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An Australian Christmas: Including the Song "Santa Never Made It Into Darwin"

John was born and raised in Australia. Subsequently, he is interested in all things Australian: language, sport and culture.


Santa Never Made It Into Darwin

This remains one of my favourite Aussie Christmas songs of all time. Santa Never Made It Into Darwin, by the duo Bill and Boyd.

My youngest son Trent and his family live in Darwin ( the capital of The Northern Territory, Australia) as did my daughter Jody and her family until recently. Being in the tropics and at the very top of Australia, Darwin is very susceptible to the threat of cyclones(typhoons) and has weathered quite a few over the years with just minor damage but nothing compared to what follows.

The city of Darwin was devastated early on Christmas morning 1974 when hit by the tropical weather depression that was given the name Cyclone Tracy. As the eye of the cyclone passed over the city between midnight and 7am on Christmas morning, torrential rain fell and the winds were officially recorded at 217 kilometres per hour prior to the Bureau of Meteorology anemometer being destroyed. Houses and other buildings disintegrated under the onslaught, accompanied by the sounds of flying debris and breaking glass.

Cyclone Tracy killed 71 people, caused A$837 million in damage and destroyed more than 70 percent of Darwin's buildings, including 80 percent of houses. Those still standing suffered severe damage, and all public services – communications, power, water and sewerage – were severed. The cyclone left approximately 41,000 out of the 47,000 inhabitants of the city homeless and required the evacuation of over 30,000 people. Most of Darwin's population was evacuated to Adelaide, Alice Springs, Wyalla, and Sydney, and many never returned to the city. After the storm passed, the city was rebuilt using more modern materials and updated building techniques. Darwin is now one of Australia's most modern cities.

2018 Update

As Christmas 2018 approached there is another cyclone Owen situated and gaining intensity in the Gulf of Carpentaria (just east of Darwin). It is not expected that this cyclone will head towards Darwin, but more likely move down the Queensland coast. Tropical cyclones, however, are unpredictable so Darwinians should not be complacent. Hopefully, everyone stays safe.

Decorating the tree

Decorating the tree

Aussie Jingle Bells

Here is something a little more fun to lighten up the mood.

This is the original version and video of Aussie Jingle Bells by Bucko and Champs. I hope you enjoy, it's one of my favourites. Have a wonderful Christmas.

© 2013 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 24, 2015:

Thank you Stricktlydating. Happy Christmas to you.

StrictlyQuotes from Australia on December 24, 2015:

Fantastic! Happy Christmas!

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 14, 2015:

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Thank you Catherine. Yes Aussie Jingle bells is a bit of fun. We are so used to a Summer Christmas here it's hard to imagine what a white Christmas is like apart from what we see in movies.

Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on December 13, 2015:

Jodah I loved the Aussie jingle bells. When Christmas happens in the summer, it messed with a lot of the Christmas traditions as celebrated in the temperate zone. Santa would die of heat stroke in that red fleece suit.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 06, 2015:

Thanks for checking this one out Al. It is a few years old now, but I am glad you enjoyed it, especially the music and pics.

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on December 06, 2015:

Very interesting Christmas hub John, I'm glad I found it. The music was refreshing and so were the pics.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 02, 2015:

I will have to research Mr Silverstein. I knew of him as a songwriter and may have come across his cartoons in Playboy many years ago, but I didn't realise he was also a poet and author also.

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on December 02, 2015:

Yes John, the Canadian band the Irish Rovers took Shel's tune to the top of the charts all around the world. They sold over 8 million physical copies. You would have liked Mr. Silverstein, for he toiled in the same areas as you. He was an amazing poet as well as a cartoonist. I first discovered his cartoons in 'Playboy' Magazine. Later I learned that he was also a multi-talented songwriter, poet and author.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 02, 2015:

Thanks for reading this Bill. Glad I was able to introduce you to Bill and Boyd. They were very popular entertainers in the time but "Santa Never Made it Into Darwin" really put them on the map. I have heard them sing "Put Another Log on the Fire" but never thought about the real meaning of the song. Thanks for sharing that. Was 'the Unicorn' song that Shel Silverstein wrote that made famous by 'The Irish Rovers'?

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on December 02, 2015:

Thank you so much for this hub John. I loved the poetry project, but even more, I was delighted to learn about Bill and Boyd. As a huge fan of Country music I was delighted by this duo. The horrible tragedy managed to give birth to a classic song. Rushing to to research the guys, I found that they recorded an excellent rendition of the ironic Shel Silverstein tune "Put another log on the fire." It tells the tale of a callous husband who dominates and demands servitude from his wife and then wonders why she is leaving him. I highly recommend listening to Bill and Boyd's take on the tune by the unusual Mr. Silverstein who also wrote the Unicorn Song.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on November 29, 2015:

Thank you for reading this hub Robert. Tracy was the most devastating weather event to ever hit Autralia, virtually destroying a major city and will never be forgotten here. I guess reporting of world events and the Internet have come along way since 1974...back then news travelled slow, if you heard about it at all. I think there seems to be more destruction and events now because of our improved access to news wherever it happens.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on November 29, 2015:

Thank you for your kind comment Geri. Yes I have initiated a few collaborations here with other hubbers and there has been a terrific response. It is a good community building activity. It's a pity HP staff don't initiate similar things but a few other hubbers have done the same with challenges etc. Cyclone Tracy almost completely wiped out the city. Many people were relocated at the time. On the upside, Darwin is probably now the most modern city in Australia as it had to be completely rebuilt.

Robert Sacchi on November 29, 2015:

That is terrible what happened to Darwin in 1974. I don't think there was much reporting on it in the U.S.. I liked the Aussie Jingle Bells ditty.

Geri McClymont on November 29, 2015:

I enjoyed reading the fun and festive poem you put together with the collaboration of the hub community. What a great idea!

It is devastating to see the destruction of Cyclone Tracy in Darwin and amazing to see the reconstruction since. It had to be a terrifying experience for those who were living there at the time of the storm as well as for their friends and loved ones who were concerned for their safety.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 19, 2014:

Thanks for reading Audrey.Have yourself a great festive season.

Audrey Howitt from California on December 19, 2014:

Fun hub John! Happy holidays to you!

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 13, 2014:

haha Jackie, I will think about it, but if I do it will be reciting a poem not a song. Be warned though, my voice might turn everyone off the Aussie accent. Maybe sometime next year.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 13, 2014:

That song reminds me you should do a video John for all of those who love that accent! I bet it would go over really big! I mean in the new year sometime at least.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 18, 2013:

Wise words MsDora, yes I think Darwin was renewed probably for the better, apart from the lives lost. Thank you for your comment and well wishes. Happy Christmas to you.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 18, 2013:

Renewal and restoration are two of the most encouraging concepts. So happy for the residents of Darwin. While the past cannot be undone, we can develop a deep appreciation for the present. Wishing, hoping and praying a Happy Christmas for you and family this year!

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 18, 2013:

Hi Wayne, just thought I'd share the poem again for those who hadn't seen it. All big storms, hurricanes, cyclones are bad. But imagine them hitting at Dawn on Christmas Day? Devastating.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 18, 2013:

Thanks for visiting Leni, yes cyclone hit just on day break on Christmas Day, the time when a lot of children are waking early to see what Santa brought. Imagine the horror? Glad you enjoyed Aussie Jingle Bells.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 18, 2013:

Thanks Flourish, yes I thought that video was a bit of fun to end off.

Wayne Barrett from Clearwater Florida on December 18, 2013:

I remember your endless was fun.

I am a first responder durin many storms here in Florida, so sadly I have seen too many image like those in the video. But never on Christmas. very tragic.

Leni Sands from UK on December 18, 2013:

Great image, love the idea of the poem and the reminder of the Christmas Day Cyclone in 1974 I remember seeing it on the News here in the UK and thinking at the time how horrible it was for that to happen at any time of year but on Christmas Day!! Love the video at the end!

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 18, 2013:

I loved the Aussie Jingle Bells. Merry Christmas.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 18, 2013:

Thanks for the kind words Suzette. yep, life is sure different Down Glad you enjoyed jingle bells too. I'm sure I'll have a few roos around on Christmas day. Have a great Christmas.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on December 18, 2013:

The poem is a great idea and beautifully written! I love the first photo of the stick tree also. What a creative idea. The Jingle Bells song and video is hilarious. I so associate Christmas with winter and snow that I forget it comes in the summertime to you guys 'down under.' A Christmas barbaque - what fun and I love the kangaroos. Christmas with kangaroos - just love that idea! LOL Merry Christmas.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 18, 2013:

Hey Wiccan,

Yeah I loved that stick Xmas tree too. Thanks for your kind comment, and Happy Holidays to you too.

Mackenzie Sage Wright on December 18, 2013:

Fun & interesting hub. I just have to say that stick Christmas tree is one of the coolest I've ever seen-- really love rustic looking décor using things from nature. Cheers, happy holidays~

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 18, 2013:

Hi Frank,

Thanks, I thought I needed to add that.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on December 18, 2013:

thanks for the mood lightning end portion of this hub :)

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 18, 2013:

Faith, there seem to be so many natural disasters occurring around the world. Do you think it is because of climate change, or they just seem more frequent because of better communication and faster news services? On the other hand maybe God is angry. I hope you weren't affected by the recent F-5.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on December 18, 2013:

Oh, my goodness! We have such terrible tornadoes here too in the deep south of the United States. The state in which I live suffered terrible damage to life and property not too long ago when and F-5 hit. It was terrible.

Blessings, Faith Reaper

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 18, 2013:

Thank you Ann, hope you enjoy the original poem too.

Ann Carr from SW England on December 18, 2013:

I didn't see the original so off to have a look now. This is a fun little hub with a little seriousness thrown in. Ann

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 17, 2013:

Thanks Jackie.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 17, 2013:

Ah well we better leave a little word here too so this won't go dead! I left my verse, thanks for the fun. ^

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