After driving through perhaps hundreds of towns between Melbourne and here, its interesting to notice what stands out to you about a place. I have found that in most towns the first thing I notice is the architecture. It’s so amazing to me that houses in Melbourne are different to those in Sydney, and the same is true of houses in Cairns and now Nhulunbuy. Here they are mostly one storey, have lots of air conditioners and are made of plaster board or concrete blocks. There also seems to be an abundance of green Colourbond metal on houses and fences.
Nhulunbuy is a town of 3500ish people with lots of trees and red dirt. Almost everywhere you go you see evidence of the Rio Tinto mine that operates here, in the mine sites, housing for employees or the tracks of land used for roads and the conveyor belt to transport earth to the refinery. The town itself has a couple of churches, schools, a Centrelink office, a Woolworths supermarket, a BP service station, a bank and a number of other official offices and random shops. There might be more than this – but I haven’t found them yet!
We ventured into the supermarket today for some lunch supplies and a little bit of a look around. And I must admit I find it interesting to see how living in a remote place changes the prices of items. A baby cup and baby food is cheaper than what it cost in Victoria but most fresh things (fruit, veggies, meat and dairy) are a lot more expensive. Milk, a staple for Jason in our family shopping list costs $4 for 2 litres or $7 for 3 litres of REAL milk. Thankfully the UHT variety is a lot cheaper. Cherry tomatoes were $5.40 for a punnet. All the bread is stored in the freezer, which isn’t really a problem as it had defrosted by the time you get it home to eat for lunch, due to the warm weather. Meat is all kryovaced in small quantities, so you can buy 2 chops rather than 6 in one package, at about $9 per kilo. Plastic shopping bags don’t exist here in the supermarkets, which is a nice change – but inconvenient when you forget your cloth ones…. Or in our case they are buried so far in the depths of the Landcruiser that you wouldn’t know where to start digging to find them.
The weather is perfect here at the moment. High twenties each day with not much humidity and lots of wind to keep you cool. Fantastic for doing all our washing from camping! If only it could stay like this all year.
We have been told that we can move into our new home tomorrow which is in the community of Yirrkala. Yirrkala is an aboriginal community about 20 minutes out of Nhulunbuy that is home to about 800 people. We went out there last night for a bbq and were able to have a drive around to see the sights. The community has some official buildings, like a health centre, school, church and an IGA supermarket. It has a gorgeous beach, which has crocodile warning signs everywhere. The town has lots of aboriginal homes, with a few for MAF staff mixed in. The house we will be living in is on ‘MAF row’ and is one of the newer MAF houses. Our neighbours will be the Hovendons, friends I knew from my Bible College days, what a treat to have old friends nearby and show us the ropes! They welcomed us with a yummy dinner and Tim Tams when we arrived on Friday night, which was wonderful after such a long day.