This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1999 Travels July 6

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Truck had to be at the Landrover dealership at 8.15am, for its service. So, it was an unusually early start for us. It meant a day to be spent around the town centre, as it was a bit far to walk back to the caravan park, then return. The dealership is out in the industrial area, to the north of town.

Walking back towards the main part of town, in the early morning sunshine was quite pleasant, although it was still chilly.

We meandered along, looking in car yards and other businesses that interested John. Every time he stopped to look at something, I read – I was trying to finish a library book before returning it.

We had a really thorough look through The Residency – a house that dates from 1928, with a somewhat complex history. From 1926 to 1931, this southern section was a region independent from the rest of the NT, so the Residency was built as a home for the Administrator. Then, when the NT was run as one area, it housed the Assistant Administrator, from 1931 to 1942. At this time, it was taken over by the NT Administrator, a refugee from the bombing of Darwin, until 1945. After that time various officials lived there, until relatively recently. In 1963, renovations were done before the Queen and Prince Phillip stayed for two nights. Extra bathrooms were put in for them! I guess there were no posh hotels in Alice Springs then, but they must have found The Residency rather basic, compared to their usual accommodation.

I found The Residency really interesting. The building seemed a sensible design – something that was not always the case in our earlier times. It is made from cement and sand bricks that were made on site, although they are patterned to look like stone. The roof is corrugated iron. It has big, overhung verandas and a central large breezeway that is big enough to use as a living room. Rooms open off this to each side. Floors are cement, with lino covering.

According to information in the place, Prince Charles contracted gastro after a visit to Alice Springs – from eating chicken or seafood in aspic! Prince Charles and Diana visited – there was much emphasis in the information on how she realized here, the intrusive nature of her public. I wonder if there are many monarchists in Alice Springs?

Then we walked around the town centre. At the Information Centre, bought fossicking licences. I returned my library books. John used the internet at the Library to send S an email.

Browsed in some of the aboriginal art galleries.

Went to a hardware shop where John bought some components for mining gear that he wants to make. I bought a large enamel mug to replace the current small and stained plastic one.

In amongst all that, we had Red Rooster take away for lunch.

Truck was eventually ready when we phoned – quite late in the day. So we walked back to Landrover. They had found a leaking hose, and a radiator hose that was on the wrong way – from the last service! They’d fixed that. But they have to get in the replacement for the leaking hose, so we had to book in for Friday 16, to have that fitted. They also said there was a bit of oozing at the back of the sump – not enough original packing there, or something. That was just noted, with no suggestion of a remedy. It is a busy dealership, but small. There is much demand for the new Defenders, they say. Can’t get one in Alice Springs before Xmas. And, of course, one has to book at least a week ahead for work to be done.

So – we will have to come back to Alice Springs.

Refuelled Truck – 81cpl – at the same servo where we get the discount.

Back at the van, we did some packing up. Then John realized that he was using my keys, and couldn’t find his own. He raced off back to Landrover. Sure enough, they were there! It was a good thing he discovered this in business hours – just!

Tea was rather late after all this, as I had a chook to roast, and vegies. We didn’t eat till 7.30pm.

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