold cyclonic winds, and all windows in all the new buildings will have steel storm shutters installed for additional safety.

The American Barn style would be suitable for the community, as Uncle James plans to have two community meeting rooms, disabled, male and female toilets on one side, two community rooms and a commercial kitchen on the other side, with the central area to become a large community hall, suitable for lots of events.

The space between the two sheds, will become the entry lobby between the two sheds, with the second shed consisting of disabled, male and female toilets at one end, an office at the other end, and a conference room in the centre, with a folding door system to open up to the central area of the shed.

On the opposite side there will be four offices and a smaller office kitchen, while the central area will be a second community space. A spiral staircase accessed through a door next to the conference room, provides access to the mezzanine level, where there is a central open office space, and a large office at each end.

A car park will be located in front of this building, with 48 parking bays, and 12 more reserved parking bays will be located at the back of the building.

Copyright © March 2020 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights Reserved.
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Awesome chapter after every disaster it is time to rebuild, mych as the world has do after our current viral outbreak

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Tim and Jim ("James if you please, Sirrah!" 😂) must seem like angels to the Dundee community. They are true altruists.  

Quoka provides a realistic portrayal of the aftermath of a natural disaster. (I feel like I'm seeing the damage firsthand!)

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