Territory Stories

The citation : Northern Territory Police Museum & Historical Society



The citation : Northern Territory Police Museum & Historical Society


Northern Territory Police Museum & Historical Society


Citation; E-Journals; PublicationNT; Citation






Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).; This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.




Northern Territory Police Historical Society; Northern Territory Police Force; History; Police; Periodicals

Publisher name

Northern Territory Police Museum & Historical Society

Place of publication





v. 6 no. 5

File type



1839-3918; 1839-390X


Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



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That jump up was removed years later when the road was upgraded. What stunned many an apprehended felon was the element of surprise. They could never work out how Harry had known that they were travelling his way Apart from two-way radio, the main means of communication was the manually operated party line telephone. From Camooweal just over the border in Queensland, it ran throughAvon Downs Cattle Station and Police Station,. Soudan Station, Barry Caves, Wonarah, Frewena and Tennant Creek. Each place had its own code, similar to Morse code. Avon was, for instance, a long, a short and a long ring. I was telephone office keeper atAvon. Because the cattle station was on eastern standard time and the police station on central standard time, it meant I had to be in attendance half an hour earlier than the other places. I'd quite often start operating at S.30am and still be going until 1 0-11 pm. It was an unspoken honour system that one did not listen in to others' calls. However, one day when Graham took suddenly ill, I phoned the hospital in Tennant Creek to seek advice and was told to bring him straight in - a 300km plus trip. I hadn't taken one step away from the phone, when it rang. It was Mrs Harms from Barry Caves. I'd heard that she was an eavesdropper but until that moment I wasn't sure. .. Apparently in her vast and lonely planet existence, Mrs Harms couldn't help herself I tried to understand that people do strange things in strange places and thus was more forgiving of her little foible when she said that she'd heard that our baby was sick and that cornflour and water was a good remedy for diarrhoea! I was so flabbergasted that I thanked her and gently hung up the receiver. Our address is: Northern Territory Police Museum & Historical Society PO BOX 2630 Alice Springs NT 0871 Ph (08) 89518858 or Ph (08)89518836 or e-mail us on Smtp:Garth.Macpherson@pfes.nt.gov.au or Smtp:Shirley.Gillis@pfes.nt.gov.au The following is a little story based on truth, evocative of Barry Caves, that I had published in an anthology, Life Beyond the Louvres, in 1989. I called it A Fine Specimen. It was one of those little outback pubs that stood like an oasis amidst the barren moonscape of the BarklyTablelands. That such places were people with cut throat petrol pirates and cold pie merchants did not in the least diminish their appeal to thirsty wayfarers. Fred knew the next watering hole was Frewena, an hour's drive to the west, or eastwards for two hours to Camooweal. Fred knew too that his rheumy eyed, sallow skinned and slack mouthed countenance, would take on an almost angelic appearance to travellers in the last throes of dehydration and exhaustion. They'd sit up and beg like slavering puppies at the mere mention of a cold beer. That a stubby cost twice as much wouldn't even make them flinch. By the time they'd had their fill they'd be beyond arguing about prices anyway It was only the local cowboys and ringers who got a bit argumentative at times. They settled down when Fred unstrapped his wooden leg and started flaying them with it. When Fred and Barbara took over Barry Caves back in the late sixties they'd dreamed of building the place up into a grandiose five star moteL The previous owners had extolled the virtues of the place to such an extent, that when Fred had frrst set eyes on his 'dream', he collapsed into a quivering delirium of remorse. From that day onwards he was never again to be found sober. His contribution to upgrading the place was a single coat of whitewash over the rough, stone hewn, hacienda-styl~ motel units. Barbara planted a few contorted cactus plants out front to give the place a 'bit of greenery'. Fred ran the bar, Barbara, the dining room. A mouldy plastic strip curtain enticed the hungry into the eatery. Mismatched chrome chairs and chipped Larninex tables covered with tattered polytbene cloths saw half empty salt and pepper shakers corralled alongside messy sauce bottles. Greying artificial roses hung limply from cracked wall vases, whilst Please contact us if you have any interesting stories, historical information or photos that may interest our readers. Address to left. Volume 6, No 5 - October, 2000, Page 4

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