Royal Darwin Hospital

Unknown strain of meningococcal claims the life of a child in Darwin

An infant who died in the Northern Territory after being struck down with meningococcal disease started displaying symptoms less than 12 hours earlier.

The baby, who died late on Sunday night, was enrolled at a childcare centre in Malak, where NT Centre for Disease Control staff will on Tuesday provide preventative antibiotics.

The results of a post-mortem due midweek should determine whether or not the death is linked to a current and unprecedented outbreak of meningococcal W strain in central Australia.

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Gunyangara finding new ways to create local jobs

Trying to find a job can be hard. Trying to find a job while living in an isolated community thousands of kilometres from major industry hubs is even harder.

In the Gunyangara community in far north-east Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, traditional owners are using a new kind of township lease to gain control over their own land in an effort to alleviate these difficulties for local Aboriginal residents.

But they are calling for the NT Government to contract more work to foster more Indigenous jobs.

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Djambawa Marawili 2

Landmark talks to take over local jobs and development

A traditional owner in north-east Arnhem Land is seeking greater control over economic development on his land in what’s expected to be a test case for a recent and controversial amendment to the Northern Territory Land Rights Act.

Djambawa Marawili and traditional owners in the small Baniyala community that overlooks Blue Mud Bay are in talks with the Northern Land council (NLC) about taking control of the issuing of leases on their country in the hope it will lead to economic development and jobs.

Mr Marawili said traditional owners in Baniyala, 600 kilometres east of Darwin, wanted to be able to make decisions locally, rather than requiring approval from the large, Darwin-based NLC.

Residents wanted “to have rights to control our land and also the business and economic things that we are wanting to bring onto our land,” Mr Marawili said.

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Shipwrecked WWII Vessel SS Macumba

Shipwrecked WWII Vessel ‘SS Macumba’ Finally Discovered After 74 Years Off Arnhem Land

Researchers found the merchant ship in the middle of the night, guarded by a reef shark.

A 74-year maritime mystery has finally been solved with the discovery of a merchant ship sunk in Northern Territory waters by Japanese air attack during World War II.

The wreck of SS Macumba was located around 1am on Wednesday morning during a CSIRO targeted survey in the Arafura Sea off the coast of Arnhem Land.

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The Northern Land Council has welcomed the settlement of the legal challenge by members of the Rirratjingu clan to the grant of a 99-year township lease on Aboriginal land at Gunyangara in north east Arnhem Land.

The lease, approved by the Full Council of the Northern Land Council in November last year, will be held by a Gumatj controlled Aboriginal Corporation.

The case against the Northern Land Council and the Gumatj clan began on Tuesday in the Federal Court at Darwin, but was adjourned at lunchtime yesterday for discussions among the parties.

The settlement means that Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, who has withheld his consent of the township lease because of the court action, will now be able to sign off.
NLC Chief Executive Joe Morrison said he now hopes that all parties can focus on overcoming the disadvantage faced by Aboriginal people in north east Arnhem Land.


Moving in the right direction

Teresa Holdsworth sees herself as a ‘conduit’ for the business world. She is a Small Business Champion based in Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula.

Teresa and her colleague Anne Pearce, who work for the NT Government’s Department of Trade, Business and Innovation, support businesses across East Arnhem Land.

It’s about helping new and existing businesses find where they can access support to grow and prosper. That support ranges from assessing business performance, investigating and developing workforce strategies and growth plans, to helping businesses with opportunities in government procurement.

Teresa spends time speaking with small businesses and finding out more about the business and the million dollar question: what keeps you awake at night? She then sets about pointing them in the direction of finding the right help for their particular issue

“It feels like I direct traffic. My role is to get people going in the right direction so that they can find a solution to their business challenges.

“It might be finding the right people for them to talk to or even something as simple as pointing out the right website.”

Teresa has been doing the job for just under two years. She has supported local businesses through the challenges of Gove refinery curtailment and continues to support the region through its remarkable recovery as it continues to build a sustainable and diverse economy.

“The Gove Peninsula is a fabulous place to live,” says Teresa. “There’s a great sense of community. It’s a privilege to live here and work with Yolngu traditional owners, community leaders and businesses to support the region to achieve its amazing potential.

Teresa works in partnership with the Regional Economic Development Committee, Developing East Arnhem Limited and traditional owners groups to make the most of the opportunities the region offers.

North-East Arnhem Land is remote and doing business is can be tough.

But Teresa says: “The support offered to the business community by the NT Government during the curtailment of the refinery was outstanding and that support continues.”

She loves travelling through her “patch” – Nhulunbuy, Yirrkala, Galiwin’ku, Gapuwiyak and the Laynhapuy Homelands.

“I see spectacular country – country that few are privileged to see.”

But the best part of the job is gaining the confidence of small business owners and helping them succeed.

If you would like to discuss ways to improve the profitability, sustainability or capability of your business contact our Small Business Champions team on (08) 8999 5479.


Plan for outback Indigenous age care

The Federal Government will support communities in East Arnhem Land to establish an Indigenous aged care service for local Elders that also creates and sustains local jobs.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, and Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, said foundation funding of $340,000 would help the project begin.

Working in partnership with locals is vitally important to develop and help deliver aged care for the Nhulunbuy community.

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Deltareef Gumatj Workers to Lose Jobs

DELAYS in awarding remote housing contracts will cost 15 Yolngu workers their jobs, a joint venture company has warned.

Delta Reef Gumatj has finished the construction of nine houses on Galiwinku but is still in the dark on at least one tender due to delays within the Territory Government.

DRG general manager Michael Martin said his workforce was in limbo while they waited for decisions.

“There are two tenders we are waiting for some form of official notification,” he said.

“There are only two contenders: us and a Darwin company. So I don’t understand why it is so hard.

“It seems such a shame that the local guys worked so hard to try to get ahead, and get some training, only … to have it all taken away by the short-sightedness of Government, and its program delivery methods. This current Government seems to be particularly hard to deal with, slow in its actions, and basically downright disrespectful in its attitude.

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Best Selling Author Currently in Nhulunbuy

Gove Online Community News recently caught up with Tim Flynn, who’s currently working in Nhulunbuy as an accountant.  However, not many people know that he’s also a best-selling author of historical fiction. He writes as T.S.Flynn and his novel, Part an Irishman, reached number 2 on the Amazon Best Seller List for Australian Historical Fiction last year.

The paperback currently retails in Australia for $26.50 but Tim is happy to sign copies for Gove locals in exchange for a $15 contribution to help cover freight costs for shipping the book in from America.

He’s also happy to talk to any community groups who might be looking for a guest speaker and who might be interested in our convict past.

The book has a lot of sex and violence in it, as you’d expect from a book set in a prison colony; but if you’re looking for something suitable for younger, or more sensitive readers, there’s an abridged version that Tim is also happy to supply.

Give Tim a call on 0418 479 829 or check out his Facebook page

https: //

We asked Tim a few obvious questions;

What’s the story behind your latest book?

part-an-irishman-coverPart an Irishman represents the first installment of a planned trilogy and my hero, ‘John Turner Flinn’ dropped into my lap one blistering Christmas holiday in Alice Springs. The heat precluded doing anything but watching videos and my partner and I became engrossed by a TV gangster series set in 1920’s Sydney. My girlfriend at the time had mentioned before that her granddad was a notorious gangster in roaring twenties Melbourne and a quick Trove search confirmed this as fact.

We decided to dig further into earlier generations and rapidly uncovered a colorful array of London thieves, swing rioters, ships’ captains, a Chinese gold miner and many wayward women in her family tree. I then turned my attention, to my son’s family tree and, since his mother is also a sixth generation Australian, a similar array soon emerged.

I became a bit jealous as research into my own tree yielded a faceless collection of Lancashire men and women who were publicans, coal miners, enlisted soldiers, cotton and silk weavers and railway men. The earliest ancestors I could find were economic refugees from the Irish potato famine of 1847. As in many Irish families, I grew up with the belief that I was the heir apparent to dispossessed Celtic royalty but I could find no tangible evidence to support this view. In contrast to the detailed documentation available for both sets of my in-laws, all I could do was relay family legends of a High Court Judge, a French Marchioness, George Formby, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Kate Beckinsale who were supposed to be eagerly waiting to claim kinship with me. After Christmas, we returned to Darwin and the oppressive humidity of a ‘build-up’ that didn’t end until Easter and the ancestor hunt became a bit of an obsession.

The Top End weather does funny things to people and I recall a drunken ‘phone conversation with my dad in England in which I lamented the lack of substance to our family tree. Jealousy led to a series of jokes based on the theme of ‘checking my change’ and ‘watching my pockets,’ that weren’t funny, to begin with, and rapidly became less so, as that humid Darwin summer dragged on. The response went from polite smiles to a statement that ‘probably a lot of my relatives were also sent here in chains’ and the candid advice that ‘for the good of my health,’ I stop ‘acting superior and taking the piss.’ I conceded the wisdom of this advice and decided to have a look at the long list of ‘Flynn’s’ who had been transported and see if any might be relatives and the first ‘Flynn’ I had a look at on a convict history website, became the hero of this novel, John Turner Flinn.

Flinn’s convict conduct record was unusual as it revealed a ‘lifer’ who had been a commissioned officer in the Royal Navy and was, therefore, a ‘gentleman.’ There was an enigmatic reference to the ‘Regiment’, which is an army rather than naval term, so I ‘Googled’ further. My search showed that his case was included in the ‘Newgate Calendar’, which indicated that it was big news in the 1840’s, so I followed the link and found that Flinn had given evidence for the defense at the trial of Queen Caroline for adultery in 1820. I was a bit sketchy in my recollection of Caroline’s trial, but upon refreshing my memory of Regency history via Wikipedia, was struck by the parallels to the British Establishment’s attempted crucifixion by media of a more recent ‘People’s Princess’.

A perusal of Flinn’s testimony at Caroline’s trial revealed that Flinn admitted that he had operated as a ‘spook’ in 1814 and Google provided references to his employment as an Admiralty Board Agent in Edinburgh. This was a euphemism for British intelligence gatherers at the time, so I’m sure that people would have looked at John Flinn in the same manner that they look at me when I tell people that I used to work for AusAID. There were also articles about his receiving a commission for gallantry from Lord Nelson, saving Launceston from burning to the ground and participation, with Sir Sydney Smith, in a fake funeral for a Neapolitan bandit. Sir Sydney was the equivalent of James Bond’s ‘M’ at the time. Then, the coup de grace, Google revealed that there were rumors that Flinn’s wife, Edwardina Kent was the daughter of Queen Caroline and the Prince Regent, which after the Regent’s death would make our hero’s wife the legitimate Queen of England.

In short, a story you couldn’t make up.

What motivated you to become an author?

I have often been advised to ‘write a book’ when describing my work travels to ‘sandy places’ to suburbanites, but I had always interpreted this as ‘change the subject Flynny; you’re becoming boring’. I read Bernard Cornwell’s advice to authors that one should attempt to produce a book that people would want to read after a hard day at work rather than create ‘great literature’ and I began to consider that even with my accountant’s imagination, I couldn’t mess up the delivery of material like this too much. An economic downturn in the Northern Territory gave me sufficient ‘leisure time’ to produce a first execrable draft and I sent a copy to an old mate from school, Brian Fillis who is a great screenwriter, for comment. I anticipated tactful advice from Brian that ‘I shouldn’t give up my day job’ but he was actually enthusiastic about the project and encouraged me to continue.

The villain also selected himself, John Giles Price might be the Australian version of the ‘Sheriff of Nottingham’ and the basis of Marcus Clarke’s Maurice Frere, but I have a personal score to settle with the blighter. Shortly after the end of this first novel’s time span, John Giles Price’s command of Norfolk Island began. Norfolk Island was established to punish convicts who had committed further transgressions in the colony and my partner’s ancestor, Tommy Brewster was sent there in 1850 for committing a petty theft in Hobart, after being given a seven-year sentence at the Old Bailey for pinching a cannonball from Woolwich Arsenal. Poor Tommy endured brutal torture there because John Giles Price had, like Adolph Hitler, an irrational hatred of smokers and it appears that poor Tommy could not give up the ‘baccy’. Giles Price had the poor bugger flogged and confined in solitary repeatedly for possession of tobacco. Persecution from Tommy’s great granddaughter about my similar addiction led me to ponder the intergenerational consequences of John Giles-Price’s bastardry. I also reckon that in Marcus Clarke’s time, censorship would have prevented a full description of Giles-Price’s depravity, which was clearly psychosexual in nature, so I hope that my story helps to kick his memory to pieces.

What are you working on next?

Lieutenant Flynn RNI’m thinking of a trilogy and the first novel that you’ve just read, covers the period 1843 to 1845 and coincides with Flinn getting his ticket of leave with the back story (told by letters to his son) explaining why he was transported. I envisage a second novel involving Flinn and the ‘Young Ireland’ activists transported for sedition because their stories are incredible and a back-story of Flinn chasing Napoleon’s brother in law all over Europe after Waterloo. This period coincides with Flinn getting his conditional pardon.

The final part of the trilogy will cover the period after Flinn received a conditional pardon and moved to Melbourne. John Turner Flinn also had a wayward daughter Edda, who married a US Navy officer from a family of Boston blue bloods; dumped him and appears to have slept her way through half of New York and that has to be worth a few thousand words.

The blighter Giles-Price’s ugly head will re-emerge in each of the novels so you’ll have to excuse me while I try to work out how I can extract from his seemingly hopeless position at the end of this story and into the commandant’s job at Norfolk Island.