A very large cattle station in the Northern Territory of Australia. Very large in this case meaning approximately 1,000 square miles, which is almost exactly 1 Luxembourg in metric or 1 Rhode Island in Imperial! Ban Ban Springs occupies the land immediately to the west of "the bend" in the beautiful Mary River. On the other side of the river is Kakadu National Park, a World Heritage area of some controversy. To the north is Mount Ringwood station, and to the south Mary River West.

When I was a child, I lived on this vast farm with my family and a couple of thousand water buffalo, thousands more Shorthorn cross cattle, and a few hundred head of Brahmin. Not to mention the wild donkeys, all the wild pigs you could ever hope for as a young man with a .22 rifle and a blue heeler dog, dingos, crocodiles, brumbies, and the mystical, stunning, lucky-if-you-see-one Burdekin Duck.

The closest "civilization" in those days was the infamous Hayes Creek Pub, and "Mad Trevor" Cole's Klondike 2, which he only ever managed to extract 3 or 4 ounces of gold from, belying its grandiose name. About an ounce for every time he almost blew himself to kingdom come with Gelignite, his favoured method of what could only flatteringly be called mining. Nowadays, the closest civilization is the huge and successful gold mine smack on top of Mad Trevor's old scratchings. I'd love to know what became of "Mr. Cole" as I was always instructed to call him, but I'll probably never know. The other place is now called "Hayes Creek Roadhouse". Further afield are The Territory's two main cities, to the north Darwin and to the south Katherine.

In those days we mustered cattle and buffalo by helicopter for a crust. I'll have to do a node on our variation on the theme of helicopter mustering one day, it deserves to be recorded for posterity, if only under "And that worked?!" These days with the free-ranging cattle long gone (environmental concerns) and the buffalo all shot from choppers (tuberculosis concerns), Ban Ban Springs is a dude ranch, where city slickers can ride horses, shoot the wily feral pigs, and gaze at the infinite pale blue sky.

Ban Ban's only other claim to fame is as a brief footnote in the history of heroin smuggling into northern Australia. Its excellent dirt airstrip was used a few times by interesting characters before my parents arrived, young family in tow. Since it wasn't a fabulous idea to allow this practice to continue, and possibly put all of our lives in danger, my father had an arrangement with the constabulary whereby they would let him know by shortwave radio that they had an "inbound" and we would park every available vehicle down the length of the strip! I still remember light aircraft buzzing our long thin hastily constructed "parking lot" only to fly on to who knows where!

These FrontierLand aspects of the Northern Territory are now mostly just casualties of history, but for me, in the twilight of the guns'n'beer era, Ban Ban Springs was home.

Noded in response to Suggestion 2 of This place needs more actual content. Let's begin.

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