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Thread: a different kind of desperate

  1. #1
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    Default a different kind of desperate

    I now work a continuous roster of 8 weeks on and 8 weeks off for a NGO Aboriginal Health mob located in Katherine in the Northern Territory. The job enables me to establish definite dates and time to do paid work with time off to work on the yacht. its a lot less stressful in other ways: i know and understand the staff, i get reasonable to good accommodation and i know what is required of me at work, plus the big bonus is…for 3 days of the week i get to work on my own as i head further 'out bush' to run a remote satellite clinic.
    as with most remote locations, the environment and people dictate the tone of the place. mostly its the 'same but different' wherever I've been across Australia.

    however each place is unique. I've taken some photographs using the iPhone.

    IMG_0639.jpg

    but first a bit of nurses humour. a lovely chocolate cake making a mockery out of the "stool charts" often seen in hospital wards and elsewhere.

    IMG_0016.jpg

    im not sure if i have already posted here the story of Ruby. i had been getting my motorbike ready to ride back home (distance of about 2500km) and came across this little kitten (probably only just over 2 weeks old) in the clutches of a 4 yr old girl walking down the street heading to a bunch of other kids who were playing…their play consisted of throwing rocks and burning grass…the kitten had no chance of surviving. long story short: i made a crate for the kitten and secured it to the back of the bike. he travelled home quite safely over the next 3 1/2 days. when i stopped at night i asked for milk and egg with which to feed him via an iv canula and syringe. he was named Ruby because we initially thought he was a female. at home we stepped up to specialised cat formula with a bottle and teat which he absolutely adored and thrived on. ruby is now a healthy and boisterous 6 month old.

    just after getting home he weighed in at 350gm. here he is at a whopping 500 gms!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Bernadette; 12-09-2017 at 11:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    and as with all remote locations, the internet connection really does test your patience. its clunky at best when it works.
    the photo of the aircraft (above) is my ride out to the location on my second rotation. civilian aircraft use the RAAF Tindal base at Katherine.
    the photo jumped into the text body somehow????

  3. #3
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    Long time no see, hope you are doing well. How's the boat coming along?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    IMG_0660.jpg
    Every Tuesday I leave the main clinic to go out to Pigeon Hole. Pigeon Hole is a small community of about 100 people, one ruddy great big black ugly boar named Rudi who is half tame and the usual cast of cats and dogs. It's located about 120 km north of Kalkarindji. The drive takes some time as the main road is rutted and narrow and the dirt road off the highway is well, a dirt road with the usual issues. In parts its just dust track which turns to slippery muck at the first sign of rain and in other parts its rocky which can rip the tyre walls if you go too fast. The sign is at the highway turnoff. Pigeon Hole Station is about 8km from the community. Its their roads we drive in on.

    IMG_0662.jpg
    The cattle are very beautiful creatures and in many ways I feel despair that cattle production is on such a large scale in this country. Their presence is an environmental wrecker to say the least.

    IMG_0665.jpg

    This one didn't make it. The roadsides are littered with all sort of rubbish including multiple car bodies.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    Hi Bern, great to see your new thread. Hope all is well. Regarding the thread title, I was sort of expecting you were having issues you needed help with. Are you going OK? PS love Ruby photos.
    When I first joined WBF they made me write a book to prove I was a real yachty. I was so gullible.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    hello phil and bruce…Im well.
    I chose the thread title because i was being a bit cynical… It is hard work being away from home. Having to put up with the chaos, filth, discord and apathy of an entire section of society going nowhere fast…so much for closing the gap….
    When on contract I drive the road each week to Pigeon Hole. The repetition gives me some quiet time to listen to my music and think and take stock of what's really going on out in these remote places.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    IMG_0668.jpg
    the road is really a dirt track and quite 'bland' in parts. as the vegetation dries and withers away, the road is easier to follow.

    IMG_0670.jpg

    descending to the river bed at one of the creek crossings of which there are about four. one section of the track further on follows a natural water course. that section is usually the roughest with deep washouts and exposed rock, but essentially easy enough to traverse.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    Hi there from here too Bernadette! Nice kitten! Can you post some photos of the boat? How are the parents going?

    Rick

  9. #9
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    IMG_0671.jpg
    at the creek crossing proper. when i travelled the road the first time, this area was underwater. i hadn't been warned about this and wasn't too sure about proceeding. at most, the water was about 400 mm deep and not flowing too fast.
    at the height of the floods during the previous wet season the water appears to has risen to about 10 m in this same spot. as the 'dry' progressed, the water contracted to separate stagnant ponds.
    IMG_0680.jpg
    and this is the nasty stuff. these rocks are tyre killers. with so many sharp edges, its impossible to pick a good 'line' to avoid a potential slash to a tyre wall. when freshly graded the problem is magnified. over time with constant use by regular vehicles, cattle trucks and goods freighters, the rocks still pose problems. to avoid getting a flat, i have learnt to slow down to about 50 km/hr. its slow going but worth not having to get out to change a tyre in the heat.
    Last edited by Bernadette; 12-10-2017 at 11:38 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    Hello Bernadette,
    Thanks for all this news and pictures.
    Thad

  11. #11
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    Hi Bernadette,

    This is a great view into your part of the world. Thanks.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    G'day Bernie, miss you here. You are doing good work in a seemingly impossible situation and more power to your arm.

    It's a bit early for Xmas greetings but here are some from Anne and I, and keep safe. Like the look of the ginger cat.

    BTW, there is a hypothesis that there are two origins for feral cats in Aus? Down south predominantly tabby or black from european origins. Up north ginger from Asian origins and have been here much longer.
    "There are competing hypotheses in regards to the origin of cats into Australia. These include: cats 1) associated with the arrival of Aboriginal peoples (40000 years BP), 2) affiliated with the arrival of the dingo (4000 ybp; McKay 1996), 3) transported with Maccassan traders from Indonesia, 4) brought by the early European navigators and settlers (see Abbott 2002). The date of origin seems important to determine because the arrival of the cat onto the Australian mainland “is crucially important in evaluating its role in causing extinctions and declines in the distribution and abundance of native mammal and bird species” (Abbott, 2002, p. 51). The fauna decline has corresponded with the arrival and settlement of Europeans since 200 years ago, and importantly, if the cat was already present on the continent for hundreds, or even a thousand(s) years prior to this event then its implicit involvement in the fauna decline may not be as convincing as other factors that may have played a more important role in the loss of Australia’s biodiversity."

    https://academic.oup.com/jhered/arti.../2/104/2622861

  13. #13
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    Hi Bernie , great to see you posting again. I hope you are all healed and pain free from your accident . I'm well.

    Re your work. Well done that woman! About the most useful work a person can do!
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    Popular myth has it that black cats are lucky-theres clearly one ginger cat who had a huge stroke of luck when you met.Thanks for the insight into your world.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    Ruby, eh? As long as he gets fed and a nice scratch now and then, he won't care what you call him, I reckon.

    A scrawny wee ginger moggie showed up at our door twelve years ago.



    It's a wonder what regular meals will do. Now he's a grand, fierce fellow and weighs a stone (14 pounds, 6.35 kilos).



    I think someone must have driven way out here to dump him, 'cause he hates riding in a car: childhood trauma.

    In any event, keep your wits about you and look out for the sharp rocks.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! óCole Porter

  16. #16
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    Some of photos didnt load properly in my post above.
    I will correct that this afternoon. The internet connection is impossibly slow at times, well actually, most of the time.

    Chronicling my working life is in part, a way for me to NOT focus on so much of the negative. It gives me an opportunity to take a look at things with a different viewpoint. One murder, rampant alcoholism, domestic violence, animal cruelty, high speed vehicle roll overs, wanton waste, and a host of other issues tend to narrow one's perspective. As I get time, I will keep loading up the images I have taken. Some are very interesting.

    re the cats: I'm sure they do kill a lot of native fauna but the wide scale beef production is the one that really bothers me. The vastness of open pasture land across great tracts of the Australian landscape is impressive when viewed at ground level. Its easy enough to scan a map of the pastoral leases (which are likewise prolific) but the real hit to an understanding of exactly how much land is used for cattle grazing, is the driving through of this countryside. The land is always hungry and sparse even when the rains have renewed the grassy vegetation. Hoofed animals churn up the soil and leave it decimated.

    I happened upon a cat carcass on one of my drives to Pigeon Hole. I felt pity for this poor creature. Their lives are desperate.

    Ruby, like Humpty (who I rescued from Ringer Soak) is one lucky cat. Unfortunately Humpty walked off from home one night and never returned. Likely hit by a car or killed by a snake. We also lost Missy (a animal refuge rescue cat) who was killed by a speeding car at around the same time. So Ruby's timing was near perfect. We would not have kept three cats. Ruby would have been put up for adoption.
    Last edited by Bernadette; 12-11-2017 at 05:11 AM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    IMG_0676.jpg

    a few gates to get through on the way.

    IMG_0681.jpg
    target practice vehicle

  18. #18
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    IMG_0686.jpg
    the section of the road that 'follows' the natural watercourse. it gets graded at times but still is a bit tricky. would be more fun on a motorbike.

    IMG_0697.jpg

    take notice! its only an offence because it says so. in reality the sign is just a waste of words and meaning.
    Last edited by Bernadette; 12-11-2017 at 05:12 AM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    IMG_0696.jpg
    in order to circumvent the legal implications of an alcohol ban in the community, the locals will do either one or both of two things. The first option is for locals to drive in with their cartons of beer and consume them along the way. Usually this will result in a bread crumb trail of "empties" thrown out the car window. The frequency of which is usually one about every 5 km. The second option which is depicted in the photo above is the more favoured. Immediately in front of the gates and sign is a veritable rubbish tip of empty and squashed cans. Its an eyesore and testimony to the frequent over consumption of alcohol. What gets me annoyed about all of this is not so much the alcohol consumption but rather the 'looking after country' mindset and employment of 'rangers' to do as much. The communities are awash and overburdened with rubbish and this 'beverage pit stop' just outside the community further undermines the feel good, warm fuzzy feelings of indigenous rangers supposedly caring and managing their 'country'.
    Last edited by Bernadette; 12-11-2017 at 08:41 AM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    IMG_0695.jpg
    a wider view of the can carnage. cans are literally, everywhere.
    Last edited by Bernadette; 12-11-2017 at 08:34 AM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernadette View Post
    Attachment 7110
    in order to circumvent the legal implications of an alcohol ban in the community, the locals will do either one or both of two things. The first option is for locals to drive in with their cartons of beer and consume them along the way. Usually this will result in a bread crumb trail of "empties" thrown out the car window. The frequency of which is usually one about every 5 km. The second option which is depicted in the photo above is the more favoured. Immediately in front of the gates and sign is a veritable rubbish tip of empty and squashed cans. Its an eyesore and testimony to the frequent over consumption of alcohol. What gets me annoyed about all of this is not so much the alcohol consumption but rather the 'looking after country' mindset and employment of 'rangers' to do as much. The communities are awash and overburdened with rubbish and this 'beverage pit stop' just outside the community further undermines the feel good, warm fuzzy feelings of indigenous rangers supposedly caring and managing their 'country'.
    We are going to have container deposit at 5c soon, some enterprising person will fill their ute and turn a few dollars.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    Bernadette,.... I will echo everyone else’s sentiments,... It is great to hear from you, and thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I is a quite different world from ours on the other side. You are to be commended for helping.
    Best wishes, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family!

  23. #23
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    chip, is that really your little ginger kitten with a wolf? nice photo! your cat looks to be in good health for an older moggie. My other cat Bosun is nearing 11. He does fine most days. He lives with my parents so life for him at their house is a little more genteel than the rip, tear and bust, Ruby is prone to on most days.

    Peter, yeah i had thought of the potential for income from the cans! Andrew is driving over in the ute to spend Christmas with me. if there were such a thing as recycling for cash in our home town, it would be worth his while to pile up the tray with half a ton of cans to cash in on his return!

  24. #24
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    IMG_0700.jpg
    and the final section of the road…coming over a small rise with the community of Pigeon Hole in view. during the wet season the community is cut off by flood waters. beats me why the houses were built right beside a river in the first instance. anyhow, to escape the water, an emergency shelter has been built near the top of this rise (which is also at one end of the airstrip) to house people during the worst episodes of flooding.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    It must all seem quite futile at times. I guess you take satisfaction in the small, individual achievements, lives saved, if only to continue a pretty desperate existence.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    phil, more annoying than futile…with so much money from royalties and government handouts. there are so many able bodied people who just sit and do nothing all day long. even the young men who buy flash expensive sedans with their royalty cheques don't clean or care for the vehicles. i suppose its "easy come, easy go". housing is supplied and refurbished by the government. people are charged a rent based on income. within days of a number of houses at Pigeon Hole being refurbished by the work gangs, the interiors looked no different than prior to the 'makeovers'.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    I just wish someone could see a solution, and make it work.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    If you're going to live a life it has to have meaning and purpose. How you make that work in remote areas is beyond me.
    When I first joined WBF they made me write a book to prove I was a real yachty. I was so gullible.
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    I just wish someone could see a solution, and make it work.
    It's called self-responsibility. Unfortunately, not enough Australians believe in it. Whilst we have half the population receiving welfare payments, it isn't going to change.

    I grew up in what was then a town of about 20,000. The day I finished school, I left. Not enough opportunity in a town of 20,000. Just how much opportunity is there in a town of 100?

    Where's the incentive to change all this going to come from? Do we change "connection to country" to a wider scale? Whilst it has a local component over-riding the national, the connection rules all. I'd rather see increased focus on these communities having to be more self sustaining. That is, if they can't survive without inordinate amounts of propping up, stop providing services to them. Close them down.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

  30. #30
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    there are solutions and they work in remote locations…its called outside labour force and loads of injected money…if you want a different 'working solution', well that has to come from within or at least, as ian says, one method is by a reduction in the support. unfortunately, that will never happen. the die has been cast and the 'expectation' is a birth right entitlement. at the sharp end, this entitlement often paves the way for rude and obnoxious behaviour(*) towards health staff. the status quo wont change unless the government fails or there is a social revolution.

    (*) a male colleague was undertaking an assessment on a patient. the relative got upset over a trivial matter, and was locked outside of the clinic for staff safety. the relative took his anger out on all FIVE tyres of the Ambulance…he slashed them! I think this is quite funny despite the absurdity and sheer stupidity of the perpetrator.

    in another instance, a female colleague was treating a female patient. the male relative got mad over a trivial matter and punched the very expensive monitoring equipment completely destroying it. the female staffer took two days off to get over the incident.

    these are just two worst case examples of people not getting their own way and behaving badly...

  31. #31
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    IMG_0685.jpg
    in the incessant heat and dry soil, a tiny flower blooms.

    IMG_0688.jpg
    many desert trees and plants like this grass exhibit tough leathery leaves, woody stems and a sticky resinous protective coating.
    Last edited by Bernadette; 12-12-2017 at 05:22 AM.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    IMG_0706.jpg

    Ruby is from Kalkarindji. Although, I did hear he was allegedly taken from his mother at Larjamanu which is over 100 km away and bought to Kalkarindji. Its possible this maybe a true story as 'baby' animals are often played with by small children as they would normally, a toy. That includes wrecking it within a short space of time and discarding it where it breaks. Hence the reason why I instantly took Ruby off the little girl when I first heard his crying.


    anyhow, these two cats live out at Pigeon Hole…must be cousin brother uncles or some other close relatives judging by the similarities in colour!

    IMG_1154.jpg
    Ruby doesn't have the same gorgeous eye colour but is spoilt rotten.
    Last edited by Bernadette; 12-12-2017 at 05:38 AM.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    IMG_0710.jpg

    green frogs live in the toilet bowls and appear when flushing.
    all plumbing and wetted surfaces such as showers and toilets take on staining…the water is heavily mineralised.

    IMG_0687.jpg

    there's colour and renewal even in the harshest of environments

  34. #34
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    IMG_0812.jpg

    the transport trucks go out to Pigeon Hole on a regular basis and traverse the same difficult road as regular vehicles. Pigeon Hole stores gets dry goods every week but fresh fruit and vegetables every second week. the goods transported range from frozen meat pies for the shop right up to heavy machinery for the cattle stations. This is one of the cattle trucks taking the animals off the land.
    Last edited by Bernadette; 12-15-2017 at 02:43 AM.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: a different kind of desperate

    IMG_0713.jpg
    one of the many charter operators…flying in mail, people and when the wet is on, medical supplies, food and other groceries.
    Last edited by Bernadette; 12-15-2017 at 02:44 AM.

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