Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 10


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 advance their careers. This is the position with Ted Steele who is now an associate professor in science at Wollongong University. Ted was born in Darwin in October 1948. His parents. Bob and Mary, had arrived at Larrakeyah Barracks on transfer from Hobart a couple of months earlier, along with Bobs son, Roger. In 1932 and 1933, Bob Steele had served with the Northern Territory Forces Darwin Detachment which constructed the coastal batteries at East Point and at Emery Point. When he returned to Darwin in 1948, Bobs plan was to retire from the army, having served beyond his 20 years and having achieved the rank of Warrant Officer First Class which was as high as he could go. In 1949, the Steeles moved to Berrimah and, with Bobs payout from the army, they purchased a small farm from Pat Delaney. The farm was opposite the Qantas establishment, now Kormilda College. It became the site of intensive clearing and cultivation. The Steeles produced snake beans, french beans, water melons and a number of other useful small crops suitable for the local market. Later, the produce was packed in cartons and delivered to the DC-3 air service for markets interstate. Market gardening was a risk and, like so many farmers in Australias history, the Steele familys farming venture foundered as a result of a lack of markets and the high cost of transportation. Having recognised these disadvantages, Bob and Mary combined with a number of growers in a similar situation and formed the New Life Cooperative Society which was established on the spot now occupied by the Royal Globe Building and alongside the former DX Bakery in Cavenagh Street. The coop building was constructed from corrugated iron and arc mesh on a concrete slab which had earlier supported one of China Towns businesses prior to the bombing of Darwin. The business folded after nearly 12 years service to the Darwin community. Bob and Mary Steele were the prime movers behind the Winnellie-based Maranga and Rural Districts Progress Association on which they both held executive positions. Dick Snell, the son of builder Harold Snell, was the president and, in 1951, the association conducted Darwins first agricultural exhibition which was the forerunner of the Darwin show. This exhibition was conducted in the general area of the present Aviation Museum on the northern side of the Stuart Highway. Bob Steele was also one of the original milkos in Darwin. He delivered the milk produced by Rupert Kentish at his Berrimah dairy farm. With the folding of the coop, Bob, who had been a member of the Queensland Survey Corps, took employment with a number of mining and road construction companies which took him away from Darwin to Groote Eylandt, Katherine, Kununurra and far off Kalgoorlie. He also worked as a plane tabler and surveyor for Gutteridge, Haskins and Davey and he conducted the contour survey of Casuarina. Bob surveyed the road from the jump-up east of Top Springs through VRD and Jasper Gorge to the Western Australian border. During this period, Mary became the book-keeper at Lims Victoria Hotel in Smith Street and was the company secretary when the Lim family built their hotel at Rapid Creek. Mary served the Lims for 25 years and was known as Aunty Mary to generations of Fong Lims. Ted Steele, with his sisters, Gay and Mignonne, was educated in Darwin. Gay was one of the first teachers recruited to Casuarina High School. Sadly, she lost her life in a tragic parachuting accident. Ted Steele was educated first at the infant school at Frog Hollow and at 3318