Saturday, August 5, 2017


Not  shipwrecked  mariners-thirsty Darwin rock  sitters  40  years ago
One of  the  Northern Territory Library's  planned   seniors' week  events  this month is re-enactment  of  sitting  on  a  large rock   at   East Point ,  watching the sun go down  while  drinking  and  shooting  the  breeze.   If anything  like the  original  rock hopping ,  Royal  Darwin Hospital emergency  staff  may  be  run of  their feet .

The  daring  event , set  down for  August  15, is the idea of  NTL  creative artist in residence , Sarah  Pirrie . She  envisages an  obviously much  tamer   , less dangerous  rock  sitting  episode   than  the  originals , even   providing  soft   mats  for  seniors  to  sit on  in  the  library grounds . 

The promo says : Hot from rocksitting at the Venice Biennale, with ever-increasing tidelines and artists at every turn, Sarah will guide the evening with help from special guests and fellow rocksitters. Bring your stories about the coast, take a seat on a specially made rocksitting place mat and watch  the sunset.There is no mention  of  BYO , so  one suspects it  will be mineral  water  only .
The  Darwin Rock Sitters' Club , which sat on a   particular  rock every Saturday  to drink beer,  kicked  off  in  the  l970s . In  1977 ,  eight members, including three females , set   the world's  first  rock sitting  record-five days .They included  a  computer programmer , two photographers , a journalist , a mother of  two children , an  unemployment  counsellor , a carpenter , a public servant  and  hairy dog   named  Kojac.  
Over in New Zealand , there  was a move to challenge the  Darwin  record .  Darwin responded by announcing it  would stage the  world's first Rock Sit-A-Thon , launched by the NT Legislative Assembly independent  , Dawn Lawrie . The former Majority Leader in the Assembly, Dr Goff Letts , also participated , wishing them all the best  and downing a can . A  glimpse of that historic event is seen below .   
 It shows  the Prime Minister of the Rock , photographer  Bazza  Ledwidge , front , left  , dodging an attempt by  a man  wanting to   daub  his nose  with Vegemite. Bowties were sported  by some .  Barefooted  Dawn Lawrie , dubbed the Witch of Nightcliff  by Chief Minister   Paul "Porky " Everingham , was seen talking to a man who looked like Barry  McKenzie  , he with  a tube in hand .  The fire brigade  even turned up  on  the mainland  to  carry out  training . 

Unfortunately , the  rock was  split  asunder by  lightning  which  struck the  metal  pole  driven  into  it  for  flying  flags  and  wild  pole dancing , the pounding  sea  washed  the  pulverised  parts  away.  The above current   photograph  shows  the  mighty  sunset  view   from  an observation  platform  overlooking   the   spot  where    the  famous  rock   was  the  scene of  so  much  philisophical  discussion.