Sunday, May 13, 2018


Magnetic Island , Queensland,  became  an  enclave of  far away  Darwin when  the  wedding of  Melanie   Goehr  , the Northern Territory's first  female  fire fighter,   and  fellow  bright  spark  Peter  Simon  took  place .

As  if  attending  a  major  fire alarm ,  a  large contingent of  firemen   from  Darwin and   other  parts of  the nation  descended  on  the  island  for the   big   event .
Extremely fit  Melanie   played  rugby  union  for  the  Australia Wallaroos   against  the  New  Zealand   Silver  Ferns  ; took part  in Fire Fighter Olympics in Edmonton , Canada, and  Durban, South Africa ;  regularly competes in  marathon sporting events  in Townsville ,  on   and  around  the  island   and  is  a highly  regarded  masseuse . Along the way she  did an agriculture college  course  in  South Australia  and  indulged an interest in horse riding .

And  like  many a dashing  Super Hero,  she   can   leap  tall   buildings  with ease . Actually , she  operated  the  Darwin  high  rise  rescue platform  , named  the  Bronto , short  for  Brontosaurus . Darwin's newest  Bronto , costing more than $2million , can  be raised  to  a  height  of   about  43  metres.

Her adventurous  German parents, Elke  and Felix ,  came  to Australia  to start a new  life. A builder , also a keen yachtsman , Felix  taught   Melanie  aspects of  the building industry . In  search of work , the  family   sailed  out of  Fremantle  in a yacht  bound for  Darwin , but   stopped  in  Dampier for a  year  where Felix  obtained employment ,  Melanie starting  high school  at Karratha .

One of the residences   Felix built  in  rural  Darwin had  a swimming pool ,  another weed filled  one   for  a  piscatorial  pet ,   Barry the  Barramundi  , which  grew so big  he was  given  to  the  wildlife  park  at  Berry Springs . It also had its own  shipbuilding  yard  which enabled Felix to extend the size  of  his  vessel , construct  a  caravan .  

The  groom, a former electrician ,  also competed with Melanie in the overseas  Olympics plus the  Police  and  Fire  Fighters  Olympics  in Paris . Both have competed in national and   international  dragonboat  races. Peter represented the  Territory in  a  manpower  type  competition and  has appeared in  Darwin magazine  advertisements. 

While on transfer to  Dumfries, Scotland , he made   an impact  in the  local  rugby union  competition  and  became  a  marked man because of  his  prowess on  the  field . During a  match, a  burly Highlander  was   heard  issue strict  instructions to " get that New Zealand  sheep shagger " . " Actually, I  am  Australian" ,  Peter  corrected ,  then   decked   him   in  a  hard  tackle.

 Some of  the  firemen who  came to the  wedding  were once  regarded  as hunky,  sex  symbol   figures  who  bared  their  muscular  bodies  and polished   appliances   for   Christmas  calendars . With  the  passage  of  time , however ,  it was  noticed that   some of  these  older    fab   firemen   had   filled  out   in   various  parts.

 Still trim ,  Peter featured in the  l996  NT  Firefighter  Calendar which raised money for the Sunshine Association of  the NT  that assists terminally ill children .
 With   their  great skill  at  cooking  exotic  late night meals-cook ups -  in  Darwin fire stations , especially  the  popular  Sarawak   Supper , the  firemen  would  absolutely  sizzle  in   any  MKR  contest .  Soon  after a  gourmet fire  brigade  chef   arrived  on  the  island  for  the  nuptials   he  began  cooking   three  large  containers  of   tasty   curry  for  those  feeling  a bit  peckish . 
Darwin fire fighters  are   a closely  knit   group,  from  different backgrounds ,well   travelled , with  diverse interests   and  talents . One of  them , Royle  Salt , drew  the much admired  zany  Little Darwin  masthead , and  apart  from being a gifted, lightning sketcher, is in  a band . Word is that  since returning to Darwin from  the  wedding he  has had  a  Mohawk.
A fireman from   Canberra , who attended the wedding,  is an aspiring  artist  and cartoonist .     
 Darwin firemen turn on a special Christmas party for  pensioners , raise money for charity . A regular event in Darwin sees  firemen  run up the interior of a high rise building ,  catch the lift down to the foyer , grab a damsel in  distress,  and  run  with  her  to  the  finish  line .
Included  in the large Darwin contingent   were   at least two accountants ( one probably Australia's  fittest ) and  an inventor involved in  a  top secret  flying saucer  plan   for  North Australia , details of which  might be   revealed at a later stage . 
Lacey  dancing  on  granite boulder .
Venue for the  wedding was the impressive  six storey Nahmalu , named after a sacred waterhole in the   Kimberley, Western Australia ,  on the market for $2.2million, which incorporates   natural  granite  boulders  in   its   structure , has  a range of   country music  memorabilia  in showcases  , Aboriginal paintings ,   free range  rock wallabies  which  peer through special   folding   windows   at   proceedings , FIFO  Kookaburras .
Gate crashing Agile Wallaby .
During a speech , a  comedic  fireman said  Nahmalu  is  such a desirable property  a   quick whip around had been made  and  the  money  given to one of the  group, JJ  by name , recently said to  have won three trifectas ,    to  put  on  a  trifecta  in  a  bid  to  purchase the  establishment   and  turn it into a holiday resort  and  retreat  for  Territory firemen .

Several ex Darwinites  came  from Townsville , including modern  explorer and  film maker   George  Koulakis  ( ex RAAF )  ;  involved in  looking for  relics of the   ill fated Burke and Wills   expedition , he also  films  outback  remnants of  WWll  crashed  planes .  George  was  the  DJ  , pumping out  throbbing music   for the  happy , gyrating  dancers , none of which, surprisingly , fell into the swimming  pool. 

Throughout the  two-day  event  numerous subjects were  discussed ,  including  politics,  fracking ,  past  Darwin  footballers ,  Xavier  Herbert's book  about  the Northern Territory , Capricornia , the  action packed life of  former  Northern Territory  crusading  editor , Big  Jim  Bowditch.
Despite the excellent   catering  , some   people  just  cannot  be  satisfied and behave like gluttons  . Such as  the  Kookaburra   which swooped down  on   the bridegroom  , snatched the  raisin toast  he  was  about   to eat ,  which  caused  Peter 's  cup  of  tea  to  runneth  over .  

Spotted in the  throng was an official from a Queensland  museum, the proud owner  of  a  brand  new  Darwin  car  and  the  Queen  of  the  Jungle .

GLORY BOX / SEA CHEST : The father of the  bride is keen  to  sell  his  specially built  large yacht  in  Darwin , for  $48,000 ,  and  is willing  to  negotiate , perhaps  throwing   in  his  two  trailer sailor  boats, one obtained at a recent  garage sale ,  as  freebies ,  along  with  a  slice  of  wedding  cake .