Friday, 3 August 2012

Oh, little town of Batchelor

This weekend is the Lingalonga Festival in Batchelor.

Batchelor is a cute little town nestled in the jungly rainforest not far from Darwin. This tiny and tidy town is about an hour's drive south of Darwin, just a little off the highway.

The rather charming town of Batchelor was once known as Rum Jungle. There is an interesting story associated with that!

As Batchelor however it boomed as a mining camp in the 1950s when the uranium search was rampant.  There was a very substantial uranium mine there and workers came from all parts of Australia.

On this map Batchelor and Rum Jungle are shown as separate places. Rum Jungle is the mine site.

This map comes from the Litchfield National Park website.
Temperatures are usually about three degrees warmer than Darwin during the day and a bit cooler at night, due to being inland.

Some of the original buildings remain in use and some of the houses are still occupied although they have been modernised somewhat. The Education Department owns buildings and land which are used as a camp with huts, shower blocks, and a big kitchen. The original pit has been filled with water; once it was used for swimming but is no longer considered safe. The airstrip is still in use and is popular with parachuters.

There is a primary school and the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Education which caters for some tertiary level students, flying them in from bush communities to workshops and lectures. There is a fully accredited child care centre. I have seen the Post Office, service station, a motel and a shop. Now the residents have built a folk museum. My choir will be performing at the opening of the museum.

When I was a child in Toowoomba in the1950s a family came to live next door who had spent three years living in Batchelor. They appreciated the fresh fruit and vegetables which they had missed while living in a remote mining town. Suburbia was a better choice for a family with four young children.

Batchelor is a pretty little place that has become a hub for Litchfield National Park. Waterfalls, safe swimming, beautiful rainforest, interesting woodland, fascinating termite mounds, space to breathe.

Come to Batchelor for a tree change, for a quiet life. You can find more information and pictures here. You may have to copy and paste the URL into your browser.

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