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Title: Surveying the road to East Point - 1942
Name: Smith, Tom
My Story: The 43rd did not stay long at Winnellie. To have more ready access to the Darwin coastline, the unit moved to the Bagot compound. Originally it was a military hospital, and was dotted with cement bases where tents had been erected (these were the wards). It later became an Aboriginal housing area. East Point was the main working area. Three of us from the Intelligence Section surveyed a road through dense timber - a 11 mile stretch. After the surveying the Pioneer Unit cut a road through to the other bank. Originally to reach East Point, and to leave it, had to be by the same road. It was on this exercise we came face to face with our first Water Buffalo. It was feeding on the edge of a small lagoon. We stopped dead, noticed it was not making any move toward us, and continued on our way. The buffalo did not follow us and we breathed a sigh of relief. As was the normal custom we had been issued with five rounds of rifle ammunition (for which we signed). Again the rounds were returned on our return to Bagot. About two miles later we came upon an aborigine (he was in war paint) fishing with a spear. He did not speak English, but made it clear that we were to keep quiet. Even relaxing a slight movement of the foot raised his temperature. He managed to catch the fish he wanted, then relaxed and smiled. After exchanging signals he departed in a good mood. Completing our survey, we returned to base without further interruption.
Place: Darwin
Appears in Collections:Territory Times Gone By

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