View over Nhulunbuy (Gove) NT from Mt Saunders

View over Nhulunbuy (Gove) NT from Mt Saunders (Photo credit: gblack571)


Gove Sunset
Kevin Bloody Wilson. A performer of Australian...

Kevin Bloody Wilson. A performer of Australian odes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cape Arnhem is the extreme eastern tip of Arnh...

Cape Arnhem is the extreme eastern tip of Arnhemland. Kakadu is over 260 miles away on the western border. billbeee 08:27, 20 May 2007 (UTC) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Four years into my drafting career I had the opportunity to work in Nhulunbuy (Gove), on the tip of Arnhem land. A friend that I had worked with in Sale worked there and got me a job there. It was a great place to work. Lots of fun to be had, and lots of money to make. That is if you didn’t drink it, smoke it or gamble it away. Not saying which one of the three I did but I did partake in two of them lightly and the other one in a big way, sort of wasted the time being there by doing that. But hey I was young and foolish and didn’t know then what I know now.

Anyway I stayed there a year and had a ball. Thursday nights a Scottish guy I worked with would go to the Jam bar and get up and sing Neil Diamond songs until the wee hours of the morning. I always wanted to get up and play the drums but never got the courage to do so. We would often go home slightly inebriated and then shower, breakfast and take the first bus to work. Not that you can do that kind of thing anymore with all the Health and Safety regulations in place.

Another mate and I would bet a slab of Toohey’s Red on the state of origin games, he being a Queenslander and me being a non-rugby league West Aussie would invariably wind up buying him a slab of beer. Other mates I played cricket with on Sunday mornings and then two games of hockey on a Sunday afternoon, then a few drinks down the surf club watching the sun go down.

Friday night was the highlight for all the ferals in town, this was the nicker night, I didn’t go there, not only because I was umpiring indoor cricket, but I could never see the point. What would happen would be a girl would fly in from Darwin for a week and serve at the bar. On Friday night if you bought a beer (another reason I don’t drink beer!) you would get a ticket and then they would draw out three tickets during the night. The girl flown in apparently wore three pairs of nickers and obviously the lucky holder of the third ticket got the biggest thrill!

I had my first taste of deep sea fishing while I was there. One of the guys we worked with had a boat and took me and Albert (the rugby league slab of beer one) out fishing. It was a little choppy and I had to go to the front to drop the anchor, now being a land lubber I wasn’t really that good at balancing and when a wave hit I lost balance and could have chosen the Hammerhead infested water or the hatch to land on. After breaking the hatch I wasn’t very popular. I caught three fish, I think we all caught three each, they took 20 minutes or so to get into the boat and my arms were shaking like jelly. I didn’t eat them because I wasn’t into seafood back then, but apparently you had to feed a bit to the local stray cats and wait 10 minutes, if the cat keeled over you couldn’t eat the fish, Sakatawara – where the little fish eat poisonous algae and the big fish eat the little fish.

The agent I worked for came up one time and took us to see Kevin Bloody Wilson and another comedian while he was there. Kevin signed the shirt I bought, he asked, “What’s your name and favourite song?” “Andrew, and the phone song”. So he signed my shirt – To Andy Stick that f#@*ken phone…

I had many adventures in the year I was there, and many disappointments, missed my football team winning their first premiership, caused a bit of trouble for a few people, and didn’t go home with much money. But it was a great experience that I will never forget, and I am often reminded of those times now with all the mine workers flying in and flying out.

If anyone works in this situation and reads this, take some advice from someone who didn’t make the most of it. Enjoy yourself, but don’t waste it all, if you are young, set yourself up for the rest of your life and have even more fun. Don’t do it all at once.

English: Bauxite processing plant at Nhulunbuy...

English: Bauxite processing plant at Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory, Australia. Freeze frame from digital video shot by me from inside helicopter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)