Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Dangi - Part 2

Where it is.

A few posts ago, I threatened more stories about the Dangi.
The first time I visited, I asked the bloke with me (who had been there before) why there was a pile of car keys on the turn-off from the Mt Isa – Dajarra road. Turned out that when the local Murris went into Mt Isa to buy cars (usually rego-expired Holdens or Falcons) they’d rip out the key-start barrel and leave the wires dangling so keys weren’t necessary.
That way, the car was available for immediate and shared use by anyone on the place. The cars usually lasted about a year. When they died, they were tipped upside down and used for parts.
I was part of a team back in the 90s negotiating the siting of a new school at the Dangi. It was highly political as the Murris (who outnumbered the non-Murris by about 4 to 1) wanted it built on their settlement about 2 kms out of town, whilst the non-Murris wanted it sited next door to the pub. John Laws and Tony McGrady had been involved and were waiting on the sidelines for the whole deal to go belly-up and become an election issue. The Regional Director wanted a solution which didn’t end up in the media.
We would get the locals together for meetings which would usually degenerate into total and complete disagreement about everything. From memory, there were three unsuccessful meetings. On one occasion, we stayed at the pub overnight. It was February, and stinking hot, so after a few (or maybe more than a few) cold ones at the bar, we set our swags up outside, rather than in the tin shed that passed back then for accommodation.

The Dangi pub today

I remember slowly waking next morning to a strange and powerful stink. Opening my eyes, I saw, about a foot from my face, the snout of a young camel which was checking out the visitor. Camel breath first up after a night on the turps is not recommended. There were three of them hobbled near the pub.
Eventually the school was built halfway between the two preferred options, so we pleased nobody. The principal was provided with a troop carrier which was used to bus the non-Murris in each day (all 4 of them) whilst the Murri kids were happy to walk. They were more likely to go to school if left to their own devices. As far as I know the school still operates. Back then lots of kids moved across the border between Urandangi and Alpurrurulam and keeping track of them was an issue.
Prior to this school there was one operating in the 1930s, but the Principal committed suicide and the school was closed.
That’s a whole other story.

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