What are the people like?
For its size, Darwin has an extremely diverse population. People from all over the world have made Darwin their home - be warned, many locals were only "passing through" on a trip around Australia, but ended up staying put permanently. Darwin's like that, you'll either love it or hate it, there's no middle ground. Once you're hooked by Darwin, living elsewhere just doesn't seem an option.
Darwin and its close surrounds, has a population of about 100 000 people, with the city having a population of about 80 000. Because of its relatively small size, Darwin still has something of a large "country town" feel to it. If you're female, Darwin is definitely a happy hunting ground with men outnumbering women quite significantly. Only about one third of the population were actually born in the territory the remainder have arrived from interstate and overseas.
Large immigrant populations of British, Greek and Filipinos have established themselves in Darwin. The Greeks especially, have made outstanding contributions to the local economy and lifestyle. Immigrants from the small Greek islands came here in their droves during the 50s. Working mainly in the pearling industry, they soon expanded into the building and construction industry. Through sheer hard work many Greeks built up considerable empires. Much of the finance which is turning Darwin into a modern city has its origins in the Greek community.
Darwinians enjoy a very laid back lifestyle unsurpassed by any other Australian town or city. For many years the wearing of a necktie indicated either a politician or a visiting interstate businessman, these people were tolerated but not imitated and certainly not to be trusted. Lately however, it appears that trendy yuppies from down south are trying to establish the wearing of a tie as the norm. THIS MUST BE STAMPED OUT NOW! It's far too bloody hot to be wearing a tie for one thing, and for another, this is Darwin not mamby pamby bloody Melbourne..
Until recently Darwin had an effective barter system which paralleled the normal economy. It worked like this: Fred's car breaks down, nothing major, he wanders into his local one man garage where the mechanic inspects the car and says something along the lines of "She's buggered mate", to which Fred would reply " what's it worth to fix it?". This is where it gets interesting, if the mechanic had had a reasonable week the reply would probably be along the lines of "half a carton would do it". Fred would then seal the transaction with "beauty mate, I'll be back this arvo", to which the mechanic would reply "no worries". Fred would then nip home and retrieve a carton of cold green cans from the beer fridge and, after sampling half the carton to ensure quality, would deposit the remaining half carton with the mechanic and drive home. Result: two satisfied if slightly sozzled men.
Unfortunately these days it is difficult to find tradesmen who are willing to work for green cans. By the way, a green can is the local terminology for Victoria Bitter beer. That's how you used to order beer - by the colour of the can, i.e. a "white light" is a Carlton light beer, while a "red can" is a Melbourne Bitter beer and a "blue can" indicates the drinker wishes for a Fosters. Thus, walking up to a bar you would address the barmaid as follows: "two green cans and a light white please mate". Simple really. There are too many beers available these days to make this system workable anymore.
To be truthful, beer tends to dominate the social scene in Darwin (and the territory as a whole for that matter), it would be unthinkable to go to a party or Barbie (BBQ) without an esky (cooler box) full of freezing cold beers and a few snags (sausages). The colder the beer the better. Over the years I've come to the conclusion that the reason the beer has to be freezing cold is so that on the first sip, one's taste buds are instantly frozen solid, thus rendering them useless. This certainly aids in the drinking of some Australian beers.
Contrary to accepted views, Darwin does have a dress code peculiar to itself. Your normal, beer swilling, football loving, ocker Aussie, would be expected to wear a blue singlet (Bonds preferably), blue or black shorts (Stubbies only) and thongs (flip-flops, call them what you will). This elegant sense of fashion is highlighted by the following accessories: tattoos, 4WD Toyota Ute and last but not least, a Bull Terrier chained to the back of the ute with something last used to anchor the Queen Mary. Please note that the more viscious the dog the better. Oh, and by the way, the aforementioned dress code is applicable to both male and female.
All in all, your average Darwinian is a pretty laid back sort. Normally casually dressed, slightly pissed and on some occasions, under the influence of the dreaded weed. He or she may be holding a snarling bundle of teeth and claws which is desperately trying to escape from its chain with the obvious intention of tearing you limb from limb. Do not be put off. Darwinians are naturally friendly outgoing sorts who, once you've gained their trust, will buy you a drink and relate as many crocodile stories to you as you would like to hear.