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Top End Doctor - 24. Dr Chapter 24

Closing the store early on the Wednesday afternoon as usual, Angela and Tracy set off in the yacht to do a supply run to Darwin, with everything pr-ordered and had been arranged to be delivered to Cullen Bay, so they could load up and get back to Dundee before dark, and Tim went into town to help them with unloading and stacking the shelves for half the night.

Just counting all the booked out accommodation villas and units that the town has, we would have at least 70 to 80 visitors coming to spend Easter at Dundee Beach, so Alice and June volunteered to assist with accommodation cleaning where needed, as did four other local couples, Mike and Sue Emery, who volunteer with the Fire and Ambulance service, Troy and Anita Carter, who have volunteered to help in the community store and bakery, and who are usually in Dundee on weekdays and in Darwin on weekends, but they changed their plans to assist, plus Oliver and Tina Jackson, who own a fruit orchard in Dundee Downs, and Chris and Eliza Old, who work part time at Crab Claw Resort.

What Tim had managed to do, was arrange for two felt wide brim hats and four blue tough work shorts and shirts that are to the lads size, have the shirt pockets embroidered with ‘Dundee Beach – NT’ along the top and under that ‘Community Rangers’, in bright yellow lettering, so it is easy to see, and on each upper sleeves, are embroidered badges, in an shield shape with ‘Dundee Beach’ on the top and ‘Community Rangers’ underneath.

When Angela unpacked the box that contained the ranger uniforms, she quickly hid them under the counter, as she wanted to surprise the lads the next morning, but after finishing with the stacking of the shelves, she and Tracy couldn’t wait to see how they looked and took a quick look at them before heading back to the yacht, which is tied up at the town jetty.

The next morning, as Tim drove us into town, with Uncle James joining us for the trip in today, he mentioned that the lads would be receiving their ranger uniforms this morning, and we called into the lodge before heading to school, and there was Lance and Dean, dressed in their new shirts and shorts, with work boots and felt hats on.

“Wow, don’t they look very smart,” Tim commented, before receiving a light thump from Uncle James.

The Easter long weekend was very busy and energy draining for all of the members of the community, who worked hard to please all of the visitors, and with it now being school holidays, Toby and I were left to our own devices so to speak, usually being supervised by whoever was available, and this often changed a few times each day.

Most of the time, we just stayed on the yacht, where at least one crew member or Mrs Kennedy had to be onboard at all times for security reasons, and with the yacht moored next to Bill’s fishing vessel, visitors who have dinghies or kayaks, would come close to the yacht to check it out.

When Mrs Kennedy was onboard, and any visitors came to close to the yacht, she would get the deck broom out and threaten them away, which we thought was quite funny. When the Easter long weekend was over, there was still about a dozen visitors who have stayed on for the rest of the week, and during breakfast on Tuesday morning, we were listening to a local commercial radio station, when we heard a surprise announcement.

“I know we don’t usual endorse any businesses, but in this case I wish to mention the delightful long weekend that my family and I spent at a place called Dundee Beach.

Some of you have probably been out there, and others may have holiday homes out there, but since the cyclone passed just south of Dundee Beach nearly two months ago, the community has been isolated because of the two main bridges been severely damaged.

This has not stopped the community to get together and with the assistance of three local building companies, Dundee Beach as arisen from the devastation that the cyclone created, destroying many homes, shed and businesses there.

The community of Dundee Beach is now a thriving locality, with new holiday accommodation, new community facilities, and new commercial buildings, providing existing or new services to the many visitors that flocked to Dundee for Easter. To those who live and work there, thankyou for an enjoyable short holiday, including the lady with the broom on the yacht, shooing away anyone that go too close to the yacht, my family and I will definitely returning in the near future,” the announcer said.

“Wow, now that is plenty of very good publicity for our little town, I wonder if the others heard it.” Tim commented, just as the house phone rang and Mrs Kennedy answered it. “Launceston Manor, Mrs Kennedy speaking,” she said smiling, and Uncle James laughed.

“Good morning, yes we did hear it, wonderful promotions of the town… yes unfortunately I am that said lady, I am embarrassed to admit,” Mrs Kennedy said as she blushed a little and Uncle James laughed some more as Tim stood to take the call.

“Hello, Tim Hope speaking,” and soon after he too laughed, “Yes the poor lady, we will give her a bonus for enduring that, she is a real trooper for our family, and I will be into the office in twenty minutes… ok, bye” Tim said before ending the call.

“Boys can you stay home with Mrs Kennedy please, I have a busy day at the clinic,” Uncle James asked us, “Yes Uncle we can do that, can we go and explore the jungle garden?” I responded, “Yes, but take a walkie talkie with you, so Mrs Kennedy can call you when she needs to, it is in the office,” Uncle James replied, and moments later, Uncle James and Tim dashed downstairs.

“We interrupt this broadcast for an urgent message, to all residents in coastal areas from Kalumburu, in the far north district of the Kimberly’s to Darwin, be on the lookout for persons who do not look like they belong there. Two crew members of a cargo ship that had come from Singapore and is bound for Port Hedland have jumped ship, and are somewhere on the Western Australian or Northern Territory coast.

Both men are of African decent, dark skin, age in their late twenties, thin build, last seen wearing blue overalls, work boots and safety helmet. If you see these men, do not approach or try to speak to them, contact the police immediately,” we heard the announcer say, and within a minute, we heard the distant sound of the Emergency service siren going off.

“What is that noise I heard it a few days back too?” Mrs Kennedy asked, “That is the local Emergency Services Siren, to let the locals know that all volunteers are to report to their vehicles,” I replied, “Oh, I wonder if it is to do with what we just heard in the radio?” Mrs Kennedy said, and I shrugged my shoulders, unsure if it was or not.

A few minutes later the house phone rang, and I was closest to it so I answered, “Launceston Manor, the lord of the manor speaking,” I said, as I looked at Mrs Kennedy, who smiled, and a laugh came from the other end of the line, which I recognised to be Uncle James.

“I think you have that wrong dear nephew, but that is a nice thought eh, now the reason I have called is to tell you both to stay in the house with Mrs Kennedy, you are not to go out in the garden, do you hear me<” Uncle James said, “Yes understood, we are not to leave the house, do you wish to speak to the lady of the house?” I replied.

Uncle James laughed again, as Mrs Kennedy took the phone off me, “Boy’s will be boy’s sir,” Mrs Kennedy said into the phone, and after a brief chat the call ended. “Your uncle has stated that there is a good chance that one of those men are in this area, and that is why you are to stay home, Mr Tim will be home shortly, to make sure we all stay safe,” Mrs Kennedy announced to us.

“Why is there just one man, Mrs Kennedy?” Toby asked innocently, “Because dear, they know what has happened to the other man, he ended up being crocodile dinner,” Mrs Kennedy replied. “Eww, grose,” Toby responded, “Well, you did ask little brother,” I said to Toby, who just shrugged his shoulders and headed to the lounge room and turned on the television.

When Tim arrived, he said hello before heading for the office, to do some work and a few minutes later he came back out again, “Can you help me to lockup the house, including storm shutters, just to be sure, we are not sure what this man is like, and I would feel safer if we are all locked up tight,” Tim said to Mrs Kennedy, and they began to lock every window and door.

When the house phone rang, Tim answered it from the office, and we could only hear him talking but could not understand what he was saying, and when the door closed it was just silence, so I concentrated on what is on television.

At lunch time, Tim joined us at the dining table, and even Uncle James came home for lunch. “How is the search going for the other man?” Tim asked our uncle. “Nothing so far, they found the remains of the first man just north of here, so we are concentrating on the search in that area, a rescue helicopter will be joining in the search this afternoon, as well as a police launch and a sea rescue launch,” Tim replied.

“Some people are saying they were smuggling animals from Indonesia, Western Papua and Malaysia, to sell in Singapore and Hong Kong,” Uncle James said, “Yes that is what we have been told by the Federal authorities, they are sending some Federal police down here too, to coordinate the search,” Tim replied.

“Did they tell you what sort of animals they were smuggling?” Toby asked, “Monkeys, lizards and birds, so they can sell them as pets. That is why you have to stay indoors for now, and if you ever come across any monkeys or anything else that doesn’t belong here in Australia, stay well away from them, as they may carry a deadly disease called Rabies,” Uncle James said.

“Ok, we will stay well away from them,” I responded, and Toby just nodded his head in agreement. “I guess we can let you out onto the veranda and patio, but you are not to go downstairs at all,” Uncle James said to us, and right away we went out onto the back patio, where there is plenty of space that overlooks the jungle gardens.

“What’s that noise?” Toby asked, and I listened carefully until I too heard a variety of bird sounds, “Doesn’t sound like a parrot or cockatoo, but I think one of those sounds is a rainbow lorikeet,” I said, as I stepped back inside.

“Uncle James, Tim, can you come outside please, we are hearing some strange bird sounds,” I called out, and both of them soon appeared from the office, and stepped out onto the patio, “One sounds like an Australian Rainbow lorikeet, another sounds like Australian parrots, but yes there are others that don’t sound familiar, we may have found the smuggled birds,” Tim said.

“What should we do about them?” Uncle James asked, “Well nothing for now, if they don’t like the area they will fly off and find a better place to settle, plus our jungle garden is too thick to be able to locate them easily. I might set out some seeds and grains for them near the gazebo, and after the last man from the ship has been found and captured, then we will think of a plan for the birds,” Tim responded.

Just then a bright coloured bird approached and landed on the patio railing. “Wow it is beautiful, any idea what it is? Uncle James whispered, as we stepped back to give it some space.

“It is a macaw, but I am not sure what kind it is,” Tim replied, as Mrs Kennedy softly cleared her throat to let us know that she was standing at the door behind us, and being the closest, she handed me a plate containing cut up pieces of stone fruit.

Copyright © March 2020 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights Reserved.
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Wow drama, an awesome chapter, well it looks like the start of a zoo , let's hope that the illegal is cought soon

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I’m glad that they have decided to lock everything up and close the storm shutters so if the other man is in the area he can’t get into the house. There’s bound to be interesting times ahead especially if the ship was smuggling animals as the authorities are saying that may be the case. I hope the boys don’t find any animals that don’t belong in Australia.  

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