The Rock Club is a much easier “sport” than playing football, tennis or basketball. It could only happen in Darwin.

Australia’s latest “sport” started from nothing in Darwin.

In fact, it’s still all about nothing, really, but it has created tremendous interest.

In 12 weeks the Darwin Rock Club has aroused so much curiosity that the overseas news media is asking for articles about it.

Rock sitting, man, is the in-thing.

There are rock-sitters on the Rock of Gibraltar, Ayer’s Rock, and n Switzerland’s Mattorhorn.

But the Darwin Rock Club is nothing less than a phenomenon. So intriguing is its starting rise in membership and its function that three magazines have asked for the rights to publish the story.

A southern television crew is televising the club’s Saturday-afternoon activities.

It all started in the darkroom of the Northern Territory News office, when photographers Bob Hannan and Peter Bennett decided on some rock fishing in the harbor.

They took along Barry Leveridge, a government photographer and a Perth mate, “Big Len”.

And they found this big, flat rock perfect for sitting on, and placing an ice-filled esky.

The next Saturday they went back, together with three other mates.

They talked so much about “their” rock that on the third Saturday, 20 people turned up.

That was when The Rock Club was formed: a “Cabinet” was elected and a constitution drawn up to administer The Rock.

The News chief photographer, Mr Hannan, was voted in as Prime Minister of The Rock. Mr Leveridge was appointed Minister of the Media, and Mick the Mouse won the ballot for Minister for Finance (he collects the two “bucks” from each member each week).

The Minister for Defence is Big Gerry and the assistant Minister is Big Jim, who give unruly prospective members the big heave-ho from The Rock.

Willie the Wombat is the Minister for Entertainment, because he sets up quadrophonic sound, and engages artists.

There’s a podium for entertainers, who so far have included a Swiss yodeller, a dancerm The Stockade pop group and a bagpipes player, “Scotch on the Rocks” Alex.

Last Saturday, 61 men and women flocked to The Rock which created an urgent “Cabinet” session. It was decided to open a neighboring rock of similar size to stop the multitudes dropping into the bay.

After a tape-cutting opening ceremony conducted by Prime Minister Hannan, the “kingdom” was extended. There was much more room for fishing, swimming and the placing of eskies.

But the club’s activities do not end there. Members are using their funds as subsidies for a convention on The Rock of Gibraltar and they’re planning an amalgamation with a small Rock Club which is underway at Robin Falls, past Adelaide River.

It’s an orderly, happy gathering where several new friendships have been cemented.

As Prime Minister Hannan said last night: “Darwin is unique in that it has the Beer Can Regatta and The Rock Club.

“All empty cans are saved, because we plan to enter a luxury liner in the next regatta.”

When the second rock reaches capacity, membership will be closed.

And I’ll tell you what – it’s a much easier “sport” than playing football, tennis or basketball.

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