Wadeye Cultural Hub - Day 9

Day 9 was an exciting day on site at the Wadeye Media pavilion. It was a Tuesday, the day after the Queen’s Birthday. Whilst being irrelevant for nearly everybody everywhere (well, the footy was a thrilling see-sawing affair with quite a few magpie totems in the crowd), the Bower team celebrated, as it meant we could finally get our hands on some smooth concrete mixed in the barrel of a truck, rather than a gritty brew inside a rusty old wheelbarrow.

The formwork for the remainder of the pavilion seating had already been constructed, and the local concrete truck chugged around the site. The fabulous golden Capper-esque mullet of the concrete truck driver was displayed prominently in the side-view mirrors as the team guided the truck back into various pour locations to finish off the seats. The definitive ‘slop’ sound of each concrete pour was a highlight, as well as watching Daniel (a local guy from the TDC work crew) carefully bless each horizontal concrete surface with his trowel, an area of construction he later told me he wished to pursue further.

After a final site clean, we finally had the chance to begin the Bower Cubby project. Instantly, all the kids became completely engrossed in the construction of their individual cubbies, consisting of prefabricated wood and cable ties. Many of the kids took their cubbies back home, and filled them blankets and pillows. It reminded me of my childhood, and the youthful feeling of having your own little space.

However, it was the last day, and the excitement of the Bower Cubby project masked the unfortunate realisation that we had a long drive back to Darwin ahead. The Media Pavilion was officially wrapped up with acknowledgements and thanks, and we had a chance to meet William ‘Big Bird’ Parmbuk, one of many responsible for the transformation of the old club into what will hopefully be a thriving precinct of knowledge and culture.

We left in the late afternoon, and began the drive out of Wadeye on the long, red, dusty road. Loose cutlery and near empty butane canisters rattled in the back of the troopy as we cut through a country of billabongs and back-burning. As the sun set purple, our car discussed the next stage of the Wadeye project, one in which we hope to remain very much a part of.

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Daniel Bisetto