Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 February 1999



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 February 1999

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Parliamentary Record 14


Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001




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 February 1999 Auvergne called Kildurk. At the time, the property was inaccessible and poorly watered. Reg developed the property with bores, yards and fences and eventually a modem homestead. Kildurk became one of the most productive and well-run privately owned properties in the Top End of the Territory. Beginning with a basic galvanised iron homestead, Reg and Enid brought up 5 children, 3 boys and 2 girls. They were taught correspondence lessons, along with the Aboriginal children of the station workers, by Enid in the baking hot classroom at Kildurk. David, the eldest child, became a Rhodes Scholar and ultimately a Professor of Medicine at Duke University in the United States; John, the second son, a lawyer in Perth; Anne, another doctor; Ruth, an architect and director of urban design at Kent State University in the United States; and Doug, the youngest, a journalist and public relations officer for the University of Western of Australia. Certainly a family to be proud of. Kildurk was ultimately selected as an ideal site to be an Aboriginal-owned and run property and was acquired by the federal government in 1974. Reg moved with his family to Perth, but it was not long before the country called him back again. Bullita Station, not much more developed than when he had left it almost 50 years before, came on the market and before long he was back working. He and Enid established a home on the wooded banks of the East Baines and Reg set about grading an airstrip and bringing in some sense of order to the isolated property. In 1979 the Northern Territory government Minister for Industrial Development, Roger Steele, also had his eye on this picturesque and rugged country, and it was eventually acquired by the Northern Territory government to become part of the huge Gregory National Park, one of the nations treasures. Retirement beckoned Reg again but this was not to be. Reg acquired Spirit Hill, a sub-division of Newry Station, another isolated and beautiful property on the Keep River on the West Australian/Northern Territory border. When the Duracks finally sold this property and established a permanent home in Perth, it was only after securing a residence at Kununurra on the Ord River and a retreat at Lookout Springs, north of the town. Reg and Enid Durack were well-known as pioneers in the township of Kununurra. They attended the local agricultural shows and race meetings where Reg officiated as the judge. As well as a fine bushman and renowned horseman and handler of stock, Reg had an endlessly questing and inquiring mind and was at heart as much a scholar and philosopher as a cattleman. He had a great love for ancient and modem Greece, and his proficiency in the language and interest in the ideals of that cradle of civilisation led him to publish sensitive translations of Greek poetry. He earned the initial ridicule of his family by having a mysterious package containing a Greek typewriter delivered to Kildurk Regs mutually respectful relationship and productive coexistence with the Aborigines with whom he shared a love for the Kimberley is particularly worthy of note at this time of talk of reconciliation. Reg Durack died in Perth on 21 November 1998, after battling a long and debilitating illness. My colleague, the honourable Mike Reed MLA, is particularly interested in establishing a roadside monument to the Durack family, possibly at the turnoff to Bullita Station and the Gregory National Park. This would enable a significant number of our drive visitors to be reliably informed about the local history and the outback characters who played such an important role in making that history. I extend my personal sympathy to the Durack family on their great loss. Its also a great privilege tonight to speak about one of our Greek leaders, Mr John Anictomatis. Johns father, Xristos, left Piraeus, the Port of Athens in 1953, and went to Perth looking for work. Fortunately for the Northern Territory, there was no immediate employment so he came on to Darwin where his two sisters Mrs Kanaris and Mrs Fotiades were established with their families. Xristos also had his mother in Darwin, who migrated to Australia in 1937. Xristos settled into Darwin quickly and found work at the Rendezvous Cafe with Paul Pantazis. In 1955, Xristos brought his wife Chrisoulla and sons John who was 9, Leo 11, and Ross 7 years. With Evan and Nicky Nicholas they were the only Greek pupils at the Darwin Primary School. The family lived in difficult conditions in a tin shed behind 88 Mitchell Street, but in 1957, having worked hard and saved enough money, they built their first home at 3 Parsons Street, Fannie Bay. The boys then attended the new Parap Primary School where they had some difficulty in English but John was excellent in maths and in due course he completed and apprenticeship with M.V. Johnson Motors at the comer of Knuckey and Mitchell streets. In 1969, John commenced another phase of his education when he was picked out in the ballot and recruited for national service. John felt that this was a great experience and he believes today that this was an important chapter in his education. On reflection, John Anictomatis knew that he belonged 2833