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Alex's Fishing Column 11 June 2020

I was saddened this week with the news that the Aurora Kakadu Resort is currently being demolished.

We knew this was happening after its closure last year, but it does bring a final end to an angling era spanning nearly half a century.

Old mate Andy Ralph from Kakadu has had a longer association than most with the iconic Aurora.

“A bit of history comes to a sad end this week with the demolition of Aurora South Alligator,” Andy said. “South Alligator Motor Inn started in the early 1970s and pre-dates Kakadu National Park.

“Built and operated by a Darwin (Scatuchio) family for several years, major expansion took place when Jeff Reid took over in the early ‘80s and his 138 room resort became Kakadu Holliday Village... in fact a lot of us ‘old timers’ still call it KHV today!

“It was huge back in the ‘80s, before Croc Hotel (1988) and Kakadu Lodge (1989) were built... with several tour companies/guides living there full-time, including Johnny Reid and Gordon Scarrow who operated the mighty Kakadu Princess Jumping Croc cruise on South Alligator River.

“For the last 20 years, Tony Quatermass and his team at Aurora have done a mighty job to keep the place going, but dwindling tourist numbers and escalating costs unfortunately made the property unviable.

“Years ago I used to do Crocodile slide shows outside the Barra Cafe and, when I think about it, South Alligator complex would have to be my favourite resort in Kakadu!

“RIP South Alligator Motor Inn,” Andy bemoaned.

My history there dates back to 1979, and I can still remember Mario Scatuchio playing his piano accordion behind the little bar and serenading patrons.

It was hardly a demountable back then.

Back in KHV days, I remember a great story of the Kakadu Princess pulling up to a dinghy at the mouth of Nourlangie Creek.

There were three anglers in the dinghy casting for barra and the tour guide explained the concept of barra sportfishing to the international tourists aboard.

Suddenly, the three anglers turned around, dropped their daks and brown-eyed the tourists.

The tour guide was not amused and took off, made a full circle and roared past within metres of the dinghy, putting a wave into it that all but sunk it.

And what about the 35 or more Kakadu Klash tournaments held from Kakadu Holiday Village and later Aurora Kakadu Resort?

There were some mighty shindigs at those events.

The Kakadu Klash was the first annual barra tournament in the Territory grand slam that included the Barra Nationals and the Barra Classic.

It looked like the Klash would go the same way as the pub, but fortunately Parks Australia stepped in to take over its running.

It would have been held this year it if it wasn’t for Covid-19, but will definitely be back on next year.

I too say: Vale Kakadu resort.

With neap tides and winds offshore from Darwin predicted at only 10-20 kph for most of the weekend, there should be plenty of larger trailer boats heading out to the wild blue yonder.

Schools of Spanish mackerel have turned up, and longtail tuna are busting out in feeding frenzies out wide, so some exciting pelagic action is on the cards.

I hear too that reef fish have been biting well at many popular reefs, especially down Dundee way.

I was down at Dundee last Sunday for non-fishy business and I was blown away by how many people, how many cars and how many boat trailers were there.

The Lodge of Dundee was bustling with thirsty patrons.

On the barra front, the tides aren’t great for the estuaries, but Shady Camp might fire up again.

Also on the cards are Corroboree Billabong and Hardies Lagoon, both part of the Mary River system.

I dare say there will be a few tyre kickers testing the Daly over the weekend, especially Sunday on the best neap tide.

And won’t it be great when Kakadu National Park reopens to fishing in a week and a half?


Malory Nankervis showed up her fishing buddies when she caught this big black jewie at Dundee on the weekend.

Never-say-die Darwin Harbour barra slayer, Roger Sinclair, fished with Jason Rogers on the weekend and found some nice keepers.

Not much left of the iconic Aurora Kakadu Resort which went under the bull-dozers this week.


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