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Top End Doctor - 21. Dr Chapter 21

Mr Hope has offered to charter the Mandorah Ferry to transport all the community members here and back, allowing all property owners the chance to inspect what damage there is to their own properties and to allow them to inspect the new facilities,” Ms Anders announced.

“Madam Chair, we are just two weeks away from completing two of the light industrial sheds, and the medical clinic, can we delay it until they are completed and I have settled into my new facilities,” Uncle James suggested, and Ms Anders looked at the other members on the committee, who all nodded yes. “I think that is a good reason to delay it, Dr Shaw, by the way my name is Bill Healy, owner of Crab Claw Resort,” the other man at the committee table responded.

After the meeting was closed until the community meets in three weeks, we all had a good look around the Community Centre, with one area for administration and large meetings, and the other for community group activities.

From there we headed next door to the three large shed, which now hold a 4 wheel drive ambulance in one, 2 four wheel drive fire fighting vehicles in another, and a 4 wheel drive emergency rescue vehicle and trailer in the last shed.

Climbing into vehicles, we headed to the location of the new boat ramp and jetty, which can handle much larger boats, including our yacht, and everyone present was pleased with the new boat facilities. While most people headed home, Tim, Harry & Annie Long, and Ms Anders returned to the community room, to do some more planning work with the recovery project, and we learnt later, that they had each decided which office will be theirs for their individual departments, with Tim allocated the executive office upstairs.

Two weeks later the Medical clinic was completed two days ahead of plan, and we helped Uncle James to deliver all of the furniture, equipment and supplies, that we had collected from Darwin a few days earlier, when we made a supply run for everyone.

With just three small and one medium sized commercial buildings currently under construction, by one building company and the six holiday unit buildings by another, they would all be completed in about 3 weeks time, but in the meantime, we had a community meeting that is about to take place in a two days time, with 128 people responding to the general community meeting notice, who would be attending.

The night before the community meeting, we learnt that some of the crew had been given additional jobs, now that we are based in Dundee, with the lads taking on gardening duties, with the planting of hundreds of new palms ferns and tropical plants, to improve the look of the community, especially around the new Community buildings.

Meanwhile, Declan who is handy with typing and taking notes has become Tim’s personal assistant for the recovery project, and he has taken up working in the administration office.

Tracy has been assisting Mrs Kennedy with keeping the house in good order and preparing all the meals, while Angela tries to keep busy, with maintenance and upkeep of the yacht, when not doing supply runs to Cullen Bay every fortnight.

On the Saturday of the meeting which is due to start at 11am, two barges arrived loaded with two large buses each, and they are the first to use the new boat jetty, as the buses were driven off the barge and parked in the car park area, to await the passengers on the ferry, due to arrive in half an hour.

It had taken Tim a lot of convincing of the ferry owners, that the location of the new community jetty was easily accessible and capable of coping with a large ferry. We were all standing outside the community centre, when the four buses arrived filled with property owners of the community, and they filed out of the buses.

“Welcome to the Dundee community centre, please follow these two young men to the meeting room,” George called out to everyone, with Dean and Lance leading the way through the entry foyer and right into the administration side of the complex, where we had held the committee meeting a few weeks ago, but this time there are 150 seats in the central area of the hall, all facing towards the council chambers.

Uncle James plus we boys took our seats in the front row, as requested by the committee, and Declan was seated behind a small deck with a laptop computer ready to record the minutes of the meeting. This time there are two other ladies seated at the committee table, which we were not sure who they are, and eventually the remainder of the committee joined them.

Ms Anders has a small hammer which she banged on a block of wood a few times to get silence in the room. “I call to order this 2nd extra ordinary meeting of the Dundee Community Association,” Ms Anders said loudly. “Committee members present, Chair Gill Anders, Deputy Chair Bill Healy, members Harry Long, George Harcourt, Brian Hunter, Mary Pincher and Seamus O’Donnell…” Ms Anders continued starting the meeting.

About half an hour later, “I wish to introduce two members of our community, who until just before the cyclone have been property owners for the past five years, Mr Tim Hope and Dr James Shaw, both have committed to staying in our community full time, with Mr Hope taking on the role of Recovery Project Executive Manager, and Dr Hope has just a few days ago, setup his medical practice here.

As you would have seen when you arrived back, 11 weeks after the cyclone struck, that we now have a new jetty and boat ramp, three emergency services sheds, a medical clinic and this magnificent community centre, which is also our community administration centre.

After we have concluded this meeting, we invite you all to have a lunch which we have provided in the community hall next door, then look around the community, find your property so you can see if it has been destroyed or just damaged to a degree, the buses will be leaving at 3pm to transport you back to the ferry, for your return journey to Darwin.

We have been notified by NT Main Roads that the last bridge will be completed in approximately two weeks time, so we look forward to seeing you out here again soon, as we continue to rebuild our community and work towards becoming a community council,” Harry said to the crowd.

When the meeting ended about twenty minutes later some people looked around the buildings while others headed for the lunch provided next door. After we had eaten, Uncle James took us boys home, to relax to have some quiet family time, and Tim arrived home at about 3.15 pm, once the ferry had departed.

During dinner with everyone from the yacht now dining with us in the house, Tim explained how things went with the community tour of everything, and that Brian Hunter has taken up the lease of one of the already built light industrial sheds, to store away his five dinghies, with one still missing, presumably sunk somewhere in the harbour.

Harry, Annie and Gill had pulled out their work vehicles out of their emergency services sheds, so as to allow the community to get a better look at the sheds, all which have two store rooms and a bathroom along the back wall, and Tim had opened up the clinic, but put a tape barrier up so people could look in but not enter at this time.

Tim suggested that when the medium sized commercial building located behind the medical clinic is completed, that it be made into a store depot, for supplies that need to be distributed to businesses around the area, including Crab Claw Resort, Sandpalms Roadhouse, Hunter’s Boat Hire, The Lodge at Dundee and other businesses.


Uncle James agreed with the idea, and suggested that maybe it could be a general store as well, with Angela and crew doing the supply runs every week or fortnight, and Angela could be put in charge of the depot, as she appears to be a little lost and unsure what to do, with her not having to master the yacht all the time now.

After a month of delays, Tim received a call from Mr Healy at Crab Claw, to inform us that the bridges will be completed in the following day, with it to be open to traffic by 4 pm tomorrow afternoon. This was very good news for the community, as it will help to get things back to normal again.

We now have a total of four holiday units, and the other commercial building completed, with work already started on the other three holiday units and the last three commercial buildings, plus the last two light industrial sheds.

When all of these buildings are completed, then work will begin on the swimming pools and recreation area, plus the airfield terminal and aircraft hanger. The committee had agreed that the community would purchase the two blocks of land on Prau Street, opposite the pool, which will be semi-cleared to make way for a local community recreation field.

In total there are only 8 out of 30 homes in Dundee Beach and 15 out of 64 homes in Dundee South that are still standing while another 12 houses at Dundee Beach and another 9 houses at Dundee South require extensive repairs to get them liveable again, all other houses and shed were destroyed beyond repair, and have already been cleared away.

To the east in Dundee Forest, Dundee Downs and Bynoe have received damaged homes, but all of them are repairable, which is where a lot of the permanent residents reside, with approximately 30% of all homes in those three areas having permanent residents, the rest are weekend and holiday homes.

According to the records that Harry has kept of permanent residents, there are 19 in Dundee Forest, 48 in Dundee Downs and 21 in Bynoe, and including the 14 in Dundee Beach and Dundee South, there are a total of 102 occupied residences for most of the year.

With this in mind, Tim and Uncle James were working on another project, which will be a little further away from the beach. They had purchased an additional 40 acres of land, situated on the junction of Namarada Drive and Mermaid Circuit, which is the main access road to Dundee South, and it is just 700 metres from the corner of Launceston Road and 3.5 kilometres from the community centre.

At this location, Tim was planning to build four buildings that will be about the same size as the industrial sheds, but they will be various heights, with the first will be the alternate location for an indoor swimming pool, with male, female and disables bathrooms and change rooms, an 80 seat pavilion, pump room, store room and two offices.

The second building will be for indoor sports like Basketball, Badminton and Indoor Volleyball, with a 80 seat pavilion, change rooms, toilets and a meeting room. The third one will be of the same height with two levels, and will be the education centre, with the ground level will have 2 large community rooms, with a commercial kitchen and three bathrooms, and two meeting rooms, while upstairs will have two offices and two bathrooms at one end, plus four meeting rooms in the centre and a library at the end.

Finally the last building will be a sports club room, with two function rooms, with adjoining bar facilities, three bathrooms, and office at one end and a meeting room at the other end, with stairs to an open but undercover viewing pavilion, looking out towards the back of the building, where Tim hopes there will be a future golf course.

Where Uncle James and Tim had planned to put the community pool in Dundee Beach, that space will now be used to build two more commercial buildings, including a purpose built community store. Uncle James decided to take us into Dundee, to see if many people arrive when the bridges are officially opened at 4 pm, and we sat in the Land Rover in the community centre car park waiting, when Tim received a call.

Copyright © March 2020 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights Reserved.
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Awesome chapter, excellent progress so the community can get back to business and get some normality in their lives 

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It’s great to see how things are getting completed and the buildings are being occupied. There are plans for a community store, indoor pool, sports facilities as well as an education building. There are many homes that are needing repairs and others that were torn down and removed because they were beyond repair. 

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Awesome chapter. It's great to see the community get back to normal, so that business can resume and normality can return to people's lives.

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