Thursday, 10 May 2012

Danger in Darwin

My recent visit to Darwin highlighted that danger lurked on every corner.  The day would not be complete without a crocodile story on the front page of the daily paper.  A recent favourite carried the headline Croc eats nine pet dogs.  (Check out the croc photo gallery on the linked page too!) Those crocodiles don't muck around.  Having seen them at feeding time last time I was in Darwin, I don't want to have anything to do with them.  Any of them.  Ever.

Given that the Top End has dinosaurs turning up in people's swimming pools and chowing down on puppies, it's easy to think that they breed them tough up there.  You can't be a wimp a live in the Territory.

After enjoying lunch by the water at Cullen Bay, I spotted this bronze beauty lounging  in the sunshine.
Bronzed. (c) divacultura 2012
It's a shame he had to be mounted on blocks.  If he was just standing on the paving he'd look very realistic.  I studied him, marvelling at the bumps and ripples on his armour plating.  I walked around the other side and noticed a sign.
Keep off crocodile - sharp edges may cause injury.
(c) divacultura 2012
So in the land of the tough, there's a warning on the bronze crocodile.  I threw back my head and laughed.  The instruction to "keep off the crocodile" seemed redundant at best; the words "sharp edges may cause injury" seemed to be stating the obvious.  Had someone been injured while climbing on the crocodile and then sued someone?  I looked around and then patted the crocodile.  Would a ranger (curator?) pounce the moment they saw me place myself in peril.  Is this what park rangers do now?  I pictured them hanging signs around the necks of live crocodiles to warn unsuspecting tourists.  If they're not doing this, what are they doing to protect us?  Surely real crocodiles are more dangerous than the bronze statue of a crocodile!

There was another warning about danger which I encountered in another unexpected place.  At the Defence Museum I came upon this sign:
Caution! Danger! (c) divacultura 2012
Clearly when people go troppo they start climbing on things and hurting themselves on the sharp edges.  War materials are inherently dangerous - designed to kill - but we need a warning about sharp edges.

I hadn't noticed this feature of Darwin before.  What had happened in the five years since I had left?  The heat haze made me see sharp edges and danger everywhere.  I looked at the post office and newsagency with new eyes.  They are both in danger of legal action being taken against them for negligence as they lack the appropriate sign:

Pieces of paper may have sharp edges.  To ensure your safety, please handle with care, wearing appropriate personal safety equipment.

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