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Meet the man who once claimed to be the Territory's largest and strongest. A former sideshow strong man and miner, Charles 'Tiny' Swanson moved to the NT and ran a market garden at Maranboy near Katherine in the 1940s and 50s, with wife Ruby (pictured) and her pet wallaby. Weighing 240 kilograms, his strength was the stuff of legend. He could apparently load 44-gallon fuel drums onto a truck by himself, and was said to have once lifted the end of a 22-foot piece of railway line while seven other men struggled with the other end. He fell ill in 1954 and when he died shortly after, a two-tonne crane was required to lower his oversize coffin at what is now the Gardens Cemetery.

Published: 6 January 2019


Forgotten Territory was a weekly photo column of historic images in the Northern Territory News which I curated from 2016 until 2019 supported by the collections of the Northern Territory Library and other cultural institutions around Australia, as well as local history Facebook groups. 

Click on the images to read the story behind the image.

Warning: May contain images of people who have died.

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