What a fabulous free museum in Darwin! We only had a couple of hours to spend at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory but it was such a treat to be able to visit. A talk on Cyclone Tracy had started just minutes before we got there so the first thing we did was pop in there for a listen. The cyclone hit on Christmas Eve 1974. The talk was being given by a man who had lived through it and it was so, so interesting to hear him talk of the events of the storm. He was full of facts and figures as well as anecdotes. One that stuck with me was that after the cyclone 35,000 people were evacuated in the week following the storm, leaving Darwin with a population of just 10,000. We lasted nearly through the whole talk but TurboBug (2) was having too much fun playing with the fold up chairs in the auditorium so we had to duck out. There was much to explore. The auditorium was near the kids’ room (which didn’t allow photography) so we played there for a bit before moving on. The main corridor was a treasure trove! If I hadn’t had kids to chase I could have spent an hour here looking at all the specimens from birds to lizards to shells to crystals. What an amazing collection! (I know, my pictures are terrible in this museum, it all looks so much better in person.) We watched the video about Sweetheart, a giant croc who they tried to relocate in the late 70s but he died in the process. He was 5.1m long and weighed 780 kg (1720 lbs). The museum has an extensive collection of documentation of rock art in the NT. This one was in the main corridor and was painted by a man who documented many of those sites. I just read on their website that the museum has 1.2 million animal, fossil, rock, and mineral specimens. That is staggering. This large room off the main corridor held many of the animal specimens. There was so much to see in this room! There was an exhibit on Cyclone Tracy, complete with a sound boothwhere you could listen to the sounds of the storm. Throughout the exhibit you could listen to stories recorded by people who had lived through the storm. Darwin is considered one of the more modern cities in Australia because it had to be rebuilt after the storm. Even the trees had to be planted since the cyclone stripped the trees right off the land. The aerial shots were fascinating. The pictures compared the area before the cyclone, after the cyclone, and decades later. So it’s called the Museum and Art Gallery, but we didn’t have much time to explore the art before rushing out to make it to a dental appointment. We found this ‘Mater’ and had a quick walk through the gallery on our way out. LadyBug consistently tells us she wants to be an artist when she grows up, so I asked her to pick her favourite painting for a picture. As we left we told the kids we would return another day but we never made it back. The short amount of time we spent there was not enough.