Sunday History Photo / NT

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 08:08
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This year of 2011 marks 100 years since Mt Bundy Station was founded by Hubert Fred Hardy in 1911.
Mount Bundey is situated 105 road Klms South of Darwin in the zone locally known as Top End. It used to comprises approx.830,000 acres of mainly flat to rolling country covered by a light scattering of trees. It was in 1940 at a Race meeting on Mt Bundy that Fred Hardy was killed , aged 59, He was buried on top of a hill near the homestead and is visible from from my Caravan Site in the shed.

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Down at the Intersection of Haynes Rd and the New Stuart Hwy are the remains of a Rail siding that was used to ship out Mt Bundy Cattle before the war, next to that siding a new spur line was added for the WW2 Hospital Train.
Before the War the Station was called Mt Bundey, after the war it was called both Bundey and Bundy and from about 1990 the E was dropped and now the official name is Bundy

During WW2 there were many Military Camps here on Mt Bundy and the remains of buildings, rubbish, Bottles, parts of vehicles and Machinery are scattered all over the place . Some of the Camp sites I have Identified by studying the trees are, Norforce Rear HQ, Norforce Motor Repair Shop, US Navy Fleet Radio Detachment 1943/1945, US Base Section 4, US Base Section 1 Motor Pool, RAAF Airstrip, Payne Airstrip, 8th Australian Division Cavalry Regiment, Army Gardens, an Outdoor Picture Theatre, a Sports Oval (Concrete Cricket Pitch is still there) and a concrete slab that was a Bellman Hangar, and there are many more in the area that would have been on Mt Bundy during the War years when the Station was much larger, just to name a few close to here were Adelaide River Power Station No 2, 119th Australian General Hospital, Allied Works Council,
13 L of C Salvage Coy and an Army Abbatoir.
You might have smiled when you read the part where I said the study of Trees, well check this You Tube out.

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In 1967 the American company W.R Grace purchased Mt Bundy from a Mr Bill Ross. at that time the station 1365 square miles.
The cattle herd was basically Brahman Cross (Brahman/Shorthorn) with purebred Brahman bulls being used.Trials took place with Brahman/Charolais bulls and Belmont Red bulls.
Following the weaning of calves in May, Mount Bundy was running approximately 11,500 cattle of all ages and classes,

A Mr Philip Moore worked for W.R.Grace Australia as Marketing Manager in their Fertiliser division in Melbourne, and was asked to go up to the Northern Territory to Mount Bundy Station as their Operations Manager.
He made many trips to the NT for work purposes and then in 1973 his family was moved up to Adelaide River to join him and live in the Homestead at Mount Bundy Station. The previous Manager remained on the station, and Phil's job was separate and independent as he was intended to find new opportunities for the business. The first objective was to develop the cattle business by bringing in brahman cattle and crossing with local short-horns. Another important aspect was catching, domesticating and breeding of the Asian Water Buffalo. At its peak there were approx. 20,000 cattle and buffalo behind the wire.
Some cattle were turned off via the local abattoir and in 1974 live exports of buffalo commenced. Sales were via United Nations programme to replace buffalo in country surrounding Vietnam and all initial deliveries were flown out of Darwin in converted 707's.
With the growth of livestock numbers, other markets were needed and his prime responsibility became developing overseas markets which led to the chartering of a livestock carrier, the ship "Goodstar". Most prominent markets were Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and the first of these deliveries commenced in 1975.
This trade immediately grew beyond Mount Bundy's capacity alone and so an export consortium was formed along with Tipperary Station, Mount Douglas Station, Kiiarney Station, plus outside purchasers. At its peak, exports reached almost 15,000 cattle and buffalo per year and these were readily acceptable almost anywhere because of Australia's clean and green image.
Live exports, compared with the domestic market, were very profitable.

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Mount Bundy School
There was a small schoolhouse on the Station, not far from the Homestead, with one teacher provided by the company. Our three girls attended the school from when we arrived on the station but after cyclone Tracey they had to make some hard decisions. There were no possibilities of sending their two older girls up to Darwin High Schools and because of their dilemma W.R.Grace kindly supported them by agreeing to pay for boarding school in Melbourne for the two of them. These days the old school is used for workers accomodation.

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Christmas 1974 Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin with tremendous damage. Mount Bundy Station was the first property down from Darwin which had 2 of its own generators, a large cool room, a diesel tank, high frequency radio, phones and telex..
Darwin Hospital immediately removed large stocks of their medicines etc. to Mt Bundy which were stored in the cool room. Police guards were set up at the gate to Mount Bundy and entry was strictly controlled because of the drug and medicine storage.
As Mt Bundy was the first property down the Stuart Highway that could offer temporary accommodation to victims of the cyclone, all of the empty houses were filled up very quickly, as many staff were away on holiday. They shared food between the various families and the local district nurse helped those who had injuries.
Volunteers from Mt Bundy men and local police etc. took the Bundy Toyotas and other heavy equipment up to Darwin to help with the removal of bodies, clearing of sites etc, A very grim task.
Of course hundreds of people drove through Adelaide River on their way South after the cyclone and many camped or stayed there on the way. The Health Authorities became concerned at the possibility of a spread of infectious diseases, dysentry etc. They then asked Mount Bundy if their men would pump out all the septic tanks for Adelaide River as they must be overloaded by these extra hundreds of people. This effluent was then taken by the men to a remote area and dumped, covered with diesel and burned.

Today the after many Auctions over the years the size has been reduced to 220 Acres with 22,000 acres leased.

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Reply By: Member - John Q (QLD) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 08:56

Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 08:56
Thanks Doug, very informative & an interesting read. Always look forward to your Sunday "history lesson".

just crusin & smelling the flowers

1. At Halls Creek (Is he really lost?)
2. East of Cameron Cnr

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Reply By: Member - Bruce W (QLD) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 09:19

Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 09:19
Another good one Doug. We were up that way last year
The utube bought back a few memories.
Bruce W
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Reply By: Ray - Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 09:21

Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 09:21
Well Doug. You have rely excelled this week
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 10:07

Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 10:07
Hi Doug

Another great read.


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Reply By: Member - jay D (VIC) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 10:09

Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 10:09
Hi Doug

This is fantastic, having spent a little time there with you i am familiar with some of those sites!
Good job very well done.


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Reply By: Member - Min (NSW) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 11:21

Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 11:21
Hi Doug,

For some time now you've been giving us these regular history lessons on things Australian. Today was a cracker. Thank you.

Long live Bundy Station as a respite for travellers and a reminder of our history.

We look forward to staying with you in the not too distant future.

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Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 13:20

Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 13:20
Hi Doug

Thanks again....the more I read of Mt Bundy the more I know I am coming there to see for myself .......that is set in stone....just not the date as yet....

keep it up....... your Sunday posts are the highlight of the forum each week

Life is a journey, it is not how we fall down, it is how we get up.
VKS 1341

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Reply By: Fred G NSW - Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 13:40

Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 13:40
Good read Doug.

My late father in law was up there in WWII during the Darwin bombings, before going on to New Guinea.

He enlisted at Maitland NSW, trained at Greta Barracks, and served as a Cook, or "Spud Barber" as he put it, up there. He often referred to Adelaide River, so maybe he was at Mt. Bundy. He always regretted not being able to get back up there post war.

I think many younger Australians don't realise, just how big military operations from both a defence and strategical aspect were up there during those years, and for good reason.

Cheers mate.

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Reply By: Member - Dalb (SA) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 15:41

Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 15:41
G'day Doug
I have been a long-time silent lurker of your Sunday History articles and, as someone has already said, they are always a great read but you have really excelled yourself this time.
Once in '79 and again in '82, regretably for a few days only, I had cause to visit the buffalo export abattoirs at Pt Stuart (also known as Jimmys Creek, I think) and Mudginberry. These places abounded in stories and characters, but perhaps none so large as Jay Pendarvis. Jay later came to fame in the industrial relations scene.
My most memorable experience up there was one day in July 1979 when the Darwin based Air Force personnel came out to Pt Stuart in force for a cricket match against the abattoir workers. It was a fun picnic day with a huge hungi and copious beers - but the cricket match was taken pretty seriously.
I am mentioning all this because you may well have access to information you could use for a future Sunday History lesson.

Cheers, and keep up the good work, Dalb
Cheers, Dalb

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Reply By: Member - Ray (QLD) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 23:51

Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 at 23:51
Gday Doug

Good to catch up and have a chat on saturday Doug. You said todays would be a good one.

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Reply By: Off-track - Monday, Jun 20, 2011 at 10:54

Monday, Jun 20, 2011 at 10:54
Yep, another damn fine SHP, Doug.

The pic of Fred Hardy I am sure I have seen in a book before, 'Hell West and Crooked" maybe?
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