Stand Back Sydney, Make Way Melbourne, Darwin’s Got The X-Factor
Top end tourist enjoying the bloke factor. Image by neilspicys
I clearly remember the first time I arrived in Darwin a few years back. I'd just spent a couple of months exploring Australia's remote northwest and the Northern Territory in a cramped camper van.
Maybe I’d been on the road too long or spent too much time in the bush, but when I'm asked to describe the Darwin vibe, I say modern but laidback, freewheeling and cosmopolitan flirting with chic.
I’ve had some strange looks from that description, usually from Australians who haven't been there but know something of its male influenced reputation. But while stereotypes can be unfairly sticky, no one can argue with the demographics.
The male factor
Dr Dean Carson, head of population studies at Charles Darwin University, said the male vibe is due to the jobs mostly being in male-dominated areas, such as construction, mining and defence. Darwin is the only capital in Oz that has more blokes than women and the same studies showed that women found Darwin too male-orientated.
While Darwin definitely wasn't the men-in-tight-khaki-shorts "big backwater town" some would have you believe, It wasn't long before I found that bloke factor when I bumped into my friend Mick on Mitchell street; the beating heart of Darwin's nocturnal scene.
A few days earlier Mick had taken me on a warts-and-all trip in Kakadu National Park where we slept in swags (waterproof sleeping bags). He taught me more about the land than in a few days than I'd learnt in a lifetime.
In the bush I’d seen Mick’s sensitive side but there was no sign of it that night among the young vibrancy of Mitchell Street when he said he was on his way to "Tits out Tuesday" at a local pub. After reminding me it was a “blokes town”, he invited me to tag along, thankfully without any expectations of my tits making an appearance.Continued on the next page