Tiwi Islands – Northern Territory

Unqualified Backpacker Blog

Unqualified Backpackers decide which areas to clear – excerpts from 1 online blog

Posted by tiwiccbb on September 22nd, 2007

niki maguire
niki maguire

The morning Light!
The morning Light!
i get to see this every day!

By Brummy
March 30th 2007


Current mood: Twitchier than Cambodia!!

Hey guys! Well its finally Happened. The reason i flew into the northern Territory has Worked out for me and i Have landed a job on Melville island a hundred times better than i thought i would have! There was me thinking id be doing the typical Planting and picking of Fruit that most Backpackers do but instead i have taken a step up the Ladder and onto the steps of Agricultural Planning. Im top of the food Chain Baby mooooooooooooohahahahaha xXx

By Brummy
April 1st 2007
So the week started out with the Basic sorting of sites we would visit for the week as possibilities only due to excessive rainfall on the island! We are still waiting for the camping to start. The monday and tuesday were a little bit bit different for me! Usually, as im not qualified i get to go out with Rob and make a few decisions based on wether the ground or the routes for the walk are good enough for the day but the monday in question i was as good as in charge! I went out with a guy called Chris who knows what he’s doing but is as new to it as me (but with Qualifications) So off we go in the Troopy (jeep) to this site up in the middle of the island called Andra 12 where we were to walk the typical 10km in search of Rainforest through the creeks!! The day went great and i got to make the route decisions which is cool as ive only been here 14 days working! We did however run into a bunch of Grazing Buffalo that we startled and they ran in all directions!! The worrying thing about these are that they must weigh about a tonne and when you can only hear them running through the Bush without Visuals its hard to see which way they are coming from or going for that matter!! Politely i shit myself! Running for the nearest tree myself and chris just stood there til the crashing had stopped! Not even twenty metres of walking after the crashing began again!! OOOOoooh this was twitchy hahahah nevermind that time they never came back! The walk went well and we got back to the car! Home we went for some well earned dinner and abit of desert! I tell you what guys the food here is overly sufficient! To much of a good thing some may say!

The second day was pretty much the same going back to the same site but this time with Rob i guess to check how we had got on!! On our say so from the day before we had almost as good as rejected the block but we needed official checking! OOOOoh and we got it!! My first Rejection… and let me tell you it doesnt happen often hahah i wish!!

So Day three. Wednesday morning and my biggest walk yet! 17km. All before 3pm! And might i add the funniest day ive had in Australia!

I got to the office at 6am to be given the choice of a big walk or a small walk! Before i could even speak my mate Boof jumped in with he would be taking the Small walk so fine by that i got set up for a big Day! Thank god my boots are dry i thought! Not that it ever lasts long out here!

So rigged up for the day we get out to the Jeep (myself and Rob) and head out to a site that was abit different to others! The deal was that instead of normally getting most of the way by road and then walking we had to get to the site i was working on with Chris earlier in the week and walk through the entire block before even reaching our Second Target! This meant that even before the Manditory 10km walk we would do to get around a Boundary we would first have to walk that far to get there just to begin! Well almost!

Pulling up at the road side the heavens opened so after listening to more and more music, avoiding the inevitable, we eventually got our bags on and off we trooped! Across Bush land of the typical kind…. Through the Wet land and bush myself and chris were chased through by Buffalo…. And onto the trails of a creek…. we thought! As Rob had forgot the maps we wernt really sure what creek we were crossing or for that fact how many there would be to help orientation. Now i think i must explain a thing or two about Melville island!! Apart from the sea being deadly with Box Jelly Fish and Sharks all of the reans and creeks of any big size including the coast lines and river mouths all hold Crocodiles of both Fresh and Salt water Variety! So as we hit this Marsh wet land and are literally walking through masssive areas of swamp like terain along side of the creek Rob reminds me that we shouold be looking out For Crocs or at least be keeping them in mind!! I love this whole Keep things in mind speech! Just love it! After telling me that is it likely my mind will be on the lovely trees and surrounding Greenery!?@@? Please Give me some credit!

So waiding through Mud and slush over the ankle high hahaha we were in Commando mode watching for every little thing that moved….. Live Logs if you get my drift and Deep puddles with the occasional Snake! I should be on Danger money! Finally we found a crossing…. A bit of a verge steppy stoned across the creek that Rob had already braved to try and Waid through but was too deep to manage so grabbing onto surrounding trees we stepped on the Pandanas grass routes to the other side!! Happy days…. for about ten minutes!! As i said earlier we didnt know how many creeks there were! So pulling up to another Creek side it now seemed that from the Gps readings this was the one we had saw earlier on the maps in the office! Ahh Balls i though just when the Crocodile Possible Stalking had stopped!

In a rage of Confidence i battled through the fear and opened my mouth maybe a little to soon! As we already had walked miles i said to Rob the deal was this! If in 50 metres of walking we havnt found a good place to cross we are risking it and swimming! Being a danger Man he though this was wicked so off we went bottling it after 50 but within 70 we had stopped! There was this tree partl;y bent over the creek that if climbed on correctly we could walk half and easily jump the rest of the way! Getting back was another question! Balls to this i said if there is crocs in there they will get us (being all brave) so de bagging and getting all the gear in the ruck sacks Rob walked to the side of the creek to throw his bag across! One, two three and his bag was hurled through the air and cleared the water by miles! Happy days! So he walks towards the tree to get over to the other side! As he had just passed me i began to swing my bag hahahah but like an English Bowler in a good Cricket match i threw my bag hi into the air seeing instantly the bag wasnt going to make it hahaha Guys the river was not even 2 metres wide hahahahah

So landing on the Bank just in the water the current grabs the Bag and slowly pulls it into the faster flowing Current hahaha Im on the side line saying im going (one step closer) im going (another step closer) and just about to dive rob shouts im gone Taking his first step into the water! On his second step however He completely disapeered hahahaha i nearly pissed my self his Hat stayed ontop of the water and as he returned to the surface his head found the hat for a perfect fit hahahahah so funny!! The current had grabbed him though so he was a good two to three meters down streem hahaha so clambering out in fear of crocs i was in tears at him then having to try and get over a tree that was difficult with my crying fit giggles hahahah Rob your a star son you made the day hahahah! So jumping across he shouted at me you Mad Bastard laughing his arse off! We rawed for a while myself loosing my breath hahahah so soaked he decides to grab some lunch!! The Plastic boxes we use to put our food in had smashed so my nicely prepped Sarnies were discusting! I got abit of Soily filling but the rest was sickening! For the entire day i got Grapes! I was starving hahahah

The walk continued and turned out to be the Hardest walk ive ver done! We were literally walking through Mud that at times literally Swallowed me up to my waist to Robs high amusement! The Feet were crippled but the Van was in sight after numerous detours trying to avoid the Marsh lands! I tell you what guys this Job would make TV in its finest!

For the remainder of the week we were all at a lost end as with rain the roads on the island were out so every one who was on them got bogged! The best way to get through a boring day is to go fishing! Or as it was this time it turned out to be more like Crabbing! We got four and a few little fish! All good for a days work!! Nothing but love for the way the Abo’s nock up abit of tucker too!! Its a great experience!!! Im living a travelling dream!

By Brummy
May 4th 2007

So after a good week’s break I was back on the Plane and back over to the island for another good

Rock wallabies on the way home!!
Rock wallabies on the way home!!

8 day shift!! The shift went pretty well!! Plenty of variety for this shift as I was out Setting traps to assess endangered animals in the surrounding Blocks already accepted and Marked for Clearing! The other Bonus was that we had got to go back out to The block I talked of in a previous Blogg where myself and Rob were crossing some Hairy looking creeks!! Ahhh it was as good this time though we walked some K’s this time over the three days!! The first of the three was a really an entrance mission!! After getting pretty disorientated last time we had to find a better way in but from maps you can never really tell what the land is going to be like!! All they really do is give you knowledge into the possible locations of Creeks etc but Wet lands and swamps don’t seem to be picked up, then hence all the walking to assess actual plantation areas! So the first Day we were looking at better access routes to the area! From all directions the distance was about 3km in which is a pain in the arse for later Work loads like Dunnart (small mouse like things) trapping where tonnes of Material needs to be carried to the sites!!

Looking at maps we decide to go in from another Block already cleared and planted which would potentially put us nearer the area and make access easy!! Hahhaha like I said before the Maps don’t tell all so into the swamps we went shitting our pants as this is a known Crocodile Breeding ground!! Thank god we didn’t see any!! Fun it was though as there were times where we would be up to our knees and Rob being the camera man for the day insisted on getting shots of me in the Water holes before the crocs spotted us hahah it was a laugh!! Health and safety will go mad if they read this hahahaha! (on that note we want SHOT GUNS)

So successfully in after debating on routes due to scariness we found a fallen tree that bridged the river/creek that was a bit of a funny balancing act!! For the week the bet was on as to who would fall in first!! To be honest with my wobbly knees it looked a lot like it would be me hahha ………. My first Successful block was sorted and I was chuffed!! In between the Walking Days I was out helping Sean (an Ecologist) dig survey traps which made things a little less monotonous! With the shift coming to an end My self and Rob were getting ready for another fun pact Break!! Unfortunately no camping but this break is to bring Spider Man 3 and Bretts 21st Birthday!! I cant wait its going to be special!!! Spider Man, spider man…. Ahh where are you Han for my excitement!! Think Rob gets a little more excited than you though!

niki maguire
niki maguire


By Brummy
May 23rd 2007
Current Mood: Hot springs with Crocodiles…… EEEEEEEEEErrry!

Well as ever I came to town for a great break but had to return to the island for yet another 9 days of work saying my final good byes to Shell as she had plans to leave for the east coast. The excitement of next break was for many reasons….. Bass in the grass came to town which was to be a Scream, Bretta had finally landed a gig on the island working for the same department as me and I had been invited on a Camping trip that would hit two locations. All to be explained in full……… as I always do hehehe x

So out on the island I was running the drill of digging rock for holes that would be used in Dunnart trapping doing some things slightly different it would seem hahaha (god the working life is getting tedious) when I heard of GSP (Great Southern P???? something, id reckon Plantations) were back dooring the agencies and getting guys employed through internal and external but direct applications!! This was on the Wednesday. Thursday morning I had blagged Brett a place and he was out on the island

The van
The van

working along side his good Brummy buddy (you know you think I’m great). It was great to se him out here as before I only got to catch up with him on my breaks which I could never be arsed to do anything with!! He’s not so lost in conversation now. Working the week out we got to show Brett some of the sights including Salties (crocs) swimming along in the ocean before jumping in our selves for a kind of in and out sort of swim!! Risky stuff. The croc we saw earlier was a good 3 metres long. After this though there was only one thing in mind….. Bass in the Grass!

By Brummy
June 25th 2007Current mood: ConcernedThe Centurions challengeOk after Bass in the Grass weekend I swore that I would never drink again. Maybe never again was a tall order so during the shift that followed the crazy break we were sent camping as the locations we would be walking were to far to drive and walk in a day. So the Monday morning we were all to get gear ready where we were to spend a few nights messing around with camping equipment beyond many peoples wildest dreams hahaha I mean…. I microwave in your tent??? Please this isn’t a rough experience. Or so the bosses would say!! Lets think of a camp site without beers around the fire and tubbed frozen Sunday dinners no grass to walk on but sand and dirt leaving everything shit dirty and your nose full of dirty snot… this guys is not a real good laugh!! Anyway persisting with the job we spent our shift some camping and some back in Maxwell Creak where the main site is based. The following break we would spend catching up with the guys in town and just getting up to the general fun fuelled drinking in theCav and other locations not to mention a Boxing event where we watched 9 fights the last being a mate of ours (Gaz) making a nock out within 30 seconds of his 1st round. Well done son!Going back to work after this break was dreaded to be honest as we were sure that we would have to do a full week at this camp site that in all honesty is only fun when walking apart from dinner times of course when we were knocking up steaks and burgers which was a glorious change from eating yesterday lasagne. The walking was quite good though the green ants were in force but walking with the Tiwi lads made things a little better. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned in other bloggs but im now allowed to lead walks making my own decisions on the land restrictions deciding for officials where we can and cant plant.So me and Sabo taking one route and Rob, Brett and Romeo taking another we were all out doing transects on this pretty tough walking terrain. Loads of low level vegetation and thick grass making visibility poor Sabo and Romeo collectively over the Radios decided to get a bit of a burn going. This was awesome there were bush fires everywhere and on leaving the Block we looked back to see the vegetation was burning nicely. One week prior to what is known on the island as Tiwi Bush burn week our blocks were going beautifully.

So we worked our 9 day shift out with a couple of beers in this stint as the camping out was getting pretty tedious. Being back at Maxwell called for the Amber nectar. Sitting around at nights in Maxwell creek is ok but the focus for me to be honest is how much sleep will I get tonight. We are up and in work for 6am working 12 hour days giving us not to much time for socialising, which is possible if you like walking 15 km in the sunshine of Australia on 5 hours kip. A good night of 10 hours is needed for me hahaha Asia made me lazy. In conversation I think everybody was getting bored of the shift currently being worked so plans for the break were in force. What could we do?? Camping?? ERRRR NAH…. Drinking???? MMMMMMM maybe!

The following night

at camp just after dinner the decision was made. Drinking in Darwin can get pricey with the way we carry on so the plan was to get something going at one of our houses.

By Brummy
August 3rd 2007Back tracking a little though Melville over the last few weeks has been interesting!! I’ve been working with Matty and Sean on the Dunnart trapping in attempts to rest my leg until full recovery! It’s been sweet!! Basically we now use a tractor instead of shovels to dig holes and I have been learning to drive a bit. Other than that work is the usual slog of walking and politics and I’m now counting down the shifts to the day I move on! September awaits me!!

By Brummy
August 17th 2007
Counting down the days and shifts!!Well well well… Coming back to work from a great weeks drinking and Camping wasn’t so bad after all! In fact it was more like a Holiday. We rocked up a day late due to a designated day off for the Darwin Cup that I said we missed out on. No problem. So at 7.30am, I’m in the office to find that the week will consist of the usual really….. Not to much walking and plenty of digging. So that we did. As the week went by myself and Brett got to go out alone on some boundary marks and other work type things giving us the chance to hit a few cool spots around and about the island!So from Monday to Friday I was out on me lonesome acting like my own boss which was great. I got to get out and about with Sabo and Romeo which was cool as they keep trying to teach me Tiwi which I know is literally piss taking to them guys! Every time I repeat things they both piss them selves laughing at me but I keep it up to keep those


boys happy! Anyway myself Romeo and Sabo were sent out to get some boundaries marked so off we went myself ahead of those boys leaving them to tidy up the line I was leading with! A few km’s ahead I realize I was out of reach on the radios so deciding to keep walking I got back to the car a good hour before them! Sitting and waiting I could hear scratching on the radio where it seemed they were getting closer!! Reading a coordinate out over the radio I started up the car and headed in there direction!! I was chuffed!! Out I was driving on bush tracks with no license!! At least I’m learning though ay!!!!

Catching the boys further up the road we all got back to camp in time for their weekend barge to the other island (Bathurst) where they have lived for the most of their lives! Man those guys are interesting I will be sorry to say good bye to them!


3 Responses to “Unqualified Backpacker Blog”

  1. tiwiccbb said


  2. Anonymous said



  3. tiwiccbb said


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: