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Top End Doctor - 20. Dr Chapter 20

“Six property owners, who are in that area I specified, came forward, wishing to sell their blocks to us, so we have 4 more adjoining our existing purchases, plus the two large blocks on the north end of Namarada Drive.

I think the two large blocks will be used to provide accommodation, while the other four along with two more existing blocks, will be turned into a jungle park for the community, with raised boardwalks, dry and wet creek beds, and some ponds, and maybe a gazebo or two,” Tim announced.

“We discussed it last night, and we would like to invite you five to our home at the end of Launceston Road, for Lunch, so you can get an idea what our tropical jungle garden looks like, and that is how I would like to make the community park into,” Uncle James announced.

“Wow, we get to see the secretive private sanctuary, this is indeed an honour,” Alice said, and Tim and Uncle James chuckled at this comment, “We will try and fine a day with clear weather, although that is virtually impossible during the wet season, but we will find one somehow,” Tim said.

“We are departing at 10 am, so if you have any last minute shopping to do, I suggest you get moving,” Angela announced, and our guests quickly finished breakfast before heading to Casuarina Shopping Centre, meanwhile Uncle James headed to his office downstairs, and Toby and I headed for the upper Jacuzzi, to relax for a while.

When they returned just before 10 am, they had Brian Hunter with them, and he was carrying luggage with him. Toby and I were in the main saloon, and Tim was chatting to the two lads when they arrived. “An extra passenger I see,” Tim commented, “Yes, I hope you don’t mind, Harry said it was fine for me to come back with you,” Brian responded, “Yes it is, we are about to depart, lads lets cast off,” Tim replied.

We had only been travelling for about fifteen minutes, when we felt the yacht do an about turn, and we headed up to the bridge to find out. “Tim forgot to check that everyone was onboard, and unfortunately they were not. Your Uncle James went for a short stroll and didn’t see the others return to the yacht,” Angela explained.

“Now who is the one who should walk the plank?” I commented before we turned to leave, and Angela burst out laughing, and we headed for the galley. “I can make you a milkshake each, otherwise, you will have to wait till lunch,” Declan said when he saw us walk in.

“Yes please,” we replied in unison, “Do you boys know why we are going about?” Tracy asked, “Yes, Tim forgot to check that everyone was onboard when we left,” Toby replied, “Who? … Oh no, he didn’t, did he?” Tracy asked, and we both nodded our heads yes.

“I suggested that he should be the one to walk the plank,” I added, “Hmm, not a bad idea, what did the captain say to that?” Tracy commented, “She just laughed,” I replied. After collecting a bemused Uncle James, we resumed course for Dundee Beach, now half an hour behind schedule and we enjoyed a nice lunch on the aft main deck as we rounded the top of Cox Peninsular.

With a lot of supplies onboard, we had one stop to make at Crab Claw Resort, for them and Sandpalms Roadhouse, before reversing course and going around the inside of Indian Island, which gave our passengers a new area to see.

With the weather staying fine for now, Tim and Uncle James decided to go directly to our home Jetty, to allow our passengers to see the jungle garden, and as we arrived at the jetty, the lads jumped onto it to secure the mooring lines.

“What is this place?” Gladys asked Uncle James and us boys arrived on the main deck saloon. “You did say you wanted to see our tropical jungle garden, well here we are,” Uncle James replied, “Oh, excellent, this is a nice surprise”, Ms Anders responded.

Over the next hour, Uncle James and I gave them a tour of the gardens via the boardwalk, while Toby headed to the house, and when we finally arrived back, Mrs Kennedy had cold drinks waiting for us, which was great, after all of the walking and climbing up and down the two lookout stairs.

While we remained at home, Angela took the guests back to Dundee beach, but in the sports boat instead of the yacht, as it was cheaper and faster. Dropping them off on the beach in front of the lodge, along with their luggage and supplies, Angela returned to the yacht at the home jetty, where they could now relax for the rest of the weekend.

Two days later a large barge arrived, carrying two front end loaders and a dump truck, plus two large skip bins, to cart away all of the rubbish created from the cyclone. While those were being filled the barge returned to Darwin to collect two more skip bins, to swap over when it returns to collect the full ones and take them back to Darwin to be sorted, for what is recyclable, reused or repurposed, and what is rubbish, and every day for the next two weeks, the barge made two return journeys each day, transporting the cyclone rubble to Darwin.

While this was happening, the six residents who have been staying at the Sandpalms, have been using the semi outdoor area of the lodge as their base, so as to research and work on getting the community from unincorporated status to becoming a local government Community Council.

Using existing emergency services local government maps, the committee were able to establish some boundaries for the new council, that would be the Coomalie Community Council to the East, Litchfield National Park and Aboriginal Reserve to the South, and the coast of Fog Bay to the West, and Port Patterson and Bynoe Harbour to the North, making it 19, 260 square kilometres in area.

As well as the cleanup crew working on cleaning up, there are two building crews, who came a week early and commenced work on the recovery project, with the construction of the two building community centre, and the Emergency Services sheds, and the new boat ramp and jetty at a wide creek junction, to be located downstream from the existing boat ramp, which is only suitable for small boats of no more than 12 metres.

Gravel was collected from a block of crown land located opposite Sandpalms Roadhouse, and trucked up Namarada Drive, past the township and from where the bitumen road ends, the road is extended by a further 800 metres north, then bending to the right, and continuing for a further 1.4 kilometres in a north-east direction, before bending once more and heading east, for 2 kilometres, where a wide area has been cleared to create a roundabout and parking bays.

Where the gravel is be extracted from, will become the new waste management centre, where a shed will be constructed to sort rubbish to see what is recyclable or reusable, to reduce landfill rubbish. Once the road and parking area had been completed, including compaction, work began on building the new jetty, which will include a boat ramp at the end, and a mooring jetty on the side.

During this time a power maintenance crew had been transported in to restore power to the areas that have no power, allowing the Harcourt’s to get their Lodge operational again, and it meant they were now able to live at home in their cabin, and the three bungalows they have, they were able to clean properly and make available for the other committee members, and the lodge now became the base for committee to work from.

Having power back on in the community, also made things easier for the building crew, now that they had main power instead of having to rely on small generators, which chew up a lot of fuel.

While Toby and I spent up to five hours a day in the classroom on the yacht, doing our school work, usually three hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, we also spent a lot of time having fun in the jungle garden, with games of hide and seek often taking up to an hour before being discovered.

What is really awesome, it that Tim built us a great jungle house, located 500 metres north of the house, overlooking the creek, and it is insulated, with a proper roof, walls, windows and door, plus it has a lookout tower, solar panels to provide power, water tank for fresh water, a sink and bench.

For furniture, Tim and Uncle James, placed a small table with two chairs, a large book shelf, two large lounge chairs, and there is lights, an overhead fan, a couple of power points, so we can have a television screen to watch movies, and a big rug on the floor. The tricky bit about this jungle house, is that it is hard to find, unless anyone knows how to get there, which is the fun bit.

Along the raised boardwalk heading for the northern lookout tower, which is only another 500 metres north, one of the larger trees on the left hand side, has a strong rope attached to a high branch, and the rope is tucked away behind the tree. Standing on the rail of the boardwalk, we swing 8 metres into the jungle, landing on a new boardwalk, that Tim and Uncle James had built, and it is just a 15 metre walk to the jungle house.

One other thing that Uncle James insisted that we have in the jungle house is a two-way radio, so we can keep in touch with the main house, especially when it is time for meals.

For a total of six weeks work was keeping everyone busy, the committee with their planning to make the community into a local government, the cleanup crews, removing all destroyed houses and shed, and the building teams who are busy constructing new facilities for the community.

The first buildings to be completed were the community centre, and the Emergency Services sheds and the new boat ramp and jetty, and right away the committee moved to the new facilities, which are excellent, and they decided to have their first meeting the following day.

They decided to invite the owners of Sandpalms Roadhouse and Crab Claw Resort, plus Uncle James, Tim and the yacht crew to attend, and Uncle James suggested that we also attend, even thou we are way to young to vote, it would give us and education on how local government organisations are run.

When we arrived, I was amazed at how wonderful the building was, big an open spaces inside, and along one side in the centre, there is a large ‘U’ shaped desk with 8 chairs behind them, and in the centre of the building was half a dozen chairs, and we took a seat in the chairs and waited for the meeting to commence.

When Ms Anders, Harry Long, Gladys Harcourt, Brian Hunter and another man, who we hadn’t seen before entered from a side door from another room, we all stood up, as the five members took their seats behind the council deck.

“Thank, please take a seat, I call to order for the first Community Association meeting since the Cyclone that devastated our community. Firstly the committee wish to express their sincere thanks to Mr Tim Hope and Dr James Shaw for their assistance with rebuilding this community and providing these magnificent facilities for us.

Committee wished to propose that we employ in an honorary position, Mr Hope, who is a qualified engineer, the position of Executive officer of the recovery project, as he has already shown how much he is capable of doing with organising equipment and manpower to get the recovery started, do we have second to this proposal?’ Ms Anders asked.

Gladys Harcourt who was seated near us stood up, “Madam Chair, I will gladly second the motion,” she said, “All who agree with this say aye?” Ms Anders asked, and there was a loud shout of Aye in the hall, in response, “Any against the motion, say Ney” Ms Anders asked and the room was silent.

“Then the motion is carried, welcome Mr Hope and congratulations. The only other business this afternoon, apart from inspecting all of the new facilities, is a date and time for a proposal to hold a community meeting for all land owners here at Dundee Beach.

Copyright © March 2020 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights Reserved.
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Great chapter. The new community has been built and the Community Association has had it's first meeting. 

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Awesome chapter, life carries on after the aftermath of the cyclone, it would seem that all will go ahead without incedence, 

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It seems, Q. that you have gotten your aye and nay mostly right. The 'neigh' that appeared in the last chapter prompted a lash of my tail and a rearing as it is the sound a horse makes. You will note that I have not made any objection to 'meter' and 'centre', as these are acceptable English spellings, but I do have a small problem with 'thou' as that becomes confusing to an American, we use 'though' for the conjunction and 'thou' as a Biblical form of the pronoun 'you'. Do you object to my making suggestions like this, if so, I will cease as I wish to respect the rights of an author to write a stories he desires. (See 'thou' in Wikipedia for its history as a pronoun.)

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